It's a favorite word of basketball coaches everywhere. Practice well, practice often and practice the way you want to play. Shoot enough free throws, and your muscles eventually remember how to do it on their own.
Dr. Mike Reed hopes to employ consistency on the court, too, but in a different capacity. As the most recent hire in a long string of varsity girls basketball coaches at Chestnut Ridge High School, Reed plans to do what his predecessors haven't: build - and nurture - a program.
The Lady Lions have played under six different head coaches since 2000, and five in the past decade. Reed, an orthodontist with offices in both Altoona and Bedford, lives in the Chestnut Ridge School District with his wife and two daughters, who will be in seventh and fifth grades. He expects to be around awhile.
"Hopefully we can get consistency of a message throughout the whole program," Reed said, adding that he'd like to focus on fundamentals from the elementary through varsity levels.
Reed ran the elementary program at Chestnut Ridge for four years. He also coaches a U-11 team in the local PA Pride AAU program; his older daughter, Sydney, is a 5-foot-1 guard. His hire at the high school was officially approved by the Chestnut Ridge school board back in May.
"To me, this is just the next step forward in his coaching profile. He's well prepared to take the leap to the varsity level," Chestnut Ridge athletic director Mark Clevenger said.
Reed has already recommended several potential assistants. They must be approved by both Clevenger and the school board before they can begin their coaching duties at various levels throughout the program.
"We're going to play the game the right way," Reed said. "We practice things correctly. We're trying to build a winning program."
Due to his late start, Reed felt it would be best to abstain from summer league play this year in favor of skill work. He runs voluntary summer workouts, where he and the team are "getting to know each other." He's excited about the season, noting that several of his players are multi-sport athletes who also excel on the volleyball court.
"It's a great group of kids," Reed said. He's not worried about their other commitments. "I'm just hopeful that basketball can be a part of their high school experience. At a small school, you have your best athletes kind of do everything. I think it's important to keep it in perspective."
Reed knows a thing or two about being a multi-sport athlete. He ranks as the fifth-leading scorer in the history of Northern Bedford High School, finishing his career with 1,324 points. Once he scored 44 points in one game. He went on to play baseball for Juniata College before earning his medical degree from West Virginia University.
"He is the overall package," Clevenger said. "He has outstanding credentials, with his experience playing and coaching, his dedication to the game, and his desire to teach the girls. He loves the sport. He'll be an outstanding role model for the girls on our team, and he'll provide the necessary guidance to lead us in the right direction."
The Lady Lions are coming off a 7-15 season in 2011-12 as District 5 Class AA and Sideling Hill League members. They return nine letterwinners, including junior guard Mackenzie Feather, who averaged 12.9 points per game last season.
"We do have a good group of kids," Reed said. The team lacks in size, though, he added. To counter that, he plans to emphasize quickness, hustle, rebounding and team defense.
"I think this year we won't measure so much in wins and losses," Reed said, "but how we progress from the beginning to the end of the season."
Clevenger is confident that the progression will be consistent.
"He'll always do what's in the best interests of the players, the team and our school, and I think that will lead to success," Clevenger said.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge," Reed said. "We're hoping to bring a little bit of excitement to the girls program. We haven't won a district title since 1987. So that's a goal: to compete for that."