Let me start by offering how the greatest coach of all time defined competitive greatness. Coach John Wooden’s definition of competitive greatness states successful players must have the ability to perform at their best when their best is needed.
There are a lot of athletes who come to mind when we talk about competitive greatness. A prime example was demonstrated a few Sundays ago when my beloved Falcons had a heart-breaking loss to Tom “The Goat” Brady. At PGC, we refer to great leaders in any realm as “point guards.” In my opinion, Tom Brady is one of the greatest point guards of all time. There is no doubt he performed his best when his team needed it the most. I think his competitive greatness can be directly linked to his and his team’s preparation, dedication to doing their job and ability to believe (i.e. confidence).
The greatest basketball player of my time, Michael Jordan, exemplified competitive greatness. He showed up with preparation, dedication and confidence perhaps more than any athlete in history. I will never forget when I got the opportunity to talk to Atlanta great Dominque Wilkins about MJ’s competitive greatness. Wilkins told me this story with such intensity. He said,
“Jordan and I were good friends. We would hang and have dinner together when he came to Atlanta. I will never forget the look in his eyes right before jump ball every time we played. The look was intense, it was almost evil. He looked at me like he didn’t know me.”
For 48 minutes, Jordan had only one mission: to be great so his team could be great. His dedication to his craft, his preparation to succeed and his confidence were undeniable.
Athletes who are competitively great prepare.
PGC’s Dick Devenzio always said, “Championships are not won on the night of a big event, but years before by athletes who commit themselves daily to championship principles.” This is a lot easier said than done.
I see kids all around the country “playing games” vs. dedicating themselves to improvement. With the media glorifying highlight moments, there is less focus on the preparation it takes to be great. That is why I love dropping in on our PGC sessions. It is inspiring to see 126 athletes dedicating themselves hour after hour, day after day to becoming great. It excites me to see that level of preparation, knowing these young players are on their way to greatness.
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Athletes who are competitively great are dedicated.
I find it becoming harder almost every year to find competitively-great players. These days, young people have so many distractions, and with more things vying for their time, it is less likely for them to have the dedication needed. So when I do find a competitively-great player, it gives my team a greater advantage than ever.
Shaka Smart said it best when he said:
“We talk to our guys all the time about the difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in something, you do it when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you do it all the time, even when you lost that feeling that you originally had when you you made the original commitment.”
I see this play out every day in the sports world. The interest is there, but is the commitment? So often this is the separator.
Athletes who are competitively great have confidence because they’ve prepared.
Confidence comes from preparation. It is one thing to say, “I am confident.” It is an entirely different thing to say, “I have earned the right to be confident.” It’s easy to spot a fraud. They talk about it. Competitively great athletes are about it. They are dedicated. They prepare. And as a result, they are confident. Every day, you have to answer this question: “Am I about it?” If you are, there is a good chance you will be competitively great.
Read more: Confidence comes from Preparation
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PGC Basketball provides intense, no-nonsense basketball training for players and coaches. Our basketball camps are designed to teach players of all positions to play smart basketball, be coaches on the court, and be leaders in practices, games and in everyday life.
We combine our unique PGC culture with a variety of teaching methods and learning environments to maximize the learning potential of those that attend our sessions. In addition to spending 6-7 hours on the court each day, lessons will be reinforced through classroom sessions and video analysis.
Our goal at PGC is to empower you with the tools to fulfill your basketball dreams, while also assisting you in experiencing the joy of the journey.