My good friend and coaching buddy, Paul #Bstrong Beranek, in his last pregame pep talk ever shared the concept of "next play." It was a very special moment for all of us who know and love Coach PB. And, considering the magnitude of the moment, next play mentality is obviously a very important mindset for all great players to have.
Because basketball is a fast-paced, continuous game; players must convert from one end of the floor to the other in the blink of an eye. This requires players to be alert and focused at all times. "Next play" is really a verbal cue to "W.I.N." To focus on "What's Important Now!"
Coach Krzyzewski, who is credited with coining this phrase, sums it up best with these quotes:
“Next play is the absence of fear of failure. You have moved on.”
“By moving on...you have a better chance to be your best at that moment, You have to be tough enough to move on, whether the last play was good or crappy. It takes real mental toughness.”
Grant Hill, who played at Duke for Coach K is a believer: “I say, 'next play’ all the time. And I mean all the time, My teammates hear that from me constantly. It is such a little thing, just two words, but it is such a big thing.”
Jay Bilas, who I credit for almost all of these quotes, writes in his book Toughness: "Staying in the moment really means concentrating on what is right in front of you, without concern for what is in the past or future. Celebrating a great shot or getting angry over a poor shot does not do anything to help your next shot."
Tommy Amaker, another Duke player and now the head coach of Harvard University, says: "If we win, next play. If we lose, next play."
For Krzyzewski, “next play” not only leads to consistency; it leads to composure too, because when you take the next play mentality, you are firmly in the present and prepared to make the most important play: this play.
And finally, Graham Betchart has this excellent video explaining "next play speed". It features the one and only, Michael Jordan. Well done @PlayPresent!