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Pass. Pass. Pass. – Teamwork Story

By October 24, 2019January 23rd, 2022No Comments
high school basketball coach inspiring team to not dribble, and to pass - win as a team - personal story

Recently, I wrote an article on my favorite public speaking, presentation, and storytelling exercise. It is called 1-2-5-10 TM.  In the article, I walk you through how to develop a one-minute version of your story and then a two-minute version of the same story. The story is one that I recall with fondness from my high school years. Also, the Better Tomorrow Message™ of “Pass. Pass. Pass,” has a strong teamwork message, applicable to any team around the world.

Since I am more of a memorizer than a writer, I thought to share it as I now have it in writing as a story example.

Pass. Pass. Pass.

Play As a Team. Win As a Team.

When I was in high school, I was a basketball coach and referee for an evening league. Games typically started at 6 pm. I coached eager 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade boys in basketball fundamentals such as dribbling, passing, lay-ups, and playing defense.

At our first practice, I introduced myself as Coach K (K for Koretsky). I explained that throughout the season we practice on Tuesdays and we play our game on Thursdays. During practice, we would have a mix of drills and scrimmages and then, in Thursday’s game, I wanted them to implement the various skills we learned during practice.

Having coached high school kids before, I had learned how 11-, 12-, and 13-year-olds tended to think. Chances were, their focus was on shooting the basketball and nothing else. Their mantra was, “Dribble, dribble, dribble. Shoot.” The mindset was to only pass, if you are completely surrounded by the other team players.

This awareness led me to completely change how I coached, starting with the first practice. I impressed on the boys the most important part of winning, was teamwork. I said to them something like, “On the court, there are five players. Each of you is part of a team. The only way we will win, is if we pass to the player who is open, and who can take the best shot. If you play to shoot, it’s one against five. If you play as a team, it’s five on five.”

“If you play to shoot, it’s one against five. If you play as a team, it’s five on five.”

They all nodded in agreement. During the first practice, we worked just on the fundamentals of dribbling and passing. It was like watching miniature versions of NBA players in our high school gym.

To reinforce the teamwork concept, I created a team chant. At the beginning and end of each practice and game, we would all chant, “Pass. Pass. Pass.” louder and louder.

Fast forward to game night. I reminded them of the importance of playing like a team. Again, they all nodded in agreement. The whistle blew, the tip off went our way. And that was the beginning of a great night. The boys were terrific. Instead of shooting for the net when they had the chance, they passed. And they realized, that by passing, more of them actually got to shoot the basketball at the net.

We won our first game. We won because everyone realized the importance of good teamwork. If you play as a team, you win as a team. As such, ensure you pass, pass, pass.

Learn about (dramatically) improving your storytelling, public speaking, and communication skills


  • Don’t Stay in Bed  (read)
  • Ride Space Mountain. It Won’t Kill You   (read)
  • Don’t Be The Idiot in the Red Convertible   (read)
  • All Story Examples  (go now)


  • Turn Your Everyday Experiences into Engaging, Powerful Stories  (read)
  • Add Suspense to Your Story with “Near-Impossible Goals”  (read)
  • “Pause” with Purpose in Speaking, Training, and Storytelling  (read)
  • In Storytelling, Balance Emotion and Benefit  (read)
  • Epizeuxis – Increase Impact with this Type of Word Repetition  (read)
  • All Workplace Storytelling Articles & Posts  (go now)

Photography Source:  DepositPhotos
#chiefstoryteller #storytelling #teamwork #success

Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in communication, especially business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after storytelling coach, global speaker, trainer, consultant, communication coach, and public speaking coach.