I believe to become an expert at a craft, people have to deliberately put a great deal of time into it. One of the worst dreams that I consistently have is being in a basketball game, but my feet are cemented to the ground. The harder I try to move, the more I get stuck, as if I’m in quicksand and I can’t escape. It’s torture. The second I wake up, my fear drives me to go work on my craft.
Students have their different reasons for why they are attempting to maintain their grades. Maybe their parents encourage them to do so, or maybe they need it for their dream job later in life. Either way, the job gets done. But the purpose of your actions says a lot about what you will accomplish. The thing that is on my mind while doing school work is the fact I need to do it to better position myself for basketball opportunities in the future. If that weren’t the case, my grades would be even lower than they are. I settle for the bare minimum when it comes to my grades. That bare minimum varies from person to person. In my case, that’s above a 3.0 GPA. Some teachers claim that if I put as much work and effort into my school work as I do basketball that I would have earned a 4.0 GPA. I agree, but my craft requires most of my time. If what drives me is to be the best basketball player that I can, then doing anything more than the bare minimum would detract from my basketball success.
To be the best, I have to be obsessive about my skill. At times it almost hurts to the point that it feels like a relationship with a girl that isn’t working out. I second-guess myself and become self-conscious about my game. My shot needs lifted, my crossover needs to be more deceptive, and my body needs to be in top notch shape. Every little detail needs to be perfected. As much as that thinking hurts, I’m mostly thankful for it, for the countless hours and shots would not have been performed if I wasn’t worried about them. I spend every off-season feeling self-conscious about every aspect of my game. I fear not being good enough. But once the lights are on and the ball is tipped, I lose all the fear and anxiety and replace it with confidence knowing that not one person on the court has put in as much time prior to this moment. Preparation is confidence; I’m always ready.
I firmly believe that anyone could be in the same position that I’m in right now. I’m no exception to anything. I don’t have exceptional size or speed that makes me superior to the average kid from the start. Any athletic attribute that I do have over others is only because I’ve enhanced them through the extra hills and lifting that have slowly torn my joints apart. The only thing that I will confidently say I have over others is determination and that has led to other aspects of my game being lifted over others.
This isn’t a blueprint for just another person looking to be a good basketball player. It can be translated to other lifestyles and goals. If every day, people woke up trying to be the best they can be on that one goal, slowly they will become a master of their crafts. Once you find your talent, don’t squander it. You want it? Go get it. Nothing pisses me off more than a person who claims to want to become great, but puts minimum effort into it. If anything, put minimum effort into everything that takes you away from doing the work necessary to being great.
Too many people claim “ball is life” when really the only time they are lacing up is when the season starts. They want the label without putting in the work that gets them there. Until you can honestly say, you woke up, ate healthy, stretched before you showered to free yourself from the pain of previous days’ preparation, did school work solely for your craft, worked on your craft until in your mind you have perfected every move, went home, stretched and iced to get your body ready for the next day, then stayed up late at night thinking about how you will destroy your next opponent… then you can never come in with the confidence I will have when I face you with everything I’ve got. You have to become obsessed with your craft to be on top.