In today’s world, when we want something we often want it now. We expect instant results and get frustrated when feedback or success is slow. In reality, most good things take time. We must practice patience as we grow and develop, convincing ourselves that in time the right things will fall into place with enough hard work.
The metaphor I’ve often heard is the oven over the microwave. We live in a microwave society where people expect things instantly (average human attention span is 8 seconds!). Likes on a post, success at a new skill, we want it quick and easy. But growth works more like an oven…invest the time and energy consistently, understanding it could take awhile to be great.
Be wise and play the long game—which means delaying the gratification that you are so programmed to want. Try not to get caught up in instant gratification but work and believe that persistence will pay off. And make sure you are working on and towards the right things. Getting better at anything (a new job, shooting a jump shot, parenting, any skill) doesn’t happen in a microwave, it happens over time as you get reps and work at it, even when you don’t always see the results you want along the way. The ability to delay gratification will serve you well.
I tweeted out a thought a couple of days ago and it got me thinking about a younger player’s approach to improvement. The tweet was “Improving skill isn’t complicated. And it isn’t easy.” As I spend time this summer working with younger players and look at the future of a high school program, it makes me think about what players need to be good at to be productive contributors at the next level. It’s really so simple.
-Players at the high school level have to be able to knock down shots. Working on your shot isn’t overly complicated, but it certainly requires hours and hours of dedicated practice and thousands of reps shooting the basketball with good fundamentals. Not complicated—just boring, consistent reps.
-Finishing with either hand at the rim is a must if you want to be a threat at the next level against the upper level teams. If your not great at the rim, or you only have one hand as an option at the rim, you are not a major offensive threat because good defenses will take away what you are best at. Rep your weak hand constantly. Don’t allow it to hold you back at the next level, even if you are good enough without it at your current level.
-Players at the high school level must be good at passing and catching. This is a team sport, and if you cannot make a play for someone else then you aren’t contributing how you should be. Passing and catching are skills that good players work on.
-Defend. Only players with really high offensive ability can get away with average defense, and even then they are a liability to their team. Be able to guard the ball, be able to slide laterally, to help your teammates off the ball with your IQ and rotation. Learn from listening to coaches, watching basketball on tv, working on your footwork, and simply wanting to be great at this.
These four simple areas of a player’s game — definitely not very complicated, but also not “easy” to master. Get really good at them. Spend more time in these areas if you want to have an impact at the next level. Want to start at the high school varsity level? Maximize your potential in these four areas. Want to play after high school? Build this foundation and then multiply with consistency, IQ, and a super competitive mindset of wanting to be the best. Nothing worth having comes easy.
"Get Better" is our PEAK blog, providing you with content to help enhance your game, your mind, and your relentless pursuit of the process! Enjoy.
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