One of our discussion points with our team this past week is their ability to maximize their workouts. Not just the individual workouts with the coaching staff but those workouts on their own -- unsupervised. We have stressed the concepts of "deliberate" and "intentional." Don't just roll to the gym and jack up some shots -- have a plan before you leave your apartment...a goal to accomplish during your time on the court.
I read somewhere this past week that Kobe Bryant would go to the gym and work on the same shot or same move for one complete hour...deliberate...intentional...that's how you grow towards mastery of your skills.
Whether its a summer workout or even practices during the season -- how much better would a player be if they mentally and physically prepared for a practice. If they made sure they had the proper rest. If they were following the correct diet. If they got there early and actually took time to map out some objectives for the workout. And if you could get a majority of your players dedicated to pre-practice preparation, you'd be well on your way.
There's an old Adidas video with Bob Knight where he talks about preparation -- and he's referring to practice preparation. He speaks about when the ball is tossed up, everyone wants to win. But the successful players are those that want to win "the day before, and two days before and three days before, because the will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win."
Most players however think preparation is solely directed towards readying for your next opponent. But tremendous improvement can come about by being deliberate and intentional in your summer workouts and preparing for practices during the season.
As Jay Bilas wrote in his book "Toughness" --
"If I could go back and be a player again, one area in which I would strive to be better would be my daily preparation. I would take more time to mentally prepare myself for practice. It would have made me a better player if I had consistently taken the extra time to mentally prepare myself and focus on what I expected to get out of that day's practice, and to mentally preapre myself to truly compete that day from the first drill to the last."