I’ve seen NBA teams write 40 things up on the board before a game. I’ll write down no more than three because that’s all I think my players can absorb. I might write, Five guys run both ways as fast as you can or Be strong with the ball, nothing casual or The team that wins the battle of the boards wins the game.
Once at Kansas, we had beaten Kansas State eight or nine times in a row in their building and I’d seen a lot of stories about them saying that the streak would end that night, so I wrote, watch them leave early. It was the only thing I wrote. It was cocky, but it worked. At the end of the game, one of my players, Ricky Calloway, was on the free-throw line and he yelled over to me on the bench, “Coach, they’re leeeeeeaving!”
Another phrase I often write up on the board is Lose yourself in the game. Sometimes kids can choke on a big stage. If you lose yourself in playing the game, you don’t worry about the result.
--Adapted from the book Hard Work by Roy Williams