In basketball, as with most sports, they say winning is everything. And I would have to say I agree. One of the most important lessons I was taught during my basketball career was how to win games. Point blank. How to win games.

During my career, I have to credit my oldUniversity coach Stan Stewardson on teaching me about his winning ways and how to win. Now I have to admit, during my career I lost a lot of games. My freshman year at SFU we went 4 wins and 26 losses….Ouch! That still smarts. Up to that point I had basically accepted losing. With few seniors on the roster and starting three freshman, the losses just kept adding up.

Anyways, when Coach Stewardson came on board he was very influential. Stan was always looking for a way to win. We could be playing any opponent, it didn’t matter, he was always looking for a way to win. Preparation was a part of it, but more than that he brought attitude. A winning attitude.

The first approach Coach Stewardson brought was that when you stepped on the floor, you thought about winning. Not losing. Just winning. I no longer thought about the possiblility of losing games, just how to win them. I soon found out there was always a way to win a game any game.

A second approach was to surround yourself with good people. Good talented people. People that can compete, work hard and know how to win. This may take time, but eventually you will know who wants to win and who knows how to win.

A third approach is to play smart. Know your team-mates, know your opponents and know yourself. Always try and rattle your opponents, just a little bit. Get to know them on the court so that when it comes time to make that winning shot or draw that crucial foul you know how your opposition will handle the pressure in that dying moment of the game. Usually the team that makes the least amount of mistakes at the end of the game wins the game.

A fourth approach is to congratulate your teamates after the game. You’ve just won a game and you worked hard to do it. Give your guy a pat on the back. Tell him he played well and encourage future good play. Keep the lines of communication open especially in good times. And when the celebration is over, get back to work because you’ve got another game coming up and you want to stay with your winning ways.

Until then–Keep hoopin.