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    March Madness and the NCAA tournament is one of my favorite times of the year. Getting to see kids, coaches and basketball programs compete on the biggest stage is so much fun to watch. All the hard work, off-season training, the roller coaster of big wins and tough losses that is a basketball season, all brought to a climax for a series of 40-minute games in March (and April).

    As a basketball player, you probably feel the same way. You sit on your couch watching big shot after big shot and quietly hope to one day play on that stage with the announcers shouting your name through television screens across the country. One shining moment, right?

    Problem is, your habits just don’t match your dreams. Your hustle is fake. You went to the gym and maybe got a few shots up. But your Instagram game is strong.

    Read more: You Don’t Lack Confidence. You Lack Ability.

    The single most important question you, as an athlete, can ask yourself is,Do my habits match my dreams and aspirations?”

    No, wait, before you answer that. Get real with yourself. Be brutally honest.

    There are thousands of kids every year who lie to themselves. They watch the games, and they fool themselves into thinking they’ll have those Kemba Walker, Tyus Jones, Frank Kaminsky, Steph Curry moments where they put their team on their backs and make big play after big play.  I tell kids all the time that you have to dream big and then believe and think those dreams into existence. I also follow that up with your hustle has to catch up to your dreams. Your work in the dark has to match your desired outcome in the light.

    Self-awareness is important … REALLY IMPORTANT. If you want a shot at realizing your dreams, you’ve got to be honest with yourself about what you truly want and where you truly are. Typically, there’s a GAP between what we want and what we do, and our ability to realize our dreams lives in that gap.  You can’t close the gap if you aren’t aware it is there.

    Read More: Three Steps to Finding the Best You

    Not sure if you’re putting in the work? Here are two places to start.

    Ask your coach


    Tell your coach your dreams and goals. Ask him or her if your daily habits match those dreams, and tell the coach you want honesty. Then ask your coach who the best, hardest working player they ever coached (or played with) was. Find out everything you can about that player’s work ethic and routines, and then go to work.

    Do you have coaches who are honest with you about where you are and what you need to do to get where you want to go?


    Watch More: How to Make Your Coaches, Coach You Better


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    Find the hardest working player in your program

    Stephen Curry returns to Davidson College

    If you believe you’re currently the hardest working player in your program (and your coach agrees), find a player in your area who you respect, and ask about their habits, routines and training regimen. Find a way to match or exceed their working habits.

    Do you have older and better players who you can look up to?

    When I was coming up as a young player, I spent more time at my local YMCA than I did anywhere else.  There was a player who was 7 to 8 years older than me. I watched him play in high school and train in the same gym. When I got to high school, I found out he shot 1,000 shots every day. It showed on court. He set school records in scoring, averaging 24 points per game and sporting a 54% 3-point shooting percentage. As a young player, I was fortunate to always have a very real understanding that what you put in, you’ll get out. I also had coaches who spoke truth to me. 

    Read More: Quit Being So Hard to Coach

    The environments you put yourself in and the people you surround yourself with are huge indicators of who you will become. Success leaves clues.

    So now, let’s return to the question I posted at the beginning of this blog: “Do my habits match my aspirations and dreams?” The NCAA tournament games are incredibly exciting and packed with tension and passion. If you dream about experiencing those same types of moments on that stage or at the high school level, then get to work.

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    About PGC

    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.

    To learn more about PGC Basketball, including additional basketball training tips and videos, visit our YouTube Channel or find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.