How to develop the x-factor that every coach is looking for.
Every coach is looking for that special player out there that has something that sets them apart from the rest. Skills are important but it is by no means the end all when it comes to playing time or being picked for a team. In fact there are many skilled players out there in all sports that never make anything of themselves because they don’t have that x-factor to propel them to greatness. You can take anything I say with a grain of salt but I have been in the battles, I have gone through the ringer with coaches and I am now a coach myself. In my opinion this is what it takes to get that separation from the rest of your team and develop the right stuff.
Work hard. First and foremost you have to have work ethic and pride. This is no surprise I know, but how on earth do you acquire it? Some are born with this innate desire to be great but how is it learned? I have been known throughout my whole life to be a hard worker but I find myself everyday still fighting this battle. Fight being lazy in all aspects of your life. Do not let yourself do the easy thing because more often than not that is not what is good for you. Break each practice, each drill, each training session down and after each one ask yourself, did I work as hard as I can? If not don’t stress it, just come back the next time and give it everything you have. It’s hard to confront it and do your best but it will without a doubt pay off. The great thing about sports is working hard is fun because you very quickly reap rewards from it. Shooting shot after shot leading up to game gives you an immediate impact on the game because the ball feels great in your hands.
Study. Become a master at what you do best and work on your weaknesses. As a point guard you should know intricacies of not only your own offenses but all offenses. You should know every position from every play so you know how to teach and lead no matter the situation. This goes for all players and all positions. If you are great at driving to the hoop harness that talent and discover new ways to be more effective. Don’t just watch an NBA game but study it. Why did that team win the game? Who played well and why? College is even better to watch because of the time they have to study leading up to games it becomes almost a chess match. Read, watch and learn all you can on what you do and set yourself apart from the rest.
Lead. Become a leader in your family, team, school or work. Being a leader is twofold. So often we think of a leader as someone barking orders but this is not the case. In fact I think I’d state the case that someone barking negativity is the opposite of a leader and drags down the team. Yes as a leader you need to hold others accountable but only when they are doing things they should not be doing. Celebrate those who are working hard around you and let them know you appreciate their efforts. Lead with positive encouragement and stern criticism when teammates get out of line. Secondly, lead by example. No person will follow you if they don’t believe you truly represent what you are saying. Show them you can and will do what you are preaching by hopping in the trenches and working harder than anyone else.
Balance. Life is all about balance. Name anything in the world and I bet you for it to be successful balance needs to be in place. For all the effort you put into something you need the rest. You can’t dribble only to the right, then you have no left. You spend too much time with your friends and you neglect your family. Everything in life is about having the right balance and this comes with being a player as well. Maintain a mental and physical balance in your life and in sports.
Having the right stuff isn’t about how good you are, it’s the total package as a person and athlete. Everything stems out of hard work and doing the right thing. If you can always do the right thing and give it all you have you will end up on top. You will, several times, be knocked down but that is when you build your character. Get up and move forward.
Founder & Head Trainer, Roots Basketball
CEO, Roots Sports Academy