7 Life Lessons Learned from Basketball
As I mentioned in the
on The Importance of Maintaining
sports in general, are a great metaphor for life.
For example, in the course of a basketball game, many
analogies can be made to what transpires in a person's life. There are
the ups and downs, the endless challenges, the constant adversities and the endurance it takes to meet them head on.
The dynamics in the game of basketball very much
correspond to what takes place in life. As in basketball, so in life:
1. Learn and master the fundamentals of the game.
you can play the game of basketball you must learn the basics or
fundamentals - how to play the game, how to pass, to dribble, run the
court and shoot the ball. You have to develop the necessary skills to
play at an acceptable level. Lesson:
In life you
must also learn the basics. You must establish what it (life) is, what
to you and want you from it. You must then develop the requisite skills
and strategies for attaining it.
2. Be prepared both mentally and physically.
Elite athletes know that you can't function optimally or win games if
you're not prepared both mentally and physically. You must be in great
physical shape to withstand a long, grueling and demanding basketball
season. Equally important, you must have mental fitness. Mental fitness
includes a positive, willing and
. One without the other will not win
Being prepared mentally and
physically is equally essential in life.
3. Be unselfish and a team player.
Basketball is a
team sport, which means it requires contribution and co-operation from
every member in order to play well and win. Everyone must
together and fulfill their individual roles for the common good of the
great of a player that Michael Jordan was, he did not
win any championships until he learned to involve his teammates by
trusting them and distributing the ball.
In one of the highest scoring games of his career,
where he scored 63 points and set a playoff game record, his team lost
to the Boston Celtics. In a sport
individual greatness is in large part measured by winning a
championship ring, personal glory does not get the job done.
Lesson: So it is with life. Contribute,
co-operate and share.
4. Be alert and aware. Anticipate the play.
greatest players in basketball have all been credited for having
extraordinary court vision and awareness. Larry Bird, Magic Johnson,
Michael Jordan, and other great players knew exactly where everyone was
on the court, the other players' tendencies, and which plays would work
against the different teams. The ability to anticipate and be ready for
a play made them active, rather than reactive, players in a game. It's
one of the factors that separates the great players from good
Being conscious and aware in life
sets the stage for achievement.
5. If the plays aren't working, re-adjust the game
Every great basketball player knows that when your plays aren't working
you have to adjust, and then adjust some more. The varying strengths
and styles of different opponents require different tactics. You have
to be able to withstand and respond to whichever attacks an opponent
uses on you. Lesson:
Life presents us with many
challenges for which we must adjust our game plan.
6. Never give up on the play. Persevere.
characteristic common to the brilliance of Larry, Magic and
Michael was that they never gave up on a play. When they missed shots
they would be the ones to retrieve their own rebounds, dive for loose
balls, outwit defenders, and make every last second count (many times
it did). They were willing to do the small things that the statistics
didn't reflect. Many a dagger was thrust into an opponent's heart when
the outcome of the game seemed a foregone conclusion. Why? Because they
never gave up. Not on the play, not on the game, not on
themselves! Lesson: Persevere
. Never, ever, ever
7. Win more games than you lose, but accept
victory and defeat graciously.
No matter what sport you play,
you can't win every
game. In a 7 game championship series, two evenly matched teams often
win only one more game than they've lost. It takes blood, sweat and
tears to win a championship. If you give it everything you've got, no
matter what the outcome, you can walk away with your head held high.
Learn what it takes to win and come back and try again. Before they
won, Larry, Magic
and Michael lost many games and championships. Before they understood
what it took
to win, they had to learn to accept defeat.
with life. Everything will
not always go your way. There will be both losses and wins. If you give
everything your best shot and learn the lessons along the way, you will
come out a winner.
John Wooden Quotes
In Sports and in Life
Life Lessons You Don't
Learn in School