Set the Table

Have you ever wondered what level of “being ready” is truly required to be successful.  Before every game if you asked your players, “are you ready?” you’ll get a “yes” every time. Unfortunately, it may not always be true.  Oftentimes, players think they’re ready, but are they ready enough?

Leaders pride themselves on being prepared, being engaged and being ready at the level required to be successful.

During the Toaster exercise your players will be challenged to evaluate their level of readiness, stay engaged and develop the skill of quick-thinking.

""As we were preparing for our North Carolina State Basketball Championship we did the Toaster exercise with our guys the week leading up to the game, as well as the morning of our game.  It got the kids locked-in and made they were fully-ready for the game.”"
State Champion Varsity High School Boys Basketball Coach

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Lesson Plan

Player Growth Areas

Exercise Length

Language Guide


When you lose or are eliminated with no opportunity for a do-over or to “run it back”

Shareable Graphics

Share these in the locker room, coaches office or on social media.

Quiz Questions

Quiz Questions

Use these questions below to engage after you have taught the exercise.

  • What does it take to be “fully” ready?
  • Leaders are so ready the first time, they don’t _______________.
  • How can you develop the skill of “quick-thinking?”
Quiz Questions

At Home

Coaches, use the below question, reflection, and action to engage parents, guardians, and other family members in the lessons learned in this exercise.

Suggestions on how to use: Email to parents the day you have taught this lesson, add it to the materials you send home, or text it to text message threads with your players.

  • Question: How does “The Toaster” help your ability to think quickly?
  • Reflection: What often happens in sports if you’re not ready when opportunities arise?
  • Action: Discuss how you can continue to prepare and stay ready for your opportunities throughout the season.
Quiz Questions

Coach’s Reflection

Coach, take a moment to reflect on the lesson and how you can lead by example to your players. 

Coach, is your team at the level of ready success requires? How confident are you in your athletes’ ability to think quickly, play fast, and rise to the occasion? If you’re not fully confident, spend some time reflecting on what it will take to get your team to that level.