‘You Can’t Take Any Plays Off”

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Going into my senior year in high school I played almost non stop basketball for two months

That is the prime time for high school players trying to play at the next level.

I think I was home for a grand total of a week during the two months of summer.

It was tournament, camp, summer league, repeat.

At one point I remember playing more than 25 games in a one week period between camp, league games and a tournament.

It was a lot or reps and I loved it.

Going into that summer I was sitting down and talking to my dad and another coach who had coached in college for some time.

He explained to me how recruiting at camps and tournaments worked.  He gave me two pieces of advice:

1) He said “You have to stand out in the crowd so make sure you do something different”

I took that advice channeled my inner Justin Timberlake and bleached my hair.

2) He said “You Can’t take any plays off, zero, not even one”

He was giving some advice on hard work but he was giving practical advice as well.

Coaches are there to see 3-5 high profile prospects and hopefully pick up a couple sleepers while they are there.

Because coaches will see hundreds of kids in the course of a weekend, who are all very good, they will only watch a player for 2-5 possessions and then they move on.

Just for context that could mean maybe 2 mins over the course of a three day camp.

And you don’t know when that is or when they will be there. It could be during drills, a 3 on 3 game or a full 5 on 5.  And the smart ones don’t like to be seen so they can watch how players act when the spotlight isn’t on them.

This means you can’t take a play off, there is no relaxing and you have to make up for your mistakes VERY quickly.

I took his advice to heart.

I was the MVP of that camp and it was probably the best three days of basketball of my life.  I could have kicked the ball and it would have gone in.

But I also made the All Defensive Team and the All 3 on 3 team.

This was primarily because of the effort not my amazing skills. I dove on every loose ball, I guarded the best players, and hustled on every play.

95% of those plays nobody was watching.

When we do the little things 95% of the time when nobody is watching then that 5% is stacked in our favor to perform how we need to.

Doing the things nobody else wants to do like hustle on the field after a mistake, doing the accessory work or measuring our food is what the base of the pyramid of success is built on.

This little things aren’t always fun.

They largely go unnoticed.

But they put us in the position to take advantage of opportunity when presented with it.

Hard work pays off.

It isn’t fun.

It doesn’t get recognition.

And if we want to hit our goals,

We can’t take any plays off.

Fern