Read an Excerpt
By Mike Krzyzewski Jamie K. Spatola
Copyright © 2006
All right reserved.
As a point guard at West Point, I had the privilege of playing for
the legendary Bob Knight, a tough coach and probably the best of all
time. There was one particular drill, called "Zig Zag," that we did
in practice every single day. It was a defensive drill that was
difficult and physically exhausting. Though it's a great and
effective drill, my teammates and I dreaded it, but we always knew
it was coming.
Five years later, after the completion of my service in the United
States Army, I was able to reunite with Coach Knight as a graduate
assistant coach at Indiana for the 1974-75 season. It was an
unbelievable start for a coaching career, because not only did I
have the opportunity to work under the best in the business, but he
also had the number one team in the country that year with such
standout players as Scott May, Kent Benson, and Quinn Buckner.
At our very first practice of the season, I was so excited just to
be there. But I couldn't help but notice that we did not do the "Zig
Zag" drill. In the locker room after practice, I was thinking about
saying something to Coach Knight about it, but I thought better of
it, and didn't say anything. Surely we would do the drill tomorrow.
The next day, we had a great practice,but again, no "Zig Zag." That
day, Coach Knight seemed like he was in a pretty good mood and I was
feeling sure of myself.
"Coach," I said, to get his attention.
"What?" he responded. I was already thinking that this was a
mistake, but at this point I had to say it.
"Well, at Army, we did the 'Zig Zag' drill every single day, often
multiple times. How come we haven't done it with this team?"
Coach Knight walked calmly over to me, put his hand on my shoulder,
and said, "Michael, there is a big difference between you and Quinn
He was right. Drills like "Zig Zag" that are a necessity for some
teams may not be appropriate for others. You have to adapt what you
do based on who you are. A drill that Mike Krzyzewski needs to do
every day, Quinn Buckner may never have to do or may only have to do
infrequently. Every player is different, every team is different,
and to merely apply a formula is not fair to those players or those
You can always learn something from great teachers. I had the
privilege to learn from one of the best coaches of all time. From
Coach Knight, I learned passion, commitment, persistence, and
intensity. But I also learned adaptability.
That lesson is the reason why I have written a different practice
plan for every single practice of my career. In teaching, you must
remember that no group or individual is the same as who you taught
the day before, the year before, or the decade before. Your plan has
to suit who you and your team are right now. And you must always be
willing to adapt. When you do, you and your team will be even more
Excerpted from Beyond Basketball
by Mike Krzyzewski Jamie K. Spatola
Copyright © 2006 by Mike Krzyzewski .
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.