Monday, February 6, 2012

My Time

Jumper vs. La Roche.

  Basketball's a team sport, yes. And having unselfish, team players will always be the centerpiece of a successful team.

  Every once in a while, you need to put the focus back on yourself. When your team is struggling, it's very easy to start pointing fingers; to get caught up in what you feel your teammates are doing (or aren't doing), what plays your coach is calling (or isn't calling), and what calls the refs are making (or aren't making).

  But at the end of the day, there is only one person you have complete control over, and that's yourself.

  My family has a series of favorite family sayings. I'm sure you know the ones. They've been repeated so many times, that you forget where they originated. One of those sayings comes from my Papa (at least I think it started with him!): 'take care of yourself, and it's a full-time job'.

  In other words, stop worrying about everyone else, and take care of you.

  It might not be the same context as he used it, but I think I can hear Papa telling me right now: 'don't worry about your teammates, don't worry about your coach, don't worry about the referees, don't worry about your opponent. Only you control how aggressive you are, how hard you're playing, and what kind of mentality you bring to the court every day.'

Help defense, or something.
  Like I said before, basketball is a team sport. It's one of the things I love most about it. Working together with your teammates towards a common goal. One person can't win a game by herself, and one person can't lose a game by herself. It takes a collective effort either way.

  If I wanted to play an individual sport, and only be concerned with myself all the time, I would have played tennis! But I love being a part of a team. It's a special atmosphere, and that's what has always drawn me to the game.

  Given that, what I sometimes have a hard time with, is finding that balance between a team mentality and individual mentality. I naturally am a 'team first' kind of player. Always have been. Throughout the years, I have discovered it is one of my greatest strengths, and it can be my greatest weakness on the court as well.

  I facilitate, instead of attack. I run the play, instead of making the play. I defer to my teammates, instead of leading the way.

  This week,the focus shifts back to me.

  In high school, our coach had us write individual goals before every game. And that is something I've done off and on throughout my career in Europe. I haven't done it in a while, but I think now is a perfect time to break out the game goals this season. It simplifies the game.

  What exactly do you want to focus on? I try to be as specific as I can. Sometimes I even break the game down into quarters. I remember reading Michael Jordan's Rare Air years ago where he simplified scoring 32 points a game. It's easy: eight, eight, eight, eight. Only to MJ, I guess.

  So we're shifting mentalities. Not to being selfish, but to getting the job done. And with the shift, I'm hoping to turn the season around. Cause what I have been doing isn't working. My team has lost four straight games, and I have been less-than-stellar on the court. Looking forward to a great week of practice, and
getting back on the right track!

...fitting song for me right now below.

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