Spending 30+ years as an athlete has taught me a few things about sports and the game of basketball in particular. I played professional basketball for 17 years and probably could have tacked on another 2 years had it not been for a few nagging injuries near the end of my career. As I moved up in levels, from a gangly high school basketball player to waving goodbye to the crowd for the last time with eyes filled with tears 20 years later, I always wondered…why me? I was very fortunate to live my dream for such a long period of time and I know, for a fact, there were many basketball players more gifted, talented, and skilled that never played a single minute of professional basketball. I used to believe I was the chosen one or that I was special. As I have gotten older, and less arrogant, I have studied and researched why some athletes ( even athletes with less talent and potential on the surface ) can reach and thrive on the highest level and realized there is one common trait that all professional athletes and professional individuals have in common. That trait is RELENTLESS EFFORT. From an 11 year old student at a basketball academy or basketball camp to a 10 year NBA veteran making 20 million dollars, having relentless effort is the most important skill that any athlete, young or old, must have in order to succeed. I will give you 3 ways to jumpstart this process in your child, and believe me, having relentless effort can be the difference between being an average basketball player…or playing basketball at the highest level!
#1. Find a Mentor
I have this at the top because it is the easiest and best ways to model success and relentless effort. With the explosion of social media in the last decade, you are able to instantly engage with almost anyone with a few keyword searches. Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and many other NBA and NCAA players have social media accounts that are open to the public. It is extremely easy to follow their daily activities and workout regimens and get a clear idea of what they do and how they do it. If there is something you have a question about, reach out and get a better understanding. In an article by Entrepreneur on the best ways to find a mentor, they wrote, “Never lead with an outright request, however; get to know your hoped-for mentor first; and, if you can, offer something of value to begin the relationship.” Something of value can be small, like a compliment, that goes a long way. You can also get more than enough information by observing. Professionals are more than willing to give you helpful resources for free. Especially, if you say its for the kids ( hint hint )
#2. Prioritize activities
One of the biggest issues I see when it comes to building up momentum to have relentless effort is prioritizing your child’s daily activities. Even a 10 year basketball player needs to manage or have their time managed to a degree. Lets face it, as kids we all wanted to play games and have fun. If I had it my way as a youth, I would have played video games, played sports, and watched college and NBA basketball all day, every day. The realization…school, eating food other than pizza, babysitting younger siblings, and parents all get in the way of this. Although our children need to have some breathing room and not have life so tightly regimented, there needs to be a certain amount of structure. Relentless effort can be instilled at a very early age by having daily activities documented and monitored with a checklist of things that have been and need to be accomplished. This will build solid habits for goal setting and attainment. Prioritizing is and absolute must in having relentless effort.
#3. Become a sponge
Parents, teachers, mentors, and the entire community is a part of this. Teaching your child to be a sponge as early as possible is one of the most important parts of relentless effort. What is being a sponge exactly? Soaking up everything possible and using all of that information to discover and try new things. This is what relentless effort is all about. Learn. Do. Process. Repeat. Its as simple as that. The earlier you do it, the better you become ( at anything ) and the potential for success increases exponentially.
Are you ready?
The only way to know is to go out and start immediately. All of these tips can be done now. There is no time to delay. Relentless effort is not something that you are born with. It is something that is learned. Anyone can be relentless. Start taking steps towards having relentless effort today!