Lucius Seneca once wrote, “Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well-ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his company.” Reflection and asking yourself simple but necessary questions can be what turns you from a frail and frightened voyager into UTM’s athlete of the year. What is your self-talk, and who are you competing against when it comes to athletics? Do you take necessary components of someone’s abilities and transform it effectively to your own? How do you study the game? What sort of impact do you want to have? These are all simple questions Varsity Blues athletes answer often.
While you reflect on your sport or progression into a particular athletic capability, ask yourself the following questions. These can be modified for any skill or topic, not just sports. You can simply replace a specific sport with what you want to learn in a particular field—the following questions will still serve as a guide for your success. However, these questions are often asked of athletes, which is why they’re crucial to ask yourself when speaking with coaches or trying out for a team.
For this exercise, I’m going to personally reflect on how I can acquire a position on next year’s UTM men’s varsity basketball team and become UTM’s three-point king with a set of questions often asked of athletes.
Who is good at basketball despite being poorly built for it? Who’s good at this? Who shouldn’t be?
I’m going to take a look at Steph Curry of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. He is listed at 6’3 and 190 lbs. Among the enormous humans that play in the NBA, you wouldn’t expect this stature to be crowned the best of the best.
Who are the most controversial or unorthodox athletes or trainers in basketball? Why? What do you think of them?
Rarely do we see Steph Curry on the highlight reel for dunking. He’s selling tickets because of his long range three capabilities. Secondly, Dr. James Andrews is regarded as one of the most popular and well-trusted doctors in all sport. He treats the top athletes at the highest levels. He’s so well-known because he specializes in repairing damaged ligaments. Specializing your craft is the point here.
What makes you different? Who trained you or influenced you?
Some athletes succeed because of God-given talents, but many of the others, especially the ones who manage for extended periods of time, are individuals who got lucky because of who coached them in high school or college. Go and make your luck.
Have you trained others to do this? Have they replicated your results?
One of the better ways to learn how to do something effectively is to go up to someone who doesn’t know anything about it and teach it to them. For example, have you ever actually tried to break down your mechanics for your foul shot? Even if you have, you’ll contemplate it more once you’re working to teach a 10th-grade student.
What are the biggest mistakes and myths you see in basketball training? What are the biggest wastes of time?
Pregame rituals like music selection and your need for the perfect “swag” seems pretty irrelevant towards your performance on the court or field moments later.