The Anatomy of a Winning Coach

“… I would say that the easy part is you just have to go out and play and still remember why you are doing this in the first place; it is the most fun sport there is!!”

Smart Approach to Minnesota State Championship



The countdown is underway to the 2008-09 girls high school basketball season. And, gPrep will be there to cover all the action. The masterminds behind Minnesota’s state championship teams are looking to repeat in their perspective classes. But, the post season is not promised, not even to defending champions. gPrep goes one-on-one with  Ada-Borup Head Coach, 1A State Champion, David Smart for a revealing look at his team’s winning strategies, team preparedness and determination to win.

gPrep: What’s the hardest part about being a defending state champion?… the easiest?

Coach Smart : Never having been a state champion, I can honestly say I'm not sure! My guess is it will be the expectations that people will now have for us to get back to the state championship game. Whether we like it or not, we will always be measured against the 2008 team. Is there an easy part about being a state champion? That is a good question for the coaches that have done it more than once. Having never been in this position before, I would say that the easy part is you just have to go out and play and still remember why you are doing this in the first place; it is the most fun sport there is!!

gPrep: What will it take to repeat in March?


Coach Smart: We will have to develop some depth, stay healthy and play at or above the level we played at last year. As most coaches are fully aware, you have to catch a few breaks along the way as well.

gPrep: Talk about the components of a championship team.

Coach Smart: Chemistry, a sincere belief in each other, a strong defense, and a nice mix of playmakers.

gPrep: What’s the single most important skill/talent a team needs to get to the Target Center in March?

Coach Smart: A willingness to sacrifice the me for the we.

gPrep: Describe the “perfect” team?




Coach Smart: Good question. Some years I have thought that I have had the perfect team for our situation, but I have never had a team that I would call the perfect team. Maybe it would have to be one where everyone had a great attitude, there was super chemistry, everyone was a lockdown defender, everyone could shoot the lights out, everyone had super quickness, and they all were about six feet tall!!

gPrep: Describe the “total” player?

Coach Smart: A total player is one that can have a positive effect on the game from either end of the court, with or without the ball, and is focused on one thing, making her teammates better.

gPrep: How many have you coached?

Coach Smart: Three maybe four.

gPrep: Is there pressure on you to win again?

Coach Smart: I'm not sure if it’s pressure to win again or pressure to get back to the state tournament. I know our seniors won't be happy unless we get back which is just the frame of mind I like to see them in!

gPrep: What’s the best basketball advice you’ve ever been given?

Coach Smart:Never get out hustled and never forget that it's only a game.

gPrep: Who’s your mentor?

Coach Smart: The number of people that have had an influence on me are difficult to tally. Trav Olson was my junior high and JV coach in High school and he had a huge influence on me, Bruce Bergeson, my HS varsity coach did as well. But there are also a number of other coaches, friends and associates that I have drawn from; both for what to do and what not to do.





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