During my years together with hall of fame coach Chuck Daly, I’ve learned that if you used the two ears that god gave you and listened to him, he was always sharing his wisdom with you. These were some of his favorite phrases and sayings, in no particular order.
“Coaching is like flying an airplane. There is going to be a lot of turbulence, but your job is to land the plane safely.”
“Never trust happiness.” (Don’t let complacency set it in.)
“You can’t fool dogs, kids, or NBA players.”
“I’m not a pessimist, but rather an optimist with experience.”
“All decisions are 50/50!”
“12 o’clock rule” (At midnight after a loss, move on and get your team ready for the next game.
“It won’t work!” (Chuck would use this counter intuitive phrase in order to create buy in and accountability amongst his players. By telling them that an idea they suggested wouldn’t work, the players would react by doing everything they could to make sure their idea would work, just to prove Chuck wrong.)
“Speak in headlines” (Communicate with your team in short sound bites)
“Shout praise and whisper criticism.”
“To be a good NBA coach, you need to be hard of hearing, and have poor eye sight.”.