Chase Your Fears…

Take-The-Shot

Fears…Everybody has them. Whether large or small, whether people admit them or not – at some stage in our lives everybody comes up against something or someone they don’t want to face.

A challenge that seems too great, something that takes you outside of your comfort zone.  Most peoples first reaction is to run away from the challenge because we’re taught to avoid confrontation and take the easy way out.

Stay in your lane.

Nobody need know that you really wanted to ‘make the team’, or ‘take the shot’ – just don’t say anything about it and let your fear of failure keep you on the sidelines from the outside looking in.  Right?  There’s nothing wrong with being ‘average’.  Right?

Success isn’t for everybody.

The thing is, when you start to accept this way of thinking you give yourself an excuse and an easy way out from accepting the responsibility of fulfilling the potential you were born with.  The truth is, everyone is born with the potential to be great.  Greatness doesn’t discriminate.  It’s in each and every one of us, but requires each of us to dig a little deeper within and begin to expect more for ourselves and more of ourselves.

Winning starts with beginning, and the first step is to be honest with yourself and face your fears.  The things that are stopping you from getting ahead on a daily basis.  The negative self-talk, listening to other people put you down and talk you out of pursuing your dreams.  Putting off until ‘tomorrow’ what should be done today.  Not doing the preparation and practise needed to achieve your goals, because it is uncomfortable or nobody else is doing it.  Shying away from stepping to the line to ‘take the shot’.  Thinking it is ok to just play the background while letting someone else step forward and take what you really wanted for yourself…

What you eventually learn in life is, once you start running from your fears, you will always be running from them in some shape or form, for the rest of your life.  After a while, it will feel like they are in fact chasing you!  The challenges you will face are unavoidable if you really want to get anywhere worthwhile.   To get to where you want to go, you’re going to have to dig deeper and face your own personal ‘demons’ that are stopping you from progressing.  Address your weaknesses and turn them into strengths, through consistent effort and a genuine desire to really want to get better at what it is you do.

Persistence beats resistance and persistence comes from a starting point that ‘refuses to lose’.  You will not give in to the fears that have been holding you back before.  Today is a new day and you get to be who you want to be, starting from today and will not give in to the fears of yesterday.  With a change in mindset you not only face your fears, but look to take them on one on one.

When you start to tackle your fears, you actively take the next step towards breaking through to the next level in your life – whatever and wherever that may be.  On the court, in the classroom, at home, at work, in the community…

When you start to understand how important it is for your own self development as a baller on and off the court, you’ll realise that instead of running away from your fears, hiding from the challenges, in fact – they are the exact things you should be looking for to continue to push you forwards and toward your ultimate goals!  In challenging your fears and finding ways to overcome them, you are investing in yourself and getting better at what it is you do.  You get stronger, more confident, more skilled and more accomplished.

If these are the things that are going to feed your development and make you better – if these are steps on the ladder to your success – then don’t wait to face them, take a new approach and start to CHASE them!  Actively look for the challenges in your life and go at them as hard as you can, because whether or not you make the shot, get the grade, get the job or whatever it is you are going after – as long as you continue to push yourself and demand more of yourself and break through all barriers holding you back, you have no choice but to succeed.

It’s on you…

Dedication + Determination = Destination

Luol-Deng-Lead-PicMost people will say they want to succeed in something in life.  Maybe they’ll have a dream, a long-term goal or just a strong desire to either move from where they are, on to where they want to be.  From the outside looking in, many of the things we say we want in life look good and seem as if they would improve our lives in some way and perhaps make us happier.  There certainly isn’t anything wrong with daring to dream for something better in our lives.

The question is, when does a ‘dream’ become a ‘goal’ and move out of fantasy into reality?  When do we shift our focus from thinking ‘it would be nice if I could…(fill in your blank)…’ to ‘I’m going to…(put that same blank right here)’?

In life, you CAN have anything you want, provided you are willing to do the work, however you can’t have everything you want.  There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything, because true success comes from ‘mastering your craft’ and being a qualified ‘expert’ in your field which demands your time investment if you really want to be successful.  However, if you focus in on what it is you really want, above all else, and commit yourself fully to pursuing that goal, it is only a matter of time before you will achieve what it is you set out to do, providing you follow this very simple formula:

Dedication + Determination = Destination

Successful people will tell you, when deciding what it is you want to go after in life, to choose something you are passionate about.  This is because they understand the number of hours it really takes to become a ‘master’ of your craft.  It’s been estimated that it will take at least 10,000 hours of your time for you to become an expert in whatever it is you choose to do.

With basketball, 10,000 hours is equivalent to 6 hours of practise, 6 days per week, every week of the year for just under 5 and a half years.  That’s a lot of practise – which is why you need to be sure you are passionate about the game before you decide you want to dedicate yourself to becoming one of the world’s best.  If you decide it is something you want to do, be clear that you’ll be spending most of your time practising and playing basketball while many of your other friends are hanging out and doing other things.  It takes sacrafice and dedication and it’s not easy, which is why there are so few truly ‘elite’ players at the very top.

The only thing that will keep you dedicated for the necessary amount of time is your own personal determination.  What motivatesdraft-lottery you?  How deeply does it motivate you?  To reach the top, understand there are millions of basketball players across the globe who probably want the same thing you do – is your determination stronger than theirs?  Are you willing to put in more time than they are?  One day, if you commit to your goal, you will likely meet other players who are going for the same spot you are and it will come down to how strongly your desire and determination have been able to keep you dedicated on a daily basis towards achieving your goals.
You’ve got to be driven.  You have to find a deeper rooted motivation that refuses to lose and is willing to endure whatever it takes for you to get to where you want to be.

We always use the great example of Luol Deng, Britiain’s best ever player who made it all the way from Brixton to being an All-Star forward for the Chicago Bulls – universally recognised as one of the top 24 players in the entire world.  Luol completed an improbable journey that the statistics would suggest should never have happened.

While certainly talented, as a youngster Luol was not the most physically gifted athlete in London playing basketball.  There were other players who were considered to have better ‘raw talent’ than Luol, however nobody back then could ever have truly measured the depth of motivation and drive he had inside.  It would be easy to dismiss much of Luol’s success to him being ‘lucky’ to have the opportunities he has had along his way to the top – but to do so would be to miss both the lesson and the reality of his journey.

If you trace Luol’s basketball journey, the one true consistency you’ll find is his work ethic, dedication and determination are second to none.  He has simply outworked his competition at every level he’s played at and has been driven to continue to achieve more.

Luol lives in the gym, and is always working on strengthening his game.  As a youngster, while others were hanging out, or relaxing, deng7_050721Luol was busy working on ways to get better.  He invested in his game each and every day, so when the opportunity came for him to impress and make the jump from Brixton to Blair Academy, he was ready.

When he got to Blair, he played on the same team as another future NBA player and highly regarded talent, Charlie Villanueva.  It would have been easy for him to settle for being a ‘good player’ on that Blair team, behind Villanueva, and be content with earning a decent scholarship to go to college, get his degree and transition into ‘regular’ life.  However, Luol’s drive was about being the best he could be and not only making the NBA, but being amongst the best once he got there.  It was his drive that got him up each and every morning while at Blair for workouts before school in the early hours, and kept him in they gym after practise – always working to improve.

Luol earned ‘All-American’ status while at Blair, which recognised him as one of the top 20 high school players in the country and was eventually ranked as the second best player in all of America, only behind Lebron James (who could go down as the best player of all time once all is said and done).  Highly recruited by all the major colleges, he decided upon Duke University – arguably the top college basketball program in America, giving himself another huge challenge to meet, if he was ever to succeed in such a pressured environment.  However, Luol’s immense belief in himself and his skills, which have been naturally developed from the tens of thousands of hours he invested in himself on the basketball court, drove him forward with confidence that not only could he survive at Duke, but he would indeed thrive.  When you do something over and over and over again, it ultimately becomes ‘second nature’ to you and your confidence in your ability to do it upon demand grows beyond anything you could ever imagine.

Once in college, Luol was simply sensational at Duke.  As a rare freshman starter, he averaged 15.1ppg along with 6.9rpg –  leading the Bluedevils to the NCAA ‘Sweet 16’, while displaying the most complete set of skills of any freshman in college basketball.  In just one season, Luol rose from being a highly touted high school player to being considered a NBA draft first round ‘lock’.

Luol went on to be drafted with the 7th pick in the first round of the draft, by the Phoenix Suns who then traded him on to the team who had their eyes set on him all along, the Chicago Bulls.  Since joining the Bulls, Luol has been their most consistent performer and best two-way player over the past 9 seasons, regarded by many coaches and general managers in the NBA as one of the best wing defenders and all-around players in the entire league.  For all of his hard work, Luol has been rewarded as a two-time NBA All-Star, recognising him as one of the biggest stars on one of the top teams in the NBA.

Behind all the success, Luol is still deeply driven and determined to get better and remains the most dedicated British player in the history of basketball, as evidenced this season where he is averaging career highs in points (19.6ppg), assists (4.1apg) and rebounds (7.1rpg).  There have been some outstanding British players over the years, but nobody has been more dedicated and determined to succeed than Luol Deng.  Luol is the perfect example of where drive, work ethic and dedication can lead you if you commit fully to your goal and are willing to put in the hours and hard work necessary to be the best you possibly can be.

Thought Of The Day: Greatness

Picture courtesy of www.kevincouliau.com

Rare Air: Inside The Mind Of Michael Jordan

The greatest player in the history of the game.  This revealing video brings you into the mindset, competitive greatness and preparation that went into creating the legend that is Michael Jordan, as told by his trusted trainer Tim Grover.

The message is clear, winning takes place in preparation.  Never be satisfied with where you may be at any given time, as you always have the opportunity to get better.  Take a look at where you are right now, do an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses and commit yourself to turning your weaknesses into strengths.  All things are possible if you dedicate yourself to to daily practise and continually challenge yourself to improve.  If you don’t know what your weaknesses are, ask your coach or a coach you may have played against.  Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism, understanding where we are weak is the first step to becoming stronger, getting better and improving in all we do.

Remember, your competition is working hard to take your spot or keep you from taking their spot, the only way you keep them off of you is by outworking them in practise and putting in the extra effort in preparation so when you face them in real competition, you’re ready to show them why you deserve to be a champion.

Basketball is like a bank – you can only draw out what you’ve invested in.  If that simple formula works for and applies to the greatest player of all time, it will work for you too.

Let’s get it…

 

Video courtesy of STACK.COM

Ray Lewis Visits London School of Basketball

London School of Basketball were honoured to host legendary Baltimore Ravens NFL star player Ray Lewis at the home of community hoops in the capital, The Regal. Lewis stopped by to talk with a group of lucky young ballers and share his story of inspiration, encouragement and motivation.

A living legend and Superbowl champion – Lewis is a rare breed of leader who inspires both young and old to reach a little further, try a little harder, drive a little longer and take responsibility for your life and where it may lead. Though he hails from a different sport, his character, work ethic and outlook on life are right in line with the LSB way of teaching and resonate in all walks of life.

Take some time out of your day to watch this video – you’ll be glad you did.

Greatness in action.

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Reach & Teach aim to change the game for the better and we're driven by values that we believe build well rounded, positive, confident young people both on and off the court.