90% mental 10% everything else! I used to ask one of my coaches a lot of questions like “How do I jump higher?”, “How do I become a better shooter?”, “How do I run faster?” He always answered these questions the same way. “Jump higher!” “Shoot better!” “Run faster!” It was like he was a NIKE T-shirt telling me to “Just Do It.”

At first I thought he was the worst coach I ever had! Then I got older and wiser and realized he was one of the best coaches I ever had! Everyone more or less has a chance to learn the secrets of basketball, football, soccer, or anything really. I mean we got Google Right?! But hey, even if we didn’t have google you still have the chance to learn all there is to know. Let’s stick with a basketball example since that is what I know best. Every youth rec league coach whoever existed has told their players to hustle to the ball, stay low on defense, and hold your follow through. Those ideas right there are some of the biggest secrets there are in basketball, and any dad or mom can tell you those things after watching just one nationally broadcasted NBA game. The same principles go for more complicated concepts. The ins and outs of the legendary Syracuse Zone defense are broken down numerous times on YouTube!! Whenever an NBA player is interviewed and asked, how have you achieved so much success? They always respond in some cliché way mentioning hard work and their mental toughness or “Grind.” The reasons these answers are cliché is because they are true…peopled just don’t want to believe them! Sure MJ was a ridiculous athletic specimen, but so is JR Smith! I know how dare I mention those 2 names in the same sentence, but in terms of athletic ability and size they are almost identical (MJ did have a much better vertical, but JR is nothing to sneeze at). The real difference between these two guys is their drive, their work ethic, and their mental toughness!

The point my coach was trying to make was, work hard! Do not expect me to reach in my back pocket, pull out some magic fairy dust and sprinkle it over you, so you can suddenly transform into a great athlete or player (This is not Neverland and my name isn’t Peter Pan). If I were to ask any average person off the street, “What should I do so I can jump higher?” I guarantee that person says “You should probably lift weights and do squats and practice jumping…oh and make sure you eat your vegetables!” …Well…Duh!! No one out there is telling themselves, “Man I really want to jump higher, maybe I should eat this Big Mac and stay away from the weight room.” Now some coaches are better than others and they can tell you specifics like do sets of 2-5 for power instead of sets of 12. BUT, AGAIN there is a thing called Google! Now I am not saying Coaches are useless, heck I am a coach. However, you as an athlete or player have to be mentally ready for the work that is ahead. I can tell you what you need to do to get where you want to go, but first and foremost you have to be mentally ready for the hard work that is going to take.

 

Moral of the story: Be willing to work hard, and stay mentally tough. Pay attention to things you should learn and avoid things that are detrimental to your success. There is no hidden secret out there. Be mentally tough before anything else!