I have had this in my files for a while…
Being a basketball player does not imply merely wearing the uniform and just being a member of a squad. There are many more important phases to think about if you want to be a winner not only in basketball but in life as well. Ask yourself these questions, and answer them honestly.
1. Are you coachable? Can you take coaching? Can you take criticism without ever looking for an alibi? Are you a “know it all”? Will you always do your very best to try to improve?
2. Are you possessed with the spirit of competition which fires an intense desire to win? Does it bother you to lose?
3. Are you willing to practice or do_you want to practice? You must want to work every day with the same zeal, speed, and determination you use during a ball game. Do you have two speeds‑‑a Practice speed and a game speed? The great playes of the past were the ones who had one speed, and it was the same every day, every practice, every game. If you loaf and cheat in practice, you will loaf and cheat in a game.
4. Are you willing to make sacrifices? Conditioning to play is not fun. It is stark punishment at times. Training is exacting; the responsibility is heavy. It is rough and includes personal denials in order to remain in tiptop condition, but it has its rewards. You thrill with an inner glow that reflects a feeling of happiness when you are able to dive and save a ball from going out‑of‑bounds. The only way for you to remain in good shape is never to get out of it.
5. Do you have an ardent desire to improve? Will you practice the things you cannot do three times longer than the things you can do? Are you willing to put in long grinding hours, concentrating on a skill until you have perfected it? Are you eager to work so diligently at the skills you lack that they eventually become your strongest assets?
6. Do you have the ability to think under fire? Can you concentrate on the work to be accomplished at the moment? Can you shut out from your mind a previous failure, success, rule infraction, or personal insult in order to give undivided attention to the offensive and defensive maneuver in the here and now? Games are not won by yesterday’s score, but by what is happening now, at this moment.
7. Are you willing to be impersonal‑toward your opponent? Do you shut out all personal feelings about your opponent except to beat him as often and quickly as you can, in accordance with the rules? Our experiences have taught us that the moment a player becomes personal he plays only to release individual grievances and ceases to play basketball as a team member.
8. Are you willing to study just as hard as you did before coming out for basketball? Basketball was never meant to take the place of studies. The athletic tail must never wag the academic dog. If you must eliminate something from your schedule, it must not be study time. First things come first, and your academic growth is of paramount importance.
9. Do you believe in your school, your team, and your coach? Your school is as good as you make it. Your coach is a genuine employee of your school given the responsibility of coaching, not his team, but your team. Are you willing to work toward that spirit of oneness so that everyone possesses the feeling of belonging through their contribution? Will you keep uppermost in mind that when a coach blisters the team with criticism his remarks are never meant to be personal affronts? The only intent is to pressure you to want to correct your mistakes so that success for everyone results. Despite his scathing remarks he loves all of you as if you were his very own.
10. Will you strive daily to improve your muscular coordination and speed. Basketball is a game of movement and daily drills will tend to speed up your reaction time. Speed and coordination are necessary ingredients in a winning combination.
Finally, remember this saying: Hard work guarantees nothing, But lack of it does.
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