You picked up a basketball because it was fun, right? It was fun to play with your friends and get some exercise. But then your idea of fun began to evolve.
Competing began to give you a thrill.
Your team winning began to be the definition of real fun.
But a team can only be as good as the individuals that make up the team, so you decided to become better. In fact, you want to be “a cut above” the rest and pull your team up with you. Now, playing against average players is not good enough anymore. In fact, whatever the level of your competition, you have a desire to play on the level above them. Basketball is still fun for the same reasons it’s always been, but now the fun goes deeper; it’s now tied up with getting yourself and your team to the next level – maybe even to a championship.
If you’re at this point in your life, then you’re ready to train like a champion. There’s not room in this article or any other single article to map out all of the details for training like a champion. So instead, let’s look at the big picture:
Regardless of where you got the desire to become a champion, how you view yourself must change, develop, and evolve. At this point you must be willing to dump excuse-making into the trash bin of time-wasting exercises. You can no longer believe that you’re limited by the neighborhood you grew up in, your friends, your family, or your genetics. There’s no one to blame for what you can or cannot do with the ball other than yourself. In fact, you must be ready to toss the whole blame-game into the same garbage bin with the excuses. There can be no interest in reasons why you can’t. Make no mistake about it, you can’t think like everyone else.Your mind must think like a champion before your body can follow.
It’s obvious that having natural athletic ability helps anyone in the beginning. Athletic ability means the ability to control your body and maintain balance while moving in different directions, along with at least average eye-hand coordination. But this is basketball, not track and field. Athleticism is not enough in itself! If you don’t train your basketball skills every day, then you will not progress to the next level with the speed that a champion needs. Having talent and being gifted physically only means so much. You may have all of the ability in the world, but if you don’t sweat on the court every day, you won’t become a champion. In the long run, it is consistency and dedication that makes the difference; dedication to doing what the majority of other players are not willing to do. If most players can only shoot 32% then you must be willing to do whatever it takes to shoot 42 or 52%. If most players have a weak hand, then you must be dedicated to being deadly with either hand. If most players train one hour a day, then you must be willing to train two.
Now, if the definition of a champion is to be on a championship team, then that title can only be used with those fortunate enough to be on a team with a unique blend of individuals working in harmony with a unique coach and coaching staff. Sometimes even a little luck is needed when you consider things like injuries. For most of us, we can’t choose our team or choose our coach, but we can still choose to train like a champion.
Why train like a champion? Because you must become a champion before you win a championship, You can be a champion if you take whatever God-given abilities you have and in the fire of your own will, with dedication and commitment that others cannot muster, you forge your body, mind, spirit and even your personality into something new, something special, something on an entirely different level than the ordinary player. Although hard to define, we know champions when we see them. We see something that could not have been born naturally, but has been birthed by the sweat and labor pains of practice, practice, and more practice. These champions have that unmistakable mark of those who will forever compete against their toughest competitor – themselves.