the edge of relying on your fundamentals

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This past Saturday, my daughter’s middle school basketball team played three basketball games.

On Saturday morning, her team played in a league game for their conference.  My daughter played very, very poorly.  She missed all shots, all her free throws and got beat on a defensive switch that lead to a basket and a foul by my daughter for a three-point play for the other team. The coach pulled her and sat her on the bench.  Her team lost this conference game.

She was very upset and had to change her attitude because her team was playing in the semi-finals in a holiday tournament on Saturday as well. She had to be mentally tough to make it through the day.

My daughter trains outside of her school team practices with basketball coach, Jacorie “JC” Benjamin.  Coach JC is the uncle of former Wisconsin Badger, now San Diego Charger running back, Melvin Gordon.

One of Coach JC’s teaching mantras is “Player’s Play.”

Coach JC teaches all his trainees the proper basketball fundamentals.  He insists the players feet, hands and body all be properly aligned for every single shot taken.  No exceptions.  These fundamentals are repeated over and over until they become muscle memory and are done without thinking.

All Coach JC’s athletes have to be mentally tough.  He also does not accept any athlete he trains feeling sorry for themselves.

On Saturday afternoon, my daughter’s team played a semi-final game in the holiday tournament.  My daughter played a little better, but not much better.  Her team won the game and earned the right to play in the final game for the tournament championship.

On Saturday night, her team played in the final game in front of a large crowd. The game went back and forth, was tied after regulation and went into overtime.  My daughter still was not playing very well.

During the overtime period, one of the girls on the other team was taunting my daughter and saying out loud “don’t worry about her, she can’t shot, all she does is pass.”

With just a few a seconds left in the OT, my daughter was passed the ball.  Her team was losing by one point.  The whole game rested on her shoulders.

Automatically, she turned towards the basket, squared up, set her feet and hands and completed a jump shot with authority. The shot was perfect, nothing but net.  The basket put her team up by one point.  Her team held on to win the game by that one point and the tournament championship. My daughter’s team received a large team trophy and all the girls received an individual trophy for being tournament champions.

My daughter hit the game winning shot under extreme pressure in front of a large crowd. She hit the game winning shot after playing terrible all day but changing her attitude and being mentally tough.  She hit the game winning shot after being taunted by the opposing team.  She hit the game winning shot automatically by relying the fundamentals she was taught by Coach JC.

So what is your edge of relying on fundamentals you have learned?

What kind of fundamentals have you learned in your life?

Have they been learned through sports?  Or have they been learned personally or professionally?

Have you learned your fundamentals well enough to rely on them during a high-pressure, crisis, or an emergency situation?

Have you learned your fundamentals well enough so they are now muscle memory?

Can you change your attitude, even when you are having a terrible day and show some mental toughness?

Can you respond in a positive way even if you are being taunted, criticized or made fun of?

If a middle school girl can do it, I know that you can….

Out There on the Edge of Everything®…

Stephen Lesavich, PhD

Co-author of the award-winning and best-selling book:  The Plastic Effect:  How Urban Legends Influence the Use and Misuse of Credit Cards.

Regular columnist: Positive Impact Magazine

Follow Stephen Lesavich, PhD on Twitter: @SLesavich

Copyright © 2016, by Stephen Lesavich, PhD.  All rights reserved.