“Never give up!” We’ve all probably been told this numerous times in our lives. Maybe a coach said it to us when we weren’t getting much playing time. Maybe a teacher said it to us while we were working on a difficult assignment. Maybe a boss said it to us when we felt like a project at work was circling the drain. Sure you thought, I should never give up, but what does that really look like. What are some steps a basketball player can take to “Never give up!” and achieve meaningful success?
The first action step for any player is to sit down and think about why you are playing the game of basketball. Here are some possible responses.
• I want to play with my friends and have fun.
• I want to make the middle school team.
• I want to be a varsity starter.
• I want to be an all-state player.
• I want to get a college scholarship.
• I want to play professional basketball
Your why might be one of these or it may be totally different. By identifying it you’ve started the process required to “Never give up!”
One of the most disturbing statistics that I have come across since I started writing Basketball on the Edge in 2014 is this one that was cited in The Washington Post- According to a poll from the National Alliance for Youth Sports, around 70 percent of kids in the United States stop playing organized sports by the age of 13 because “it’s just not fun anymore.”
If you quit playing you can’t reach any of your whys. If you love to play and enjoy the game, don’t let one bad experience or failure deter you from continuing to play. Seek out coaches and organizations that nurture your love of the game. Just because you didn’t play much this season or had a smaller role on the team than you would have liked, stay in the game. If you don’t play anymore your dreams never have a chance to be realized.
If all you want is to play and have fun, guess what? This is the only step you really need. If you want to advance further in the game read on.
That “overnight” sensation you heard about? I guarantee he or she put in countless hours of time when no one was watching to achieve their success. You can’t expect to transform your game in a week. It takes a long time to master the fundamentals of the game. You must be willing to improve over time and not get down on yourself if you suffer a setback or don’t see the results you want immediately.
You have a much deeper reserve of strength than you think. When times get tough, dig deep, remember your why and keep working on your game. Don’t let anyone sap your strength or keep you down for long. Determination and grit will lead you forward.
If you don’t reach a goal in your first year of trying, don’t give up. There are plenty of players in the NBA with stories of how they were not highly recruited, but just kept working and eventually surpassed their competition. If your training methods aren’t working try a different approach. Keep working to find new ways to add more value to your team.
There will always be someone out there who is better than you at any given moment (unless you’re LeBron right now!) When you focus on what someone else can do or what they have, you lose sight of what’s important in your own development as a player. You have no idea what it took to get that other player or team to where they are now. Focus on your own journey and what YOU can do to get better.
If you love the game you will “Never give up!” You’ll want to keep playing and improving until your career is over. When the ball finally stops bouncing there are so many ways you can stay involved in the game you love. You could coach or officiate. You could become a journalist and write about the game. You could work for a college athletic department. You could become an athletic trainer and work with players. You could use your math or computer skills to work in analytics. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. When I think about my life in basketball I‘ve always made sure I used the ball to improve my life and the lives of others. I haven’t let the ball use me.
Take these tips to heart, apply them in your basketball life and the game will reward you in ways you cannot imagine. Never give up!
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