With modern technology and the naysayers just one click away, something that must always take precedent is your belief in yourself. Seems like a simple concept, right? Just believe in yourself and success will follow.
It’s not that simple.
Coaches will test your limits and drive you to quit, just to see how far you will go. The media will criticize your every move just to get a rise out of you for a 20-second soundbite. Now with social media, anyone with a Twitter handle can mention horrendous things about you behind a computer or smart phone. That self-belief, yeah, it just got a LOT harder.
I’ve forever lived by the motto that the belief in oneself can propel you as far as you want to go. That’s never been more clear and more admirable than watching Warriors guard Steph Curry. The kid from Davidson College who was asked to walk-on at Virginia Tech has gone from “a long shot” to making the NBA–as Dell Curry, his dad once said–to one of the most celebrated NBA superstars of our time.
When he was in college draining threes and leading the country in scoring, many people still doubted his ability despite his unparalleled success in crunch time moments. Could he handle the physicality? A few years of that can be used as motivation, but a lifetime in Steph Curry’s case…it could easily overwhelm a player’s psyche. Boy does that all seems like ages ago.
It’s unbelievable how good this kid is. What changed? He added a little more size, quickness, worked on his overall game. What didn’t change? His consistent belief in his ability. It never wavered. He’s transformed the Golden State Warriors into one of the most entertaining teams in the NBA and legitimate contenders. He’s managed to launch himself into the MVP race and just last week he made 77 threes in a row in practice. Not so bad for a kid who was once deemed a long shot. If there’s ever a player to imitate now, it’s Steph Curry.
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We live in a “what are you doing for me now?” society. Selfishness, egos, all the above are a common denominator. I see so much of the me.me.me. syndrome sometimes it’s discouraging. That’s why this skill is imperative and last to highlight because I think its becoming a rarity. Which team had the most talent in last year’s NBA Finals: the Spurs or the Heat? That can be argued. In my opinion, the Spurs’ unselfish style of play won them a ring.
The greatest story this season has been the Atlanta Hawks. Who saw this coming? Not even anyone from the A knew they’d be this good. You should have heard people in the gym talking about the hawks preseason: “Man, maybe an 8-seed in the playoffs.” Good call, guys. Those who enjoy watching the Hawks play have to admire the team’s selflessness. It has been such an integral part of their success, not just as a team, but individually. It takes everyone buying into that philosophy, and checking egos at the door.
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Behind every great athlete is an even better foundation. Why are they so successful? Take a look at their off-the-court makeup. Incredible athleticism and abilities will get you so far. There are other skills, non-physical skills that make up that foundation. Today we will discuss just this as I dive into the 5 Skills That Every Basketball Player With Big Dreams Must Master in the latest installment of No Days Off.
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When college coaches sit around and watch young players compete, there’s always one kid that stands out. The worker. The one that never stops. Their motor never runs out. College coaches fall in love with these players because you can’t coach a kid’s heart or drive. The best part about this skill is it has nothing to do with the physical. I’m not asking you to have a 35-inch vert. I’m asking you to find a way to either develop one, or just out-work someone to put yourself in position to win a battle where that would matter.
It is the willingness to never quit, to want to continuously get better each and every day, and to want to learn from others. You don’t make it to the highest levels of college basketball and excel without drive, and definitely put the professional ranks on the back-burner if you don’t want it bad enough. I was never the fastest. I was never the strongest. But no one ever questioned my drive. That’s what leads to success because it separates you from someone who maybe is physically more gifted but doesn’t want to work as hard.
Someone whose drive I admire is Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. D-Rose cant seem to stay healthy, everyone knows this. The average fan at home, they just want to see him on the court. Fair enough. But what’s missing is they don’t see the struggle, the agony of sitting on the bench when you just want to play. They see his return.
Some pity him for his struggle but Derrick Rose is a fighter. He has the drive. It’s why he is still in conversations as one of the best point guards in the game. There’s a cloud of doubt that continuously hangs over his head, yet when he falls down, he gets back up. It would be really easy to walk away, hang up his shoes, and yet D-Rose cant. Why? His drive keeps him going.
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