Coach Josh Thompson- Founder & Program Director
See below to read Coach Thompson's Philosophy and Vision for the NC Spartans program!
Coach Thompson's Philosophy & Program Vision
I believe the game should be played hard, played smart, and played together.
First and foremost (like the original Spartans) having a predisposed, already exceptional ability or capability for greatness on the basketball court helps. If you have that, be thankful.
Second, having a positive attitude (being coachable) and a strong desire to excel are essentials in our program. We are all here to become better. Some of this you will bring to the program already, the rest we will foster and build. *This is where our Spartan Club Basketball Program begins by educated training in offensive and defensive fundamentals, which are the very core of our program. Using this philosophy, our program will educate, train, grow, and advance you to become more skilled and become more disciplined in the fundamental skills of basketball at a younger age than anyone you will play against.*
Last and certainly not least, we will develop you and your teammates to become players who understand the true concept and work of a team. To play and move as a single unified force. Together, as a team, we will be better than any individual.
Finally, I acknowledge and applaud the great support of all our parents who sacrifice, work their schedules, and provide financially to allow their boys to participate in this program.
What Does It Take To Be The Best? Too many folks depend on luck, or chance, that they will win. They believe that when their chance arrives, they will somehow just be at their best. Things have always come easy for them and they feel basketball will treat them the same way. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. To be good, you have to work at it, keep your focus and be willing to always work hard. In the Spartan program, we understand that nothing will work if we don’t. We understand that you will get out of basketball what you put into it. We plan and prepare and practice for everything that may take place in a game, so that nothing takes us by surprise. We operate on the premise that “I will prepare, and then, perhaps, my chance will come”. A favorite quote of mine, and a bit of fun….. …“I make my own luck!” … “Well, next time you’re making some, whip up a batch for me!”
More thoughts on Winning...
We all want to win. However, early success in winning games doesn’t translate into future success. Teams that enjoy early success with winning often do so because of the natural athletic abilities of a few key players. The key players do understand their superior abilities and take the opportunity to score again and again. Everyone is pleased with the winning outcome and athleticism over fundamentals and teamwork is unwittingly reinforced. As teams mature, smart opponents learn more ways to shut down the athletic player and the athletic player becomes increasingly frustrated because what used to work, doesn’t any longer. At this later age, it is a hard transition for kids to make.
Again, our program’s approach is to grow and instill the boys in the fundamentals and teamwork at an early age which we understand may come at the expense of winning some games early on. However, the skills learned, practices and refined during this critical time at this younger age, will provide our boys with a mechanism for success in the competitive years that are to follow.
We have these goals for the individual players in our program.
- They develop and further their love for the game
- They become the best basketball players the are capable of becoming
- They appreciate the value of hard work and commitment to a cause
- They value the friendships and camaraderie with their teammates
- They are exposed to/compete against the best players in the state and nation
- They understand how to conduct themselves with class in victory and defeat
Team First/Dare to be different- If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we always got. Same is true for Basketball. Again, the approach of our program is to be different….a solid foundation of fundamentals and teamwork. We’ve seen the Europeans successfully evolving their approach and philosophy on Basketball. They are beginning to develop talent that is surpassing that of American players. How are they doing this? By taking a different approach…and to a large extent focusing on fundamentals and teamwork at younger ages. The result is just beginning to show.
Read some quotes coming from Europe:
- Dejan Bodiroga, Lottomatica Roma Team Manager - "The game has changed. We don't see players scoring 25 or 30 points a game any more. The game is more physical. There are more tactics. And the game is more collective, players play more for the team. Also, many of the players are young and many people forget some essential things. You need to have a good fundamental basis to play the game correctly. The game is not just physical. And sometimes young players forget that and that could be a problem in the future."
- Aito Garcia Reneses, DKV Joventut Head Coach - "We used to look to university and college basketball as our reference. But the main difference was the execution of the fundamentals of the game, they did that at a much faster speed. And I think we in Europe have learned to speed up the execution of the fundamentals. " - "I think we would all agree that the evolution of the game will always favor the players who can pass the ball and will always favor the teams with many players in their roles who can pass the ball and choose the right moment to pass to the right person."
Coach Thompson's Spartan Basketball Program Principles
The North Carolina Spartans Club Basketball Program is founded upon three basic principles, or goals, that guide everything we do.
1- Establish a Solid Basketball Foundation for our Players Based on the Fundamentals
Our main goal in the Spartan basketball program is to make our players better by giving them a solid foundation in the fundamental skills of basketball. We believe that in any endeavor you must have a solid base in order for success and we hope to provide this to the players in our program. Basketball is the most over-coached and under-taught game in the world today. I see so many coaches and teams so concerned with running this offense, that play, this defense, etc. that they neglect teaching the fundamental skills needed to succeed in the long run. It goes back to the old saying “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”. We will teach you the skills first, then coach you on how to package it all together along with your teammates toward victory. Hence, we teach you to fish! I have seen countless players in the ninth grade who can run like the wind, jump up and dunk the ball two-handed, but cannot execute a simple left-handed layup. As a coach, I am disgusted with such examples, so we decided to do something about it by starting our Spartan program. Our philosophy is to teach basic basketball skills first, and then to build on this solid foundation of skills. We want to develop our players on a solid base and go from there. “Therefore whoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rains descended and the floods came, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” – Matthew 7:24,25
Fundamentals win in the end - I believe that in the long run or over the course of a game/season, more times than not, the players who are more fundamentally sound will win. When it comes down to the end and the pressure is on and players tighten up, the player who has been drilled in the fundamentals will flourish while the others will fold. “And everyone who heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew 7:26, 27
We want our Spartan players to be the most disciplined and well trained TEAM on the club team circuit. Every time we leave the gym, we want to say we became better that day. Did we try ten times to do a ball handling drill at practice and still not perfect it? Maybe so, but we are better for it because we are going to work at it until we can be perfect? Did we play against a better team and lose by 20? Maybe so, but we are better for it because we competed and we saw the level we must reach to be great? Sound teaching of fundamental basketball skills to make the boys better players (we may not be as athletic as some of the best teams we will play, so we will have to play harder, smarter and be more fundamentally sound). Our Spartan coaching staff considers themselves TEACHERS first and coaches second. Many club teams put the best athletes on the court they can find to press and run up and down to try and outscore one another. Our goal is to take a different approach - by developing the players we have through establishing a solid foundation in the basic skills of basketball- offensively, defensively, and with our mental approach.
2- Play Against the Best Expose the players and parents to the basketball talent in the state and nation.
I feel that many players believe they are destined for a college scholarship because they are the best player on their team/in their league/in their area. That is, they live in their own little section of the world and do not realize how much talent is actually out there, competing against them. This leads to a false sense of entitlement, laziness as it relates to preparation and practice, and the feeling that one does not need to get better. One of the goals we have in our Spartan program is to expose ourselves to and play against the most talented players and teams in the immediate Triad area (local tournaments), the state of North Carolina (state tournaments), the Southeast (regional tournaments), and the entire United States (national tournaments). Through this exposure we hope to motivate the players in our program to get better every day. We want you to know what is out there and what you must do to be the best. Knowing the type of competition we will be facing, we keep our third principle in mind-
3- Learn how to win and lose with class
- Appreciate the process Winning Early and Winning Late - People in the Spartan Program want to win, just like every other program out there. However, we try and not compromise our standards just to win. That is, we are not going to go out and try to get the best possible athletes we can get from anywhere, then put them all on the court at one time and see what happens. If you come into our program, understand that we are trying to teach the right way to play first. We are teaching how to win games, but also how to act when you lose games. It is not that we don't want to win, it is simply the fact of going through the experience of learning to win, learning to lose, and learning to play. At this point, we do not want to place TOO MUCH emphasis is on just the wins and losses. We are most concerned with developing better basketball players and improving each practice, game, tournament, and season. We may not win right away, but we want to learn right away. We believe there is a lot to be said for going through the process of preparation, competition, and the way in which you deal with the results. We want our Spartan parents and players to stay around and stick it out through the rough time, until we start seeing the rewards of going through the learning process. We hope that if we do lose early, we will get better and in the long run, when our players go into their high school careers, they are better players and they are more prepared for the level of competition they will face once they arrive. We want our Spartan players to use this club basketball experience to strengthen themselves physically and mentally for their high school basketball experience. Sure there is an exception here and there, but for the most part, that is the case with our team. This thought is to help all of our new parents and players each season, as they try and decide what to do with their kids throughout their club basketball careers.
Teach early, get better, win late.
A Closing Quote….Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Decide to construct yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct character through excellent activities and determine how to pay the price of a working goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths. Remain steadfast and one day you will build something that endures; something worthy of your potential. - Epictetus, Roman Teacher & Philosopher; 55-135 AD.
Why are we called the "Spartans"?
When the idea for a club basketball program popped into my head, I immediately thought about an appropriate name. I knew I wanted our name to be meaningful and not just any name I could think of. I began thinking of mascot names, and the 'Spartans' began to stick and I kept it in my mind. Being a UNCG (Spartan) alumni, I always liked it anyway. As I began to consider it as a name for our club program, I thought I would do a little research into what exactly a Spartan was. As I began to read more about them, I began to realize the Spartan from the past had many similarities to what we want our players to symbolize. Thus, I was sold. We were the North Carolina Spartans.
Some of the highlights of the similarities I saw are below.
The life of a Spartan male was a life of discipline, self-denial, and simplicity. • Our program is based on the disciplined, team oriented, fundamental player.
The Spartans viewed themselves as the true inheritors of the Greek tradition. They did not surround themselves with luxuries, expensive foods, or opportunities for leisure. The life of the Spartans seemed to hark back to a more basic way of life. • We are old school in our approach to the game in that we are building a solid foundation of fundamentals at an early age in hopes for future successes.
The ideology of Sparta was oriented around the state. The individual lived (and died) for the state. Their lives were designed to serve the state from their beginning to the age of sixty. The combination of this ideology, the education of Spartan males, and the disciplined maintenance of a standing army gave the Spartans the stability that had been threatened so dramatically in the Messenean revolt. • The individuals on the TEAM are all for the TEAM. We are not about individualism. We are about growing, getting better, and winning as a TEAM. Our strength is our group.
The Spartan Army was the military force of Sparta, one of the leading city-states of ancient Greece. The army stood at the centre of the Spartan state, whose citizens' primary obligation was to be good soldiers. • Our primary objective is to make each boy an all around better basketball player.
Subject to military drill from infancy, the Spartans were one of the most disciplined, well-trained and feared military forces in world history. At Sparta's heyday in the 6th to 4th centuries BC, it was commonly accepted that "one Spartan was worth several men of any other state". • We will drill the fundamentals daily and hope to produce a well-coached, disciplined team that will not intimidate by sight, but by action on the court.
Spartan Warriors were to be perfect in every respect and aspect of war. • We want our players to be proficient in all fundamental skills in basketball, and be able to play the game with both hands.
The result of Spartan warrior training is a man who thinks nothing of danger, expects to win, and creates a sense of dread in his opponents. • A great way to describe what we want as an end result of players in our program- no fear, expect victory, intimidation by action.