For over twenty years as a sports entertainer/clinician, I’ve performed and instructed thousands and thousands of young people. It is inevitable that after every performance and or clinic I’m asked; “How can you spin the ball like that?” Or “How can you make all those baskets?” My answer is simple – practice. No secret formula, no magic or illusion – just basic practice. After relating this message, I often get blank stares as if my answer does not compute. Unfortunately, we are a society of instant gratification – wanting things done quickly. I’ve learned over the years how gratifying it feels when you finally achieve a goal you’ve been working so hard for. It’s something that you don’t take for granted and appreciate the success.
In 2004 I attended the Women’s Final Four in New Orleans. The first time as a fan instead of performing! You could read it on each of the athlete’s faces how hard they had worked to get to the Final Four and what it meant to be there. I also couldn’t help noticing how each team warmed up before the game – going back to practicing basic fundamentals. Repetition – over and over again, practicing basic passing, dribbling and shooting fundamentals. Even at the highest level of women’s collegiate basketball, these highly skilled athletes recognized and practiced daily the basic fundamentals.
In the future, if you find yourself asking someone how he or she performed a particular task or drill, remember it’s something that did not come to him or her overnight. Simple practice is the answer. Practicing when no one is watching, practicing when you may not feel like it, practicing even when the facility or environment may not be conducive to perfect practicing conditions. Someone who is successful has practiced under all of these conditions many, many times.
Something to think about during the off-season…
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