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Old 01-09-2013, 04:09 PM   #3
Rake2204
7-time NBA All-Star
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Default Re: Getting Into Practice

This is a great, great topic. I have very clear memories of those days where team basketball practice felt more like a necessary routine as opposed to being an excellent way to improve my overall basketball abilities. It's very easy to fall into that void of treating practice only as that thing you're required to live through in order to play games.

Personally, one of my biggest suggestions would be to remain very conscious at all times as to what the point of practice is in the first place. If you have a moment in the locker room, or in your car, or as you're stretching, remind yourself as to why you're there on the floor to begin with. What's the end game? Why are you practicing? What are you hoping to accomplish? What do you want to be? What do you want to make happen on the basketball court? What are your goals? A lot of things can happen in a person's life at this time of year, between school, homework, basketball, and a social life. As such, it can be easy to go from one task to the next without be truly cognitively aware as to why you're doing these things in the first place. That matter of action can often breed complacency.

Basically, always have a purpose and constantly remind yourself of that purpose. Do whatever you have to do to get to that level. I actually used to think of specific life thoughts and write them onto my hand in brief. They were usually personal and maybe exaggerated or childish, but they often got the job done. I'd reference specific people in my life who didn't think I was capable of certain things on the basketball court or specific moments where people made fun of me for something and I'd look at my hand while I was practicing to use those reminders as fuel to crank through the tough moments.

Another big one is competing with your teammates in everything you do. It's so cliche, but it works. I made a noticeable adjustment my junior year in high school. Instead of running sprints to get them done, I'd run sprints to try to beat my teammates. Instead of shooting free throws to get them done, I began shooting with our team's best free throw shooter and we'd compete every day to make the most. The payoff to these adjustments was subtle. I didn't begin running at twice the speed during games. But there were certain times where I'd complete a complicated, long, exhausting sequence and notice I was a lot less tired than 8 of the other guys I was playing amongst. I knew then that my hard work in practice was truly making a difference.

There's no doubt that staying alive in practice can be a fight. You just need to constantly find the means to remind yourself what's at stake and how you plan to accomplish what you came here to do.

Last edited by Rake2204 : 01-09-2013 at 04:12 PM.
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