What Coaching Has Taught Me !

I don’t think anyone would be surprised that I personally feel akin to the Last Dance and Michael  Jordan, Infatuated with his extraordinary ability to lead, execute and win. No surprises that I feel connected to “Zen Master” Phil Jackson and his different approach toward coaching,  as one of my mantra is “Being Different is The Difference “ and I think my assistant ‘s and player’s  would say that” Coach McKenzie is a little different.

In sports and particularly basketball we have a saying that “pressure can burst pipes”. In my opinion this coronavirus has exposed that we have a major leadership issue locally, nationally and globally.  As I watched and reflected on what I’ve learned about my leadership,

I ‘ve been pleased on how much athletics and coaching has been an asset in my leadership development and my growth as a person.

At times I been befuddled watching how leaders’ trip over themselves regarding decision making  whether it’s been education, healthcare, economics or a  number of issues that have arisen in this moment of crisis, There decision making has more  often created  more fear and anxieties than provided answer for those they serve.

It made me think about coaching how every day I had to deal adversaries and had to adapt on the drop of time. It really made me think how sports prepare you for leadership. I most certainly know that a basketball is not a life and death matter, but the skills need to be an effective leader certainly come into play.

In a moment of crisis people look to leaders for guidance, they want to know what to do, what to expect and how to act.  They want a voice they can trust and someone with a plan, sounds like coaching to me.

I thought about some of things required as a coach and what I’ve learned over the years.   So, I kind of just put together a list of Coaches must:

  • Have short memories and be ready to bounce back regardless of wins or losses.
  • We must be effective communicators; in the heat of the moment one cannot afford. miscommunication.
  • Every practice and every game you require that you have a plan, you can’t be effective or affective and not knowing what you want to accomplish.
  • Your plan must be organized and must sense to those with whom you are communicating.
  • It requires innovation, you must be able to take something old and make it look and sound new.
  • You must be a facilitator and get a group of individuals to work as a team, The “We Over Me”
  • You must be a foundation of knowledge for all of those which you are leading.
  • You must know when to be a General and when to be an advisor
  • You must have the ability to stay calm during chaos.
  • People need to know that they can trust you.
  • You must a Real Model and a Role Model.
  • You must the source of stability and consistency.
  • You must have the ability to teach and instruct.
  • You must be able to be both friend and foe
  • You must be able to inspire and motivate

Sports and Real Talk with Coach McKenzie 05/18 by Survival Radio Christian Network | Christianity Podcasts

Sports and Real Talk with Coach McKenzie 05/18 by Survival Radio Christian Network | Christianity Podcasts.


” Few people have the imagination for reality”~ Johann Wolfgang Goethe

I promise that  I will get this  thing going consistently sooner than later and provide you with some timely and informative stuff or at least what’s on my mind at the moment. I am finding that managing this social media stuff definitely requires good time management. Can’t believe that it’s been so long since my last post.

Well since the last time we talked or I should say since I wrote something, I have gotten out to several gyms watching kids and parents  Chase The Dream” Also since that time another large powerball drawing has taken place, the WNBA held it’s draft and the NBA held  it’s annual  lottery drawing, making me continue to think, Ironic or Coincident?  Some lucky guy in New Jersey won over $600 million dollars, obviously changing his life or  at least for the moment.

Just like those who stood in line hoping for their chance to cash that winning ticket, every weekend I have watched  parents in gyms hoping and praying that their kid represent the next big thing, powerball or mega-million. While I am one who always encourage folks to pursue their dreams I sometimes wonder with basketball does reality ever really happen. I still hear guys thirty-something still saying they are trying to play professional basketball even when they have never played at any level.

If you have not been recruited for the past four years as a high school player, do you honestly think you will get a DI college scholarship  playing from April to July? Yet every tournament host a group of kids who have used up their eligibility auditioning for college coaches or looking for exposure.

Maybe it’s time to consider a back-up plan?  Parents and players alike should understand that the numbers are real. There are 341 schools that have DI men’s basketball teams, and 338 that offer DI Women programs. Men programs  total 4,443 scholarships or 13 annually per team. There are 165,ooo graduating high school seniors plus Junior College kids seeking those scholarships. Women programs total 5,070 or 15 annually per team. In Division II there are 290 men’s programs and 291 women programs. Both men and women programs can only offer 10 total scholarships. It is common practice for DII to give partial scholarships. While their are 395 Division III men’s programs  and 425 women programs, athletic scholarships are not offered, students can earn academic scholarships or receive  a need based grant.

According to the NCAA the probability of competing beyond high school is 3.3 % for boy’s and 3.7% for girl’s.

Be careful because there is always someone out  here who can sell a ketchup popsicle to a women in white gloves.

Ironic or Coincident ?

Somehow I got behind on my weekly blogs, gotta do a better job of staying current, but I thought I had to write this anyways.

A few weeks back, on March 23rd to be precise, the Powerball jackpot had grown to a whopping $358 million dollars and like lots of folks I stood in line to invest my two dollars on a chance to make my dreams come true, honestly in my head I had spent about a $100 million before I would drive over to St. Paul to collect my winnings. As I past grocery stores, gas stations, or any place with a lottery sign, many of them had long lines of people who had similar hopes of I did, some spending two dollars and some a whole lot more.

As I was driving home I thought about, what was really my odds of striking it rich overnight? I have to tell you it changed my mood, with a little bit of research I discovered that my odds of winning that jackpot were not good, my chance was about 1 in 176 million.

Further research on odds would tell me I had a better chance of being crushed by a vending machine at 1 in 112 million, or maybe being elected President of the United States at 1 in 10 million, even being struck by lightening at 1 in million.

Ironically or maybe just coincident on Sunday, March 24 many kids on their parents would flock to gyms as official try-outs would be held for spring and summer basketball. Attracted by the added incentives of Beat headphones, the 2013 version of the latest shoes , uniforms with either a swoosh, three stripes or perhaps under armour( the latest entry into the shoe wars). Promises of college and NBA type travel schedules (missing at least one day of class weekly I remind you),playing with the best or against the nation’s best competition or playing in the front of the likes of coaches like Pitinio, Izzo, Marshall, or even Coach K. Many parents would be investing much more than the two dollars I spent on the Powerball for chance for their son or daughter to get exposure or maybe exposed, but there was always the chance that he or she may earn that sometimes elusive Division I scholarship and even possibly position themselves for that future opportunity to play in either the NBA or WNBA.

Ironically this sounds a lot like playing the powerball or mega-million to me, so once again I decided to do a little research. In Minnesota, which is my home base, the local youth sports Organization reports that last spring there were 3,500 teams at various levels for Boy’s and Girl’s. This doesn’t include those programs that market themselves as only “Playing out of town competition….Because if you want to be the best you have to play against the best”

The Minnesota State High School league reports that on the boy’s side there are 467 participating schools playing basketball and 13, 481 participants. For Girl’s there are 456 participating schools with 11, 630 participants.

Nationally, for Boy’s there are 18,099 participating schools and 535,289 participants. Girl’s there are 17,768 participating schools and 435,885 participants

Stay tone for Part 2 as I break these numbers any further, remember in 2013 we are focusing on Choices or Chances and maybe on March 23rd and 24th , just maybe it was ironic or even a coincident that the Powerball and Spring- Summer created such a frenzy for those chasing their dreams.

Basketball -Much More Than Just A game

Editors: For Book request or other request please contact info@coachmckenzie.com



Minneapolis, MN- Coach, Motivational Speaker, Educator and now Author, Larry A.McKenzie is proud to announce the official release of his book, Basketball …Much More Than Just A Game (published by Authorhouse).

Larry McKenzie, currently the only coach in Minnesota basketball’s 99-year history to win four consecutive state titles shares his strategies for winning on the court and in life.

Much More Than Just A Game is a must read for young athletes and parents navigating the game of basketball. Incorporating ten life lessons, Coach McKenzie shows why he thinks BASKETBALL is merely a metaphor and tool that can be used to transform lives.

What Others are saying:

Coach McKenzie, Thank you for taking the time to write and publish your book, Basketball-much more than just a game. This book held my attention from beginning to end, I simply could not put it down. As you know I’m a father that coaches / trains my sons in basketball. I thank you for sharing your experiences as a father – coach with your son and daughter in this book. After reading your book, I had a talk with my sons and about the changes I was going to make in coaching them, and the biggest smile came over their faces. I believe the insight you gave in this book not only helped me as a coach, but as a father. This book is a must read. TO ANYONE INVOLVED IN BASKETBALL WHETHER PARENT COACH OR PLAYER, YOU NEED TO PURCHASE AND READ THIS BOOK-

Pastor Ken Stone
If only I had a copy of Basketball Much More Than Just a Game when I was raising my two sons, or even pages 44 and 45 on the characteristics of a pushy sports parent and tips for raising a good sport.

I raised my sons to love basketball, the way that my father, a basketball coach had raised me. It was an intense upbringing and sometimes harsh. We practiced and trained year round in order for my sons to reach my dream for them, to play college basketball. In the evenings I regularly took them out across the Twin Cities to see the best players and teams. Often that meant attending the games of the best team at that time, the Patrick Henry Patriots under the direction of Coach Larry McKenzie. I like to think that my sons earned their basketball PhD’s before they entered high school. PhD is an abbreviation for Patrick Henry Defense. My sons learned to appreciate waiting for up to two hours in order to get a seat at the biggest game in town, the drama of the Patriots vs. their North Side rival, the North Polars. They began to learn then that basketball was more than just a game–it was life.
If you are a coach of any sport, or a player trying to improve your game, or a parent trying to support your child in a sport, or just want to find out how one man who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks has excelled throughout life and is now raising up others like himself up and onto that path, please read Basketball More Than Just a Game by Larry McKenzie and then make sure you pass your copy onto a friend.

Tom Murray
Teacher at Minneapolis Patrick Henry High School