If you're reading this blog, you want to improve. That's what I love about my readers! They have that burning desire to keep getting better.
So, in honor of you all, here are 7 things you can do to avoid being average.
1) Step outside your comfort zone
It's only by extending ourselves and exploring new terrain that we really see what we're truly capable of. On the basketball court, this means many things.
1) When you're training alone (outside of team practice), try out new moves, drills, footwork etc.
2) Set higher standards for yourself. In your drills, instead of aiming for 6/10, aim for 7/10.
3) Push yourself mentally. Whether this means meditation, visualization, or some other form of mental training, keep sharpening your mind.
2) Tell yourself what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear
Hard truths are powerful but can be difficult to handle. It takes courage and strength to face up your own weaknesses. If you don't challenge yourself with honest self-evaluation, you'll never learn from your mistakes. And when those mistakes do appear, confront them, analyze them and learn from them.
For an example of when I failed miserably and evaluated my mistakes, take a look at this post all about my disastrous tour in China. I dive deep into the root causes of my poor play and how I can fix them in the future.
3) Don't follow the masses
By definition, most people are average. Logically, if you don't want to be average, then you can't be like most people. You have to do something different. In my opinion, this means being more disciplined, dedicated and willing.
When your friends decide to skip open gym and go to the beach, are you going to follow their lead? When all of your teammates are going through a drill at half-speed, will you go at game speed?
4) Do something different
Man, this quote really rings true with me. As humans, we tend to gravitate toward comfort and familiarity. But to avoid plateauing, you need to switch things up. Try training with a new teammate, searching for new drills on youtube, or simply changing up your routine every once in a while. These changes can be just what you need to climb out of a training rut.
5) Train the mental aspect of the game
Most people claim to understand how important your mindset is to performance. But it's truly shocking how many people don't train for it. I know tons of players who spend 2 hours a day on the court, but zero time training their mind!
Mental training can give you a substantial edge over your competitors. Consider Larry Bird. Not the fastest, the strongest, or the biggest but he always seemed to have the mental edge. The guy was flat out tough as nails. His mental dominance translated to on-court dominance.
For a great website all about mental training, check out http://www.positiveperformancetraining.com/
6) Don't let temporary motivation determine your effort
This is definitely one of my favorite quotes of all time.
Diving deeper, this quote says that motivation is fleeting (check out this post for more on why motivation isn't enough). There are some days when we're tired, exhausted, in a bad mood, or even just feeling off. When your motivation isn't there, are you going to give in?
That's what mediocre players do. If you want to be able to fight through those down days, you need to develop strong habits (part 1 and part 2 of my posts on habits). Those habits will sustain you when your motivation fades.
These days, people expect instant results. Our society facilitates this expectation by promoting fad diets and vertical jump programs that promise to "add 10 inches to your vertical in 1 week!" So that's what people have come to expect. At the first sign of adversity, or when progress is slow, they give up and think the program must not be working.
Be different than the masses by committing to follow through with a plan or program in the long run. Remember, true progress is neither smooth nor instantaneous. Expect obstacles and adversity and continue to push forward.
The Takeaway: There's nothing wrong with being average. But if you're like most of my awesome readers, being mediocre is the last thing you want. I promise you, If you make it a goal to do these 7 things, you will not be mediocre.