When it comes to March there are few leaders who come to mind like Tom Izzo. What is it that gives him and the program the ability to remain a threat every time the clock strikes tournament time? I sat back and thought about my experiences and tried to boil it down to three things Coach Izzo and his staff do to excel in one and done situation.
Maximize your time – understand that when you’re working within a tight time frame you have to make sure that every minute is efficiently used and nothing is wasted. There will always come a point of diminishing return when the work will start to have a negative effect on the end result. Coach Izzo has figured out how to truly use every minute. A one day turn around normally give you 16 – 24 hours to regroup, form a strategy, learn the game plan and execute. It’s a lot easier to do this if you are chunking the information into easily understood and retained pockets. Most of these are broken down into 30-60min windows for film/walk throughs/eating/etc. No minute left behind!
“Show me the baby” –A good friend of mine Martin Jarmond used to always say to me “don’t tell me about the birth, just show me the baby” meaning get to main points and stop with the fluff. You’re going to have to take in a lot of new information when you have one day prep and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You need to find the ability to trim away fluff and get to what you really need to know. I can remember how easy our coaching/managerial staff made it to learn everything we needed to know about out next opponent because of the pre-work they had done.
Answer the bell – Very similar to a prize fight there is certain when the preparation is done and you’re standing toe to toe with your opponent. You’re going to give some punches and you’re going to absorb some damage. But when you’re sitting on the stool between rounds and the bell rings you bite down on your mouth piece and come out swinging.
There are a lot of things that can be said about the way Coach Izzo operates, the way MSU teams have play but one thing that can never be questioned is whether or not a Michigan State basketball will show up for the fight come March. That’s a direct product of the man who is leading the charge and a mindset that resonates through the whole programs.