I’d bet my life on one thing for certain: the best athletes and leaders in the world always remember that one play or big thing they could have done better, or differently.
The second thing I’m certain of is: the best athletes and leaders in the world don’t define themselves by that one thing, or one play, or their failures, but use them for personal jet fuel.
I would come home from a loss in high school and immediately pick up my basketball and head down to my basement to work on dribbling drills, and roll cement-filled coffee cans on a rope and stick until my forearms couldn’t move anymore.
This positive negativity is the essence of our own jet fuel — to lose, fail, feel bad emotions, and then bounce back and do something about it. If we can use a bad memory, event, or performance to motivate, inspire better preparation, and compete at a higher level, this is negative positivity.
I don’t want to live a mediocre life. I don’t want to be a “probably” or fall into the “probabilities” category for those not making it. When I hear, “I probably can’t do that or make this or go there or become this,” and it makes me sick to my stomach.
The meaning of words we use define the beliefs we hold about ourselves.
Educate the youth. Mentor the kids. Use basketball as a tool to empower change.
Basketball Kids Chicago
Basketball Kids Sports to Life Lessons
Every kid needs to grow their leadership, effort, and mindfulness skills, but how? There are not many coaches talking about effort over talent, grit over one-day passion, focus, breathing, or teamwork over individual stats. As a kid, my dad used to drive me to the court and rebound for me. He would ask me if I put my best effort into being the best I could be in that practice.
Of course, I'd ask as my practice session ended as a naive kid, "I don't know dad. What does that look like?"
Now I finally know (yes, at 39). Your best effort looks and feels a certain way. Whether it's your kid cleaning their room, or staying fit as an adult, after 12 years of European professional basketball, I now take pride in teaching kids how to compete against themselves and put their best effort into practice, school, and what they love doing.
"There is no one else to compete against but yourself, Trevor," my dad would say to me, stoically.
Then I turned 14 and never listened to him again, (*I'm laughing out loud here) but you get the point--kids need to hear the effort message! All the time, from as many mentors, coaches, and teachers as possible!
I'm sure Erica's dad did the same, but the whole point of the story is, if we can push kids to get out of their comfort zones with new training methods, new sports, and higher levels of effort, we can begin their path to success. Good luck and see you soon!