During practice, seek to be mature, not right. After practice you can work out the rights and wrongs, removed from the tension of competition and performance. What is the difference between a mature athlete and an immature athlete? The answer to this very important question every athlete ought to ask and think about daily is one hour.
A 1992 study of 8,000 youth athletes found that “having fun” was their primary reason for participating in a sport and yet more and more frequently, we see this primary reason slowly begin to fade. In many cases, the fun factor of a sport will take a backseat to factors such as getting a college scholarship, winning, pleasing parents or coaches; the list can go on and on. In the worst cases, the fun factor of a sport is replaced by stress inducing factors that eliminate the fun altogether.
I disagree with coaches who claim that defense is the number one ingredient in winning games. I have no doubt that the most important ingredients are offensive ones. You could have a terrific defense, but if you lose the ball before getting a shot, your opponent will often have the opportunity to score against no defenders on a fast break before your great defense has a chance to form. (Most teams can be stopped nearly half the time if you just manage to get all your players standing in the lane with their hands up. I’m all for defense, but you just can’t pretend it’s as important as offense.)
I have seen it all when it comes to recruiting. I coached college basketball for almost a decade and then ran a NCAA certified recruiting service that had college coaching subscribers from all levels so, to this day, I often get asked by athletes, parents and high school coaches about college recruiting. The recruiting process can be daunting and confusing, at times. However that process could be over before it begins if you allow these 5 habits to be a part of who you are.
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We talkin’ about practice. Not just practice, we talkin’ about pre-practice. The champions approach to practice is to play with MORE focus, preparation and love than they do in games. Why? It’s more difficult to bring your passion to practice on a daily basis but the key to championship performance is to learn to master the boring and love the mundane details as much as you love to play on the stage in front of the bright lights.
Attitude means a lot of things these days. Sometimes, by itself, it means a bad attitude. Sometimes it means a way of carrying yourself with self-respect and flair. It means different things to different people. So here, let’s talk about what it means to have the right attitude, the right way, or the best way, to carry yourself and to approach your sport and your life.
You don’t win games or better your performance with positive talking. Saying you are going to win isn’t going to make you win. It may be better than walking around saying you are going to lose, but saying anything isn’t the answer. Games are won and lost on the court by performers, not by talkers.
It’s that time of year when many basketball athletes start saying something along the lines of, “I’m going to do better next year.” With the best intentions they enter the off-season thinking how they learned some gold nuggets from mistakes, trials, and tribulations of the past season and how they “won’t let them happen again.”