"Can you give me some tips or advice to take my game to the next level?" This is the number one question I get through my email and Twitter. Given such a broad question, it is almost impossible to pinpoint one area to focus on, but I always answer with two essential ingredients: work ethic and desire. They will determine how far you go on and off the basketball court.
Work ethic will get you to the door of success, but it is desire that will not allow you to quit until you achieve it. These twin forces create an insatiable will that can be summed up in one question: How badly do you want it?
If you truly want to reach your potential as a basketball player, no one should have to tell you to put up extra shots after practice or to finish your homework. In life, you get what you deserve, not what you need. What you deserve is predicated on the work and effort you put in. It's a simple equation.
I remember the summer of my sophomore year in high school, when my AAU coach bumped me up to the 17-and-under team. I had just nailed a game-winning jump shot to win a county championship, and my confidence was sky-high. But that summer I learned just how much work I had ahead of me, as I went head to head with players who were stronger, faster and quicker. After getting my shot blocked a couple of times, I realized that if I was going to be a great player, I had to develop a better work ethic in the off-season. That experience propelled me to go the extra mile, and I was rewarded with a All-State nomination, scoring title and Division I scholarship.
So, now that you know the two secrets to success, it's time to hit the court. Remember, there will come a time when winter asks what were you doing all summer. See it, be it, make it happen.
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