Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting Real About Winning

Versus Voiron.

  Our first game back from the Holiday break was a frustrating one. I was hoping my team, DMBC Dunkerque, would pick up where we left off in mid-December, and continue our winning streak. But those hopes were quickly put to rest.

  Granted we had a month break in between games, so rust could have only been expected. But there's a difference between rust, and work ethic. A difference between rust, and passion and intensity. A difference between rust, and the desire to win. And Voiron, our opponent, was dealing with the same 'rust'. So you tell me what the difference was ...

  When you spend 12 hours on a bus to get to a game, you want to, at the very least, make those 12 hours worthwhile by playing a good game. Of course, you PLAY every game to WIN every game. If you don't believe you can win the game, you shouldn't be on the floor. Now I'm not delusional enough to think you will win every game, but the possibility of winning every game is there. And the possibility of winning every game is there because you prepare over the course of the week of practice by working hard, and working intensely.
"By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail" -- Benjamin Franklin
  At the forefront of winning comes the desire to win. Everyone loves winning. There's no doubt about that. But the difference lies in who is willing to prepare to win. Preparing to win on the basketball court means practicing as if it were a game. You play in practice with the same intensity in which you play a game. You run just has hard, you chase down rebounds, you finish every play just as if it were a game. Sure it's not easy. But it's what has to be done if you want to be successful on game day.

  'Going through the motions', I think, is one of the worst phrases you can hear in regards to an athlete. That phrase indicates: lack of passion, lack of intensity, no work ethic, and not serious. And going through the motions is exactly what you don't want to do in practice. Going through the motions will not prepare you for the intensity of a game, and it will not prepare you to win.

  Playing basketball, whether it's in practice or in a game, has always brought me great joy. I think the things that have drawn me to basketball are the necessary cohesiveness, and the competitiveness. To me, there's nothing better that going out on the court with your four teammates, playing your hardest, and competing against the five players across the way.

Versus Voiron.
  Winning will not happen on its own, because, more than likely, your opponent loves to win just as much as you do. Especially at the professional level. Sure, sometimes you can get away with lacking intensity, or not working hard. Maybe you're just more talented than your particular opponent that day. But when talent is equal, it will be the preparation, the passion, and the work ethic that will push one team over the top.

  So here's my motivation for the rest of the season: I will focus on myself, and ensure that I am holding up my end of the bargain. Maybe that sounds selfish, but at the end of the day, I can only control one person: me. I will take every opportunity in practice to play my hardest, and try to bring up the level of intensity that way. We can continue to be mediocre, but that's not something I'm willing to do. The only way we will be successful, is if we play with more intensity, and our desire to win is higher than our opponent's.

  Winning will not 'just happen'. You have to put in the work first, and only then, will the results come.

  Make today a great one!


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