Jim Burson blog; Monday Coaching Connection: People-Process-Product; www.JimBurson.com

Whenever you make a change, big or small, remember People – Process – Product


The real head coach and I headed to Lexington this past weekend for the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches annual fall clinic where I’d been invited to speak. It was a great time.

Basketball, Family and Friends

It’s always fun for me to talk basketball and be around basketball, so I knew I’d enjoy the KABC clinic. The weekend was made even better with good people and good memories.

  1. When we arrived at the downtown Hilton to check in, I went to the front desk and said, “Burson.” The front desk agent asked, “Jeremy?” I smiled. My brother John’s son is named Jeremy! And it was quite a surprise to learn that he and his family were in Lexington and staying at the same hotel on the same weekend as we were! We had a great chat with them and discovered that his wife, Amy, was being inducted into the University of Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame! Congrats, Amy!
  2. We had dinner with Dr. Edward “Skip” Kifer, Emeritus Professor of math from the University of Kentucky, in the lovely outdoor garden patio of a restaurant called Portofino. Skip and I played football together at Muskingum and graduated together in 1963. We reminisced and told old war stories. Like a true friend, Skip also came to my KABC clinic presentation the next day! It was a treasured time.
  3. One of the other speakers was Matt Driscoll, head coach for University of North Florida. He and I also spent time catching up with each other. He played for me at Muskingum for one year but we have managed to stay in contact with one another over time.
  4. Bobby Huggins of West Virginia was another of the speakers, but I missed his presentation because it was the day after mine. I have known Bobby since his first game as a high school freshman. I went to that game and afterward told him that I was recruiting him for Muskingum. His dad, Hall of Fame Coach Charlie Huggins, and I were great friends for may years and Charlie was an early mentor to me.
  5. Fifty years ago I first attended Adolph Rupp‘s practice in Lexington. It was one of the “Wow!” moments in my coaching career. He was a great coach and his practices were amazing! Legend has it that when he yelled “Stop!”, the players froze in their tracks ….. and so did the ball!

People – Process – Product

Scott Chalk, head coach of the 2016 KHSAA state champion team from Dunbar High School and KABC Executive Director, did a wonderful job organizing and leading the clinic, which was held at Transylvania University’s Beck Center. Transy head coach Brian Lane and his coaching staff were there and his players were terrific on the floor for me and for the other speakers. Thanks to all of you for a great afternoon and thanks for inviting me!

My talk title was The Cut and Curl Offense and Your Team Culture. The Cut and Curl, my own term, is part of the Princeton offensive philosophy. We had fun talking about it during the clinic, but before you ask me more about it or decide you might want to try it out this season, remember this:

Any time you want to make a change, you must consider the circumstances, situations and implication of that change. Any choice you make must include consideration of the people, the process and the product.

* People – Process – Product is a business management concept given me from my dear friend Pat Campbell, who is a negotiating expert and retired executive from Nationwide Insurance. As many of you know, I love applying principles and ideas from other professions to basketball.


People are paramount! If you are changing your offense, you must know if you have players who will be able to run it. For example, traditionally the Princeton connotes a slow, repetitive offense that might not be suitable for today’s athlete. This is particularly true if you must recruit players.

People first! Not just your starters, but every team member and every role. Once you’ve considered your players, think about your coaching staff and talk to them: Can we learn this new offense? Can we learn it in the time we have available? How will we teach it?

You must also think about the parents and how a change may affect them. You must consider fans, your administration and especially your family! There might be nothing worse for a devoted spouse than hearing the boos or “That’s a crappy way to play!” Or worse!

Every choice you make must include a lot of thought regarding the people involved.

[Tweet “Life is the summit of all your choices. Climb all your mountains wisely!”]


This is your second consideration when you make changes. In my case, when I began to look into the Princeton for my program, it took two years to gather information, study it, interpret it and apply the principles in our circumstances. The process of learning is really important.

Read, study, go to clinics, go to coaches practices, gather information, share with and listen to your assistants, invest in your professional development, ask for help and input, become an expert, and always ask questions. This process has been good for me!

You must be cognizant of how much time you need to make the change you have in mind, and what it will require in your own mental and emotional energy. This is essential as it relates to your family. Remember, process and product are also about people.


Yes, even in basketball there are products! The product is the development of the players and of the team and is inter-related with the other two Ps.

We all want to win, but if you improve yourself as a coach it will be easier to improve the players and the team. Will your product be a fast team that presses full court? A slow-down half-court lock-down defensive team?

The choices you make will determine your product.

People – Process – Product. When you are deciding on changes and making critical choices, big or small, these must come to the forefront for you and your team to reach its full potential.

[Tweet “Teaching must cross paths with learning”]

Choose wisely, my friends!




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