Something you might not know about me is that I love finding nuggets of wisdom in our everyday life. The inspiration for this post came from watching my kids fail and succeed at basketball. From rec leagues to club teams to the school team, there have been a ton of opportunities for life lessons. In fact, I have ten basketball life lessons for you to think about.
The past few weeks I have spent A LOT of time sitting on uncomfortable bleachers. Uncomfortable and often dirty bleachers.
Why, you ask?
Because I am a sucker for signing my kids up for every sport they want to play and even some they don't! You might not know this about me, but growing up I wasn't allowed to play sports. Depending on the day, we weren't allowed to watch sports either. Now I love watching a good game and I especially love watching when my kids are playing!
Here are ten of the best life lessons I have learned from watching my kids play basketball.
Basketball Life Lesson No. 1:
You miss 100% of the shots you never take.
I have been thinking about this one A LOT over the past few months. My oldest has played basketball since she was 6 years old. She is now a freshman playing on her high school team. She plays smart, is aggressive and has a ton of assists in every game.
BUT SHE WOULD NEVER SHOOT THE BALL!
She has my curse - she's a perfectionist afraid of failing. She had it in her head that if you couldn't make all your shots then you were a bad basketball player. Instead of taking open shots, she would pass the ball. Day after day, week after week she would practice her shooting. She would make lay-ups and jumpers and free throws over and over again in practice.
Game after game she would walk off the court with points scored by her - zero.
Day after day, game after game we would try to encourage her and our mantra became:
You Miss Every Shot You Never Take. Even if you only made 30% of the shots you took, that's still more than zero.
This season she is on a team where she has to get out of her head and take the shot. She couldn't wait for the perfect opportunity or until she felt ready. She had to take shots because her team needed her to. And guess what, she no longer walks off the court frustrated by her crippling fear to take action.
Now she walks off the court with her head held high knowing she left it all on the court.
As I have watched her struggle with this I can't help but see how often I do this in my own life. I read up on everything there is to know about having a successful business. I buy course after course learning everything there is to know about design, photography, and business. But at the end of the day, I wasn't blogging. I wasn't posting to my social media accounts. I wasn't building my dream.
That ends today.
What risk are you avoiding? Are you keep talking about doing something scary, but not following through on? What if you just took the shot?
Basketball Life Lesson No. 2:
Practice is the ONLY way to get better.
Wouldn't it be nice if one day you woke up and were Michael Jordan level awesome at basketball?
How about if you picked up a paintbrush for the first time and created Picasso level art?
Imagine how incredible it would be to lace up those running shoes for the first time and can run for hours.
I mean, I wouldn't be too upset if that were possible.
But the reality is, none of those things are realistic. If you want to be great at something you have to put in the work. There are no shortcuts to becoming a great basketball player. There are also no shortcuts to achieving success.
If there is something you want to get better at, you have to practice it EVERY.SINGLE.DAY or as close to every day as you can.
Basketball Life Lesson No. 3:
The BEST way to grow is to get uncomfortable.
To be a great basketball player you need to do two things. The first, practice as often as possible (ideally, every day). Second, you have to play in games. Not only do you need to play in games, but you need to play in games against people who are better than you. Why? Simple. When you play in a game against people who are better than you, your strengths and weaknesses get exposed.
When you put yourself in a position to see your strengths and weakness then you get clear on what you need to work on.
How does this play into life? I think that too often we get complacent in our life. We get comfortable and we stop pushing ourselves to be better.
Basketball Life Lesson No. 4:
No Matter how PERFECT you play, things don't always go your way.
There is nothing more frustrating than taking a beautiful shot, only for it to not go in. Yesterday, my oldest played in an exhibition game where she took at least 10 shots, if not more, and only 2 went in. There wasn't anything she did wrong. They all looked great. They just didn't drop.
In a game when the shots aren't going in, the players try something a little different. They might get a little closer to the basket. They might try to shoot from the other side of the court. Or they might pass it to someone else who's shots are dropping.
How often is life like. You feel like you are doing EVERYTHING right, but nothing is going your way. When that happens, the best thing to do is keep doing what you know is right, but try making slight adjustments. Try looking at your situation from another angle. Focus on the good things you are doing and keep on going.
Basketball Life Lesson No. 5:
Everything can change in an instant
You know the saying, it's not over until the fat lady sings? In sports it's more like, it's not over until the clock runs out.
No matter how far ahead you are, the other team can always catch up. No matter how far behind you are, you can always catch up. I have seen teams go from being down by 15 points an entire game, then win it with a buzzer beat and 1 second left in the game.
You can never get too comfortable and you can never quit fighting.
Basketball Life Lesson No. 6:
One Bad Game DOES NOT Define You.
Every single athlete has a bad game now and then. Even the greatest players of all time have off games. That doesn't mean they are bad athletes - it means they had a bad game.
One bad decision doesn't make you a bad person. One failure does not define you. One bad day, week, month or year does not define you. We all have off times, we all have off days. It's what we learn from those moments and how we react to them that defines us.
Basketball Life Lesson No. 7:
Be Careful of the Advice You Listen to
Let's be honest. Not all advice is good. How do you know if the advice you are receiving is worth listening to? Check the source. Need I say more?
Basketball Life Lesson No. 8:
Excuses or Blaming never wins the game.
If you have ever watched a basketball game you know how frustrating it can be when the refs make "bad calls." Every time my kids or I start complaining about the refs, my husband piped in by saying,
"The refs might be making bad calls but you've got to outplay the refs."
At the end of the day, you have to outplay your excuses. You have to be hungrier, work harder and take responsibility for your game.
In life, it's easy to blame others for your misery. It's easy to make excuses for why things aren't working out. But at the end of the day, if you want your life to be better you have to stop blaming others and making excuses. You have to be hungry enough to change or it's never going to.
Basketball Life Lesson No. 9:
Be a TEAM PLAYER because no one likes a ball hog!
I don't know if there is anything that drives me more insane than a ball hog. You know the player who refuses to pass to another player. The player who tries to single-handedly win the game. Basketball is a team sport. It takes a team to be great.
Life is also a team sport. We aren't meant to do everything and be everything all the time. We all know people who are control freaks - who refuse to let others be in charge. Who refuse to delegate. As a former control freak, let me gently suggest that you let others take control every now and then. Ask for help. Delegate. Include others in the decision and you will see how much better life can be.
Basketball Life Lesson No. 10
You Always Have Room To Grow
No matter how great you think you are, you can always get better. Even the greatest players of all time have to practice and work on improving their game.
No one in life is perfect, we all have to work on becoming better people every day. If you aren't moving forward, you're moving backward.
Now I want to hear from you! What lessons have you learned from being a parent and watching your children play a sport?
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