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Hoops Reflections

As a professional basketball player, the best seasons of my career were the ones when I entered in with the proper mindset. Often times they would come on the heels of a sub-par or disappointing year. I would enter the gym with a purpose that summer, mentally focused on how I would approach the next season, and adopt the attitude of providing value. This isn’t soft or weak. It’s a mentality that says, “you are paying me to do a job, and I am going to make sure at the end of it you feel that you got your money’s worth.” In fact, I always wanted that team to think they got a deal when they signed me, that I provided more value than they actually paid for. It really doesn’t matter if you are the highest or lowest paid player on the team. You can always adopt this attitude, and in my experience, it always pays off.

On the other side, I had a couple of years where I went into the season either unprepared mentally or too full of myself. Those were down years. As soon as you start to take this game for granted, several things will happen. You’ll realize that you aren’t as good as you thought, and that working hard to maintain and improve is a must no matter how old or seasoned you happen to be. This game has a way of humbling you. Many of the articles I have read that are posted by companies, management or employers talk a lot about this topic. They complain about how employees are quick to come to them for a raise or with a problem, but rarely if ever ask if they can do more, how they can help, or how they can be better.

If you work every day to provide value to your team, to make the coach’s job easier and to do things that no one expects from you, I promise that your season and your craft will be more enjoyable and more fruitful. The results might not show immediately, but my career’s experience tells me that they always pay off. It’s a weird thing, but luck rewards work. Give your teammates, your coach and your school more value than what they expect. Give them a reason to appreciate the extra work you put in. Don’t mistake the tenor of this post – it isn’t about being altruistic or overly generous, and it isn’t about kissing up either. You can’t fake the right mindset, and attempting to will be seen through eventually, if not immediately. Ultimately, this is selfish, because the basketball universe rewards work and value. Do yourself a favor and change your mindset. Don’t go into this season expecting playing time, wins, and stats. Go out of your way to look around for how you can provide value, for how you can be better. Give them more than what they asked for, and it’s going to pay off! I promise.

Coach D