Feeling stuck and disappointed might be the best thing that ever happens to you

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I got an email from a player named Mike last week that basically said “I’m soooo frustrated that I’m thinking of quitting bball. I feel like no matter how much I train I just never improve that much. Help!”

Here’s the response I wrote to Mike. It’s worth reading because the feelings that Mike is expressing are something we all go through at some point in our career and something we need to learn how to manage.

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Tortoise and the Hare

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Look at the big picture

The story of the Tortoise and the Hare originated 2500 years ago but is even more relevant in today’s age of instant gratification than it was when first written. With Google, cell phones, movies, email and Twitter (to name just a few), we are surrounded by cultural forces that condition us to expect nearly instantaneously results.

Although we live in the world of the Hare, when it comes to developing good athletes, we need to start channeling the Tortoise.

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How to improve your ability to quickly read on-court situations

There have been some really interesting studies in the last few years that have examined what exactly is going in the brains of elite performers. What scientists have discovered can directly help you improve your basketball game.

In one of these experiments, pictures of various volleyball situations (I know…volleyball…but stick with me because the conclusion is what matters) were flashed from a projector onto a screen. The pictures showed real action shots of players on the court. In some of these pictures the volleyball was visible, while in others the ball had just left the frame and therefore didn’t show up in the photo.

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How to bridge the gap

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The Dream

Imagine for a second that you’re playing in the NBA. You’re one of the best shooters in the world and you’re tearing up the league.

What is your game like? How does it feel to move like this? What does your shot look like? Really try to picture and feel what it’s like to score against some of the best players in the world.

The reality is: you’re not there yet. You’ve still got a long way to go.

Bridging the gap

Obviously there is a big gap between what you’re capable of right now and what you just pictured. The multi-million dollar question is how do you bridge this gap? What’s stopping you from performing like this?

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How to be quicker without rushing

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I have to admit that it took me a LONG time to develop a quick release. Years.

While I may not have understood exactly how important Split Seconds are at that time, it’s not like I didn’t realize that being quicker would help my game. So why did it take me so long?

Every time I tried to speed up my release, I felt like I was RUSHING my shot.

I’m sure you know that feeling. When you try to do something a little quicker than you’re used to, instead of speeding up you become clumsy, lose all smoothness, and paradoxically, often execute slower.

I wanted to get quicker, but every time I tried, I felt like I rushed my shot. Rushing never works for a jumpshot…so I was stuck. Maybe this is where you are at now?

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The science behind what makes Lebron the best in the game.

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Most people would agree that Lebron James is the best player in the game today…but have you ever thought about what makes him so great?

At first glance it might seem like his superior strength and explosiveness, his general athleticism, are what make him the best. The guy is a physical specimen.

However, when you break down the little things he does on the court, like the guys from ESPN’s sports science have done in this video, you see that there’s a lot more subtlety to Lebron’s game than his 40+ inch vertical.

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Why we fail to produce more truly skilled players.

10,000 hour rule

Becoming an elite player is about developing great habits, and then practice, practice, practicing (10,000 hours) until they become automatic.

The reason most young athletes don’t develop into great players isn’t lack of desire, or talent, or even willingness to put in the necessary practice time…it’s that the way we train players is totally backwards.

Think about it! Young players with little knowledge of the game start “practicing” their skills. In this crucial stage of development, when his initial basketball habits are formed, the player has virtually no idea what really makes the difference between success and failure. Read more