I noticed in basketball why I’m bad. I noticed why I was bad my sophomore year and got cut. I finally figured it out. I play differently in different situations. When I used to play 3 on 3 in my driveway with my friends I was confident. Every time I got the ball the first thing I would do is take a dribble towards the hoop. It was an assertive move. Sometimes after that first dribble I’d have a lane all the way to the hoop, others I’d pull up and shoot a jumper, sometimes I’d see a cutter and make a good pass.
I was the best guy on that driveway and it wasn’t even close most of the time. Then we’d go into the school and play 5 on 5 with all of the guys on the A team. The guys that everyone thought were the best basketball players in the town just because they always had been on the A team. And I’d know I was better than them. I’d compare what I would do in my driveway to watching them play basketball and there was nothing they could do to stop me. But that was just in my head.
On the court, I’d run around and only 85% wanting the ball at any given time. When I got the ball I’d take a soft dribble away from the hoop then pass it off. When I’d shoot I’d so wondering if I took too many shots or self consciously counting my percentage to make sure I wasn’t draining the team down. I think it all comes down to that first dribble. When I had the mindset of first dribble goes decisively to the hoop, the whole game opened up. I was aggressive. I made things happen on the court. When my first dribble is just a casual dribble away from the hoop that lets me take a slow step and lets the defense set up and then I pass the ball the whole game changes.
Of course I want to be good at basketball, but more than anything this feels like a big analogy. If I can train my first dribbles in life to be towards the hoop, I’ll be effective and create and make wonderful things happen.