I’ve taken wisdom from Kobe Bryant before (Because of 4 am) and this week Kobe is back with a video I came across on YouTube. In the video, Kobe gives a speech welcoming the formerly San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles. The theme of Kobe’s presentation to the Chargers is to “Stay in the moment.” What can a young player learn from Kobe’s speech? I believe there are several key takeaways that can benefit any player.
Kobe described how people would say he had no conscience, that he was a gunner. Why keep shooting, people would ask, when he had missed 10 shots in a row? The answer? “I have an open shot here. It is my responsibility to take the shot. As an athlete, if you become conscious of your struggles, you’re done. You have to forget about what happened and stay in the moment.”
This is obviously easier said than done, but all players can work to develop this skill. How often have you watched a game and seen a player make one mistake only to compound the mistake and turn it into another by pouting, putting their head down, or letting their effort lag? That is nothing but a bad habit. On the other hand, players that respond to a mistake by immediately and consciously focusing on the next play will begin to develop this more positive reaction into habit.
A coach in the video asks Kobe to walk them through how he stays in the moment. Kobe’s response is very insightful. He says, “It’s a process. It’s never perfect and it never will be.” In other words Kobe is saying that he never stops learning or trying to improve. Remember, He’s KOBE BRYANT one of the greatest players in NBA history and he’s telling the Chargers that he is always learning, always striving, always looking for a way to improve. If that type of growth mindset was part of Kobe’s approach then why wouldn’t YOU adopt the same outlook? I see it so often, youth or high school players who think they know it all. They can’t be bothered with coaches who are trying to help them improve. If you are going to be great at anything, including basketball, you must fall in love with the process. And the reality is THAT PROCESS NEVER ENDS, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE STRIVING TO LEARN MORE AND GET BETTER !
Kobe describes a game in high school when his team lost a game because the opposing team took a shot in the last seconds and instead of boxing his man out, Kobe mindlessly watched the flight of the ball towards the basket, The shot missed, his man got the rebound and made a shot at the buzzer to beat Kobe’s team. The next day Kobe was sitting in geometry class. The class was his least favorite. His mind started to drift as the teacher began the lesson. Suddenly, he made a connection. The same lack of focus on the moment that he was experiencing in geometry class had cost his team a basketball game the night before. He realized that he could work on staying in the moment off the court as well as on the court. I’ve written about championship habits in the past and the lesson Kobe is teaching here is true. The habits you build in your life don’t stay compartmentalized. If you are lazy and don’t pay attention in school your chances of being laser focused and locked in on the court are very slim. If you’re disrespectful to teachers, odds are you’ll be disrespectful to coaches. Use every moment of your life to build positive habits that will carry over into everything you do. Kobe takes the following approach, “I’m always training, I’m always preparing, I’m always practicing for the game.” It’s what you do every day, your daily actions that become habits and impact your life and your game. Don’t let opportunities to improve yourself pass you by wherever you are, even in a boring high school geometry class!
Watch the video, listen to Kobe’s words. stay in the moment, and apply these three ideas to your life.
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