By Greg Kahler
The right attitude is a concept that permeates everything you do. We all bring our attitude to every situation. How do we walk into a room? How do we meet people? How do we respond to challenges? To adversity? The most important characteristic any of us have is our attitude. We don’t have a choice whether we’re going to feel good or we’re going to be tired. We can’t pick whether it is going to rain outside — or make things go our way. But, we do have a choice about what our attitude is going to be getting out of bed… coming into work… stepping into the gym. We have a choice and we’ve got to make sure that choice is a positive one in everything we do.
“If you think about how good you are as opposed to what the next challenge is going to be, then you’ve already lost. We have to stay humble…” -Jay Wright
In sports, just like in life, there are always new nuggets of wisdom, bold technological breakthroughs and advances in thought leadership. But there are three things that will always stand the test of time:
You control your Energy, Effort, and Enthusiasm.
Attitude is probably the most important aspect of the game. What is your attitude? All of us have a good attitude when things are going well, or when we are the stars of our teams and winning big games. But what’s your attitude when your team is losing? How do you react when the referees are making calls you don’t agree with, when your teammates won’t pass you the ball? How will you respond?
A good attitude is something you have to decide consciously to have. You have to be able to close your eyes and see yourself as the player you want to be under all circumstances. A good attitude is being calm under pressure; it is encouraging teammates at all moments. It is a requirement to be at your peak performance at all times. A good attitude is seeing yourself performing to your utmost under all sorts of adverse circumstances, and then, when those circumstances arise, actually doing it.
I recently heard a story out of the Minnesota Timberwolves organization. Cameron Reynolds, a former player at Tulane University. Reynolds began his play this last season for the Stockton Kings in the NBA G-League. He averaged 16 ppg in 33 appearances. The T-Wolves signed Reynolds to a 10-Day contract in February. Typically, when a team signs a player to a 10-Day they intend to play them a lot to evaluate them further. This wasn’t the case for Reynolds.
He played just 3 minutes in his 10 days scoring an outstanding 2 points. You’d think that an NBA organization would just move on from him. But, Coach Saunders wanted to keep him around for another 10 days. He got another shot.
By the end of his second 10-day he again wasn’t given much of an opportunity to show what he can do. So once again he believed his time in Minnesota was over. He was called into the General Manager's office. Sitting there was Scott layden (T-Wolves GM) and Coach Saunders. On the table was a contract to sign with the Timberwolves for the next 2 seasons.
How is this So? How does someone sign a multi-year contract and play hardly at all in his two 10-Day contracts? It’s really quite simple.
Cameron Reynolds was signed because he worked hard every day. He never took a play off. He was a good teammate. He made those around him better. He brought the right attitude every single day, and because of it, he fulfilled his dream and goals of playing in the NBA.
An important aspect is developing a proper attitude about the game. To become winners, we must recognize how important our teammates are. "United we stand, divided we fall!" We must stick together. We must work together on offense with good passing, looking for an open teammate. But don't be afraid to shoot! If you are open, take the shot. Part of being a good teammate is scoring and taking good shots! If you miss a shot, forget it...you'll probably make the next one.
Remember: there is no such thing as a perfect game! Michael Jordan has never played a perfect game...he has always missed some shots. So don't get down on yourself if you mess up. Just keep playing hard and things will work out. None of us are perfect...even the coaches!
The refs aren't perfect either... so expect a bad call or two and don't let it get to you. Parents, players, and coaches please understand this about officials. They have a difficult job. They’re not just responsible for observing and moderating the action in front of them at a fast pace. They’re also responsible for bearing the brunt of the emotions of a game that tend to boil over. On top of that, they have to be aware of their own emotions. Do you think an adult official enjoys being screamed at by a 15 year old kid who’s unhappy about a call? It’s a tough job. If refs make a mistake, they’ll get lambasted. If they do a great job, no one mentions them. Basketball is not a perfect game.
Being a good teammate is playing hard on defense. Go hard for loose balls and rebounds. Learn how to "box-out". Learn to set good picks (screens) on offense, so you can free up a teammate for an easy shot. Being a good teammate means coming to the game rested and playing as hard as you can. It means encouraging your teammates on and off the court. Together you can win!
The game gets easier when you commit to having this type of mindset. A coach should never have to hype players up to go play a game. Those players should be ecstatic to step out on the floor to play the game of basketball. That;s called competitiveness. That win won’t be handed to them. They have to be prepared to give 100% the entire game. But, they also have to be prepared to overcome adversity.
Adversity shows what players have the right and wrong attitude!