Cause and Effect in the realm of Basketball

For this special blog post, we are happy to have guest-blogger Sean J. McCaw on this. As a Player Education Specialist, Sean is using his experience and knowledge from almost 30 years of playing, coaching, and living in Europe to educate players, provide real-world guidance that helps players flatten the learning curve, avoid mistakes, maximize their talent and succeed as a pro in Europe.

Hi everyone,

I recently tuned into a podcast featuring a renowned college basketball coach, and what he shared about Cause and Effect in the realm of basketball got me thinking. He went into the notion that many coaches prioritize the CAUSE of winning or losing games rather than the EFFECT.

Picture this: coaches are engrossed in meticulous preparation, crafting scouting reports, analyzing game tapes, and strategizing to expose opponents’ weaknesses while shielding their team’s shortcomings. However, when it comes to the actual game, coaches lack direct influence on the EFFECT or the final outcome. They’re not out on the court; they can only hope that their exhaustive preparation translates into players executing the envisioned actions.

On the flip side, players are laser-focused on the outcome—winning or losing. On the court, the intensity of the game demands they rely more on instinct than on the prescribed game plan. While players may understand the strategy, they might act instinctively if they believe they can control the offensive player in a pick-and-roll differently from what the coach demands. Players have a more personal stake in the result, emphasizing the outcome over the preparation.

Curious about others’ perspectives, I conducted a poll on my Instagram story, asking my “teammates” (followers) which they deemed more important. Surprisingly, 71% leaned towards the Cause, while 29% championed the Effect. A closer look revealed that all those in the 29% were current players, while the majority in the 71% were either coaches or retired players.

This aligns with the coach’s theory: players tend to focus on winning and losing, while coaches (or those now on the sidelines) appreciate the value of meticulous preparation. Having experienced both roles as a professional player and coach, I found it intriguing to consider. Yes, poor preparation often results in subpar performance, but there are instances where I’ve won games despite feeling underprepared and lost games while thinking the game plan was flawless.

Deciding which is more crucial is complex; they are intertwined. In the short term, talent might secure a win or two without meticulous preparation. However, in the long run, I’m skeptical that a talented team can clinch a championship without thorough preparation. That’s just my humble opinion.

About Sean J. McCaw

Sean spent over thirteen-years playing professionally in Austria’s first league, France’s second league, Portugal’s first league, England’s first league, Switzerland’s first league, and Germany’s first and second leagues. He won multiple titles and also played for Austria’s National team as a Neutralized Austrian citizen. After retiring as a player, Sean coached at various levels in Germany, including the first league, for over eight years. Currently, he lives in Germany with his family and is working as an Educator at an International School and of course, educator of hoopers.

Learn more about his consultation service on

Basketball with borders

The 21/22 season was one to remember for client Miloš Latković who signed with Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague team BC Kryvbas.
The city and fans welcomed him well. The team played a solid season and its
players got paid regularly on time. But in late February, Russia declares war and prepares hell for 40 million
people in the second largest country in Europe, everything is changing

“It occurred to us that something could happen, but it was still peaceful in the city. We were aware of the risks as we listened to the news of a possible invasion, but we obviously didn’t take it seriously enough. We also received guarantees from the coaches and club’s management” Miloš begins to tell the story.

“We received messages in the club group that the war had started in Kharkov. I immediately called Montenegrin Ambassador Dragica Ponorac, but all she told me was: “I’m running, I’m running, just cross the border”.

The panic began and the Club started to organize transportation to the Polish border. Four or five hours passed before the departure, sirens began to sound and several grenades fell on the nearby town, earthquakes were felt.
When Miloš Latković left, he was not alone. He was escaping with his
teammate, Miloš Popović who is also Montenegrin. Both left the most of their belongings in their apartments.
It took them 28 hours and 900 kilometers just to find out that the road was now completely closed. The last 27 kilometers, they WALKED to the Polish border with all their belongings.

“We were scared but we knew we had to be strong to get through everything
because the desire to return home was stronger than fear. We also knew that we had to be strong for our families, even though we thought that every kilometer was our last ” says Popović.

“At one point we thought about throwing things away and just moving on. We saw people sleeping in bags or throwing their belongings away to continue their journey”.

Pure chaos was waiting for the duo on the Polish border. As they came close to the checkpoint several times, the police pushed them back. Once again, they were stuck. Many plans to cross the border on different checkpoints failed, some nights in shelters passed by.

“The Montenegrin media began to monitor the situation, people started
calling and providing help, sending us messages of support. The Basketball
Association of Montenegro and the Embassy of Ukraine in Montenegro got
involved” says Latković.

And finally things started to go their way. Friends and family got in touch with Ukrainian businessman Rizvan Babayev who was waiting for his asylum in Montenegro. It took 48 hours from the first contact with Rizvan Babayev’s associates before they finally entered Hungary. The 4-day ride through hell came to an end. Now, both are home and safe. But their thoughts and prayers are still with the Ukrainian people.

“Ukrainians are going through undeserved pain and injustice. We could never hear them say anything bad about Russians, regardless of the tensions that were going on” says Latković, with whom his wife and two-year-old son stayed in Kryvbas until February.

“We were lucky to got in touch with a man who helped us selflessly and showed how great of a person he is. I don’t know how we can ever repay Babayev” Latković added.

The Sports Agency stands against war and with the people, not only in Ukraine, but everwhere around the globe where people suffer injustice. We’re praying for peace around the world because as humanity, we only can win in unity.

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