Is Hard Work Enough?

I’m sure a lot of you put in a lot of hard work. I’m sure a lot of you have heard about the 10,000-hour rule at mastering a new skill. Well if you haven’t, it’s basically the idea that it takes doing something for 10,000-hours to become an expert at it and to truly master it. For the sake of this post lets equate this to basketball and shooting.

Work hard and work smart

Let’s be honest putting in 10,000 hours at 1 specific thing really isn’t that hard to do over the course of years. So what separates you from everyone else that has put in those same 10,000 hours? If two players put in the same 10,000 hours on the same skill why is it that one of the two is SIGNIFICANTLY better than the other?  Both players have worked hard; you have to work hard to get that many hours in. But here’s the thing….the players go into the gym with a different mindset!

Let’s give these players names. Bruce and Mike. Let’s say that Bruce is a BALLER after his 10,000 hours with a jumper as sweet as Klay Thompson’s! Mike has all the flash and can talk all the trash, but he’s inconsistent and doesn’t always perform in the big games. The 10,000 hours matter; the 10,000 hours make you good. I want to talk about what it makes you elite. I want to talk about how you get to be the 1% and it’s way more than just “working hard.”

Let’s take a minute to look at what focused practice really is and what it looks like.

  1. Is your practice designed to improve your game performance? (This means it can’t be a bunch of “cool” new Instagram worthy drills every time you walk into the gym).
  2. There are drills that you will repeat often…like every single day often, no matter how simple or how boring they might be. You become great at the most basic things.
  3. You have someone giving you feedback. That is not a coach, trainer, or parent that just tells you how good you are. You need someone to break it down for you, be honest with you and hold you accountable for more than just working hard.
  4. The time spent during these practices may not always be super “fun.” They aren’t supposed to be; they should challenge you mentally as well; but that’s ok because you should be focusing on mastering your skills not just improving them.
Have a new mindset

So, going back to Bruce and Mike. Bruce has gotten so much better than Mike because he has applied FOCUSED practice to his 10,000 hours. It’s the concentration that sets the two players apart. Bruce was focused every time he stepped onto the floor. He got feedback from someone that was real with him and held him accountable. He worked every single day on mastering the basics. Bruce did all of the “boring drills” over and over again with the same passion everyday.

Mike, however, was always looking for a new drill. Mike got bored and didn’t want to do the same old drills. Instead, he wanted to just play pick-up with the guys or work on the latest new move. Mike hated having people give him real feedback; he found it was too negative and killed his vibe. So he just hired a trainer that told him he was dope all of the time and put his post workout dunks up on Instagram.

Still, Mike was a good player. He averaged 25 points a night on his high school team but he shot 30 times per game. He made the All-Conference team all through high school but his team never made it very far in the playoffs. It was March of his senior year and he had ZERO scholarship offers to play in college. Finally, he got a partial scholarship offer at the last minute to play at a Division-II school he had never heard of.

Bruce also scored double figures in high school. He averaged 17 points a game, but he took 15 less shots than Mike each game. Bruce also did more for his team than just score. He also made All-Conference, but his team made a deep run in the playoffs. Bruce impacted the game in other ways besides just scoring. He had over 10 Division-I college scholarship offers and went on to play at one of the best college basketball programs in the country.

The story might seem silly to you but I know for a fact it happens every single day.  The moral is that working hard is in fact a HUGE part of success, but it is not enough to make you elite or to get you to be the 1%!

If you want to truly be ELITE it is not enough to just show up and go through the motions. Trust me, average is easy but not very fun. Being good is easy and fun. Being elite and doing what it takes to separate yourself is HARD and a lot of days it isn’t fun at all! You have to show up and be mentally engaged every time you step on the floor. You have to do things over and over again that you may hate with passion and give it everything that you have. Every minute you are on the floor you are either practicing to be good or you are practicing to be the 1%; it all depends on YOU and YOUR mindset. 

Nobody wants to be average.  Everyone wants to be elite, but most people settle for being good, because they aren’t willing to do the things that it takes to get there.  They think working hard is enough. There are thousands of players who work hard. Are you going to do more than just work hard or are you satisfied with just being good?

We invite you to join the Hoops College community today to learn what it takes to be ELITE and surround yourself with other like minded players who are all trying to take their game to the NEXT LEVEL!

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