So, I am not a big basketball fan. Even though I have semi-height (6’3″), I never really got into the game. For reference, I’m taking these notes and writing the skeletal blog while I watch the Spartanburg Methodist College (SMC) men’s basketball team continue their streak as the only undefeated men’s team in the US.
SMC plays in the NJCCA – National Junior College Athletics Association, so some of these guys may be gearing up for D1 ball in the near future. Typically, a Junior College is a two-year program allowing college age men and women the chance to prepare before matriculating to a full four-year program.
The reason I am writing and watching is because I am picking up some of the intricacies of the game… I am standing above the small arena on the raised platform around the court. Standing over the SMC goal, I am seeing parts of the game I have never seen from the seats on either side.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post referencing Eric Thomas’ speech to a basketball team he was “coaching” (through motivation, not with whistle in hand). He spoke about how players put forth more effort and focus during the time they had the ball in hand compared to the pre-game preparation and practices. After seeing the game from this perspective, I can see where the “priors” lead to success.
College basketball lasts two 20-minute periods… those forty minutes are the end result of many weeks and months of practice and preparation with the player’s current team. This doesn’t take into consideration ANY of the little league, high school and travel ball these guys may get BEFORE signing with a college.
Days, weeks, months and years of preparation to be a part of a team. And, at this level, it is a work-in-progress for the select few hustlers that make it to Division 1 college ball, the NBA or one of the foreign leagues. Some are content with the success of gaining a college education – very, very few move onto the next level.
Halftime score: SMC 35 Cape Fear 24
On the court, the preparation takes center stage as plays are run, shots are taken and points are scored. It is almost a ballet for SMU as they seem to have a fluidity the Cape Fear team does not possess. The ball handler uses hand signals to direct other players into position… two or three positions ahead to make the shot count – or to set up someone to catch the rebound if the shot misses the target. Again, I have never seen the game from this perspective, so it is a refreshing take on the game.
So, mirror success… how much are you really accomplishing by only focusing when you have the ball in hand? Many people who work 9 to 5 jobs seem to clock out, figuratively, well before they literally clock out at 5:00 pm. There is no prep time at home, no reason to prepare for anything the next day… it’s all rote and mechanical. Even if you work for yourself – you cannot full utilize your strengths by only concentrating energy at your desk, or meeting with clients or arguing a case in the courtroom.
An entrepreneur is said to work 80 hours a week so he doesn’t have to work 40 hours a week… In the entrepreneurs mind, holding the actual ball and running plays is a very small amount of the work day. The other time is the off-court practice that goes in to make sure he has the chance to actually ever TOUCH the ball! This behind-the-scenes work is hardly ever seen by the client, the customer or the competitor. But, when put in motion, it gives you a sense of structure and a sense of stability when you do face the other person or situation.
Make it happen! No one can do it for you…
Back to the game… SMC won the game by 20+ points. One reason is they played together as a team more effectively than the opposing team. The coach put them through practices, mental and physical drills and conditioning to make sure they could perform for the 40 minutes when they actually had the ball in their hand.
Side note: this win gave SMC an automatic berth into the NJCCA tournament. It shows where prior preparation prevents poor performance (the 5 Ps of Success).