One of my favorite events every year is Larry Shyatt’s basketball coaches’ clinic. He started it at the University of Florida when he was on Billy Donovan’s staff and has continued it every year since…even though he moved on to other jobs, and now retirement from coaching. But he hasn’t retired from mentoring.

I’ve been privileged to attend for the last twelve years or so, hearing from NBA coaches, colleges coaches from both big and small schools, plus broadcasters…all really talented folks with a spirit of generosity.

Each year the sessions include plenty of lessons on team building, leadership and culture that I can apply directly in my speaking, executive coaching and writing. As I’ve mentioned before, culture is so very critical, and the speakers have great things to say.

But sometimes the best lessons are the ones you see lived out.

Several years ago, a scheduled session ended a few minutes early and Larry asked if anyone had anything to share, or if we should all just head to lunch early. There was a pause, and then Matt Painter stood and said, “I’ve got something, Larry,” then paused and looked around. “Unless somebody else does.”

Nathan Whitaker and Larry Shyatt at Larry's annual basketball clinic

With Larry Shyatt at his annual clinic

Nobody else did, and Purdue’s head coach worked his way from the middle of the back row to on the court next to Larry.

He said, “Here’s a really cool drill that I just learned from a high school coach that I’m going to use with our players” and proceeded to demonstrate the drill he was going to use with his Boilermaker team.

To an audience that included coaches that he was going to be facing that season.

In fairness, that’s really what all the coaches were doing during their sessions, but I was struck that he wasn’t on the schedule, and jumped up to give away something he’d just run across that he wanted to use himself. 

It’s a testament both to Coach Painter and the community Larry cultivated at the clinic – its culture. Larry, by the way, was hired by Billy Donovan to join the UF staff after Larry was fired as Clemson’s head coach. He agreed to take the job, but only if he was paid one dollar less than the existing UF assistant coaches.

I don’t remember the drill. Maybe other coaches are still using it. But the fact that Matt was willing to share it because he thought it might be of use to them…that’s what ultimately mattered.

Helping others and making them better, whether they are followers, peers, competitors, whomever…or whether he’ll be facing them this weekend in the Final Four.

#culture #teambuilding #leadershipdevelopment #mentoring 

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