The Harder, The Better
I came across the following two quotes this week that shed light on how we should approach learning, training, and improvement.
“When uncomfortable, my instinct is not to avoid the discomfort but to become at peace with it… My instinct is always to seek out challenges as opposed to avoiding them”
– Josh Waitzkin: The Art of Learning
If you don’t start doing the things you don’t feel like doing, you will wake up one year from today and be in exactly the same place. If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea. – Mel Robbins: 5 second rule
Applied to basketball, here’s what you should take away from these two ideas.
First of all, it’s easy to play against poor competition and win. Sure, you won, but did you improve your skills and get better? You only improve by challenging yourself against better competition. It’s uncomfortable and you may lose more often than you win, but seek out those challenges, don’t shy away from them. In my view, players that consistently enjoy playing against lesser competition don’t end up reaching their goals. Playing against better competition brings out the best in you. The tougher the competition the more opportunities you’ll have to rise to the occasion.
Second, the drills and skills that you find to be the most difficult, the ones that you hate to work on? Those are the drills and skills that you should be working on. Take action and work to get better starting now! Telling yourself that you can start tomorrow may be easy, but in many cases tomorrow never comes. Before you know it three months are gone and you haven’t even started. Mel Robbins suggests we count backwards from five and take action. Make a plan to get better and then get after that plan every day no matter how you feel. If success in basketball is your goal then your actions today have to match your dreams of tomorrow.
Let’s face it, you know exactly what you need to be doing in order to improve as a basketball player. You already know that the opportunity for growth and improvement lies in your ability to step outside of your comfort zone and work hard developing your skills, but you still won’t do it, and here’s why: Knowing what you should do will never be enough. You have to make a commitment to skill development, to eating right, to conditioning your body, to being a great teammate, to becoming the player you want to become. It’s not easy. It’s hard.
As basketball players and as people we love it when things are easy and safe. Hard is tough. Hard is frustrating. Hard is a struggle. The easy choice is rarely the right choice. When we choose hard over easy we are rewarded. Ultimately, hard creates growth. Hard creates learning. Hard creates success. The harder, the better.
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