The hard work is essential

Watching the college basketball tournament during March Madness, it is the hard work that wins ballgames. As my high school coach often said, you can have a bad shooting game, but defense and rebounding can never take a day off.

This is also a metaphor for life. Hard work pays dividends, even if it does not get notoriety. In basketball, making it difficult for your opponent to score requires determination, focus and hustle. The same goes for rebounding. Holding your opponent to one shot and giving your team more than one by good rebounding, makes a huge difference.

In life, being prepared by doing your homework, anticipating questions, learning and maintaining machinery or software, planning your efforts and asking questions puts you and your team in position to succeed. As legendary golfer Gary Player once said, “I have found the more I practice, the luckier I get.”

In “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, he notes four attributes of highly successful people or groups. They are talented or smart enough, they are given opportunity, and they recognize and seize such opportunity. The fourth one is they practice, a lot. He noted about 10,000 hours of practice as a key threshhold.

So, think of that last differentiator. Maybe your talent or smarts are average, but you can be much better if you practice. And, that takes effort and hard work. Maybe your opportunities are fewer, but I have found opportunities come to busy and capable people. If you are not busy, learn something, study and make yourself better.

Getting back to basketball, I was not the best shooter or big scorer on the team. If I led a team in scoring, we were not very good. So, I worked my fanny off on playing defense, boxing out and rebounding, and being a good passer to our better shooters. Being a good teammate and playing to your strengths are essential. In basketball, there are five people and only one ball. Play well together. The best five players don’t win; the team playing the best wins.

Work hard. Put the time in. Play to your strengths. And, be willing to pass the ball.

7 thoughts on “The hard work is essential

  1. Note to Readers: In deference to my high school coach, he felt if we were in better shape, we could keep running when the other team got tired. To this end, if we did not play on the football team, we had run cross country – guess who the coach was. We also ran countless line drills at basketball practice – from the end of the court, we ran to the near foul line and back, half court and back, the other foul line…then the other end line and back. Suffice it to say, we were in good shape,

  2. Dear Keith,

    I’ve always wonder about those folks who aren’t willing to suffer the learning curve but want to be good at something right off the bat. Even with those who have talent in a sport like basketball, they have to work hard to maximize their skills. Then being very skilled at something, for example, playing an instrument, won’t do one much good if one is not a reliable team member which means developing good habits, like showing up at assignments on time, being ready to perform.

    How many have lost their chance to succeed because they played around with drugs or got mixed up with the wrong crowd.

    The moral of the story, is that being very talented isn’t enough but it’s a start and a gift, meant to be cherished and treated as the valuable gift that it is.

    Hugs, Gonda

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