No fear, no failure.

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This morning I was training in Westside community center with my U16/17 team like I do every Sunday. So we warmed up and we got into a close-out drill, defender on the baseline bounce passes the ball to the offensive player on the free-throw line and closes out. The first couple of times I was on offense I was getting away from my defender and I missed the tough layup every time. Then the third time I was thinking what adjustment can I make to get an easy layup. So as the ball was coming to me I said that I’d pump fake or jab step or something. Kelvin comes rushing at me, closing my lane to the basket. So I jabbed hard at him like my old coach Brendan taught me, and as quick as that Kelvin’s on his ass and i get the easiest of deuces. Perfect example of adjustment. 

Another time during the summer I was in westside again with my bestfriend and Kyle. The gym was free so we decided to get some shots up. After a while we decided to see how many shots I’d take before I’d made 25 threes (5 from each spot) and as I got to the the second last spot I wasn’t on fire or anything but I was shooting reasonably OK. Here comes the bad news. I missed like 10 shots in a row and I’d say it took about 72 shots for me to make five. Not once did I adjust my form, take a different shot. I just kept saying ‘It’ll work the next time’ being blatantly arrogant to the fact that my stubbornness and reluctance to do something different wasn’t getting me anywhere.

I’m pretty sure everyone reading this could put there hand up and agree they’ve done, said or written something they knew deep down was wrong, but were scared to change it because it was something they had done before. 

I’ve always had this thing in the back of my mind that wearing lightweight basketball shoes was going to be the death of my playing days, and that wearing the heavier ones may sacrifice some speed and vertical but at least I wasn’t going to get injured. Well, two weeks ago Rory O’Neill gave me an old pair of adidas Crazy Light 1s that were too small for me. This is a BIG change for me and so far so good, no torn ACLs. 

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Were you ever in class and the teacher asks a question, and you’re pretty sure you know the answer, no one else says anything and you’re too scared to answer IN CASE you’re wrong. Ever been open from three but don’t shoot IN CASE you miss. Ever had your man on the ropes but don’t take that last crossover IN CASE you turn it over. Of course it’s completely normal to think this way, I assume everyone does and it keeps us all level headed but at times, people doubt themselves so much that they begin to decline at what they’re good at because they won’t put it to full use or improve on it. Self-doubt is in all of us and it holds us back. But there are times you’ve got to channel your inner JR Smith and tell your conscience and doubt to shut the hell up! Sometimes you have to adapt and when the teacher is about to answer their question no one else could answer take a stab in the dark and blurt out what’s eating you up inside. When you think your defender is going to reach the next time, crossover. Shoot the ball if your defender isn’t playing you fairly. Life is full of risks. Some work out and a lot don’t. Some are big, some are small. But it’s how you incorporate risk-taking and your past experience is how you up the percentage of successful risks. Like cycling a bike you going to fall down A LOT before you get going.

Melo didn’t led the league in scoring last year because he stopped taking shots he knew were low-percentage, he began to adapt and let the game come to him. It’s not like he didn’t have confidence in his shot, some describe him as over-the-confident, but I’d go more along the lines of smart.

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The thing is, all the greats in sport or life are those who aren’t afraid to fail. And they are the ones who succeed the most. Who improve upon what they are bad at and aren’t afraid to stand up and say they did something badly. Recently, Nelson Mandela passed away, I’d consider him the most  inspiring people to ever live, and I was shocked to hear this morning that when he first formed his political party, he wouldn’t even allow Indian people in it because he wanted it to be all-black. Look how far he has come. He united the black and white people of South Africa to stand as one race and one nation. 

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One of the biggest criticisms of the great Jason Kidd throughout his early career was that he couldn’t shoot. But when he began to slow up and lose his ability to get to the basket JKidd increased his range and became a formidable 3-point marksman. He is third in three pointers made, ALLTIME. And when I say he couldn’t shoot, he couldn’t shoot, AT ALL. 

I watched Blake Griffin play last night in a loss to the Cavaliers last night and a lot of the blame can be dumped on him. He looked stubborn and childish and he just wanted to do his own thing, and as we all know too well, all BG wants to do is dunk. It is easy to say that that’s all he does because it isn’t but last night the defense anticipated what he was wanting to do and stopped it. They bumped him and made him work down low and he couldn’t handle it. He finished with 10 points on 3-12 shooting and also got a technical foul for pushing Anderson Varejao with 2 minutes left. Good job Blake!!

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The main point I’m trying to get across is, is that if you’re surprising and do the unexpected then you’ll be exceptional. Of course not everything is going to go swimmingly and you’re gonna screw up when you try new things, but in the end of the day it’ll give you more funny stories to tell and laugh at when you’ve accomplished what you set out to achieve.

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Peace.

 

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