Basketball is Psychology LII
“If you use your sport to make you a better person, you’ve won.”
- Dan Jansen
What’s a stake?
I don’t want you to get to the end of this season feeling like you just wasted a season. I don’t want you to go through this season just trying to “get through” each day. After you get through all the days this season, then what? Instead, how can you view each day as an opportunity? How do you make the most of the season when things aren’t ideal? This season is different, but it doesn’t have to be a wasted season.
How Society Keeps Score
We live in a society that values and rewards results.
Our society keeps track of:
Wins and losses
How many points you scored
If you started
Personal awards and accolades
The problem is, especially during this Covid season, a lot of that is outside of your control. Society pays a lot less attention to things within your control such as your work ethic, character, and attitude.
What if you redefined success? Society’s definition of success is winning, starting, scoring a lot of points, breaking records, and getting awards.
Our society believes winning is everything. But what happens when the games get cancelled? What happens if you get injured? What happens if there isn’t a championship to play for?
By society’s standards, success would be impossible in those circumstances, which makes no sense. That’s why we have to redefine success.
Society promises that if we win, score a lot, and set new records, then we’ll be happy. We tend to believe if our circumstances were better, then we would be happy. The problem is, it’s never enough. No matter how good or bad things are, we always wish they were better. Even if you score 50 points, you will still think about the shots you missed and how you could have scored more. Even if you win all your games except for one, you will still be thinking about how you could’ve won that game and had an undefeated season. Society’s definition of success never satisfies us or brings us lasting joy because we always want more.
We have to redefine success to something we can control and something that will bring us lasting joy and fulfillment.
We surveyed hundreds of coaches and players and asked the question, “What is the hardest part about playing/coaching in the midst of Covid?”
The most common answer: uncertainty.
Some don’t have a season at all. For some, you show up every day not knowing if there will be a sudden shutdown or cancellation. There is a lot outside of our control.
It’s tempting to simply want to “get through it.” If we’re honest, I think a lot of us have been wishing this season away. How many times have you heard, “I can't wait for all of this to be over.”? What if this goes on for a lot longer? Will we continue to wish our days away? For some, this is the last season of basketball they will ever play.
How do you make the most of this season?
What’s more important than winning, breaking records, and getting awards? Who you become in the process.
There is something each of us still have control of that can allow us to keep getting better and even enjoy this season: character.
The Only Way To Win
In his book The Only Way To Win, Jim Loehr writes, “Here’s a powerful way to become more focused on the present and to avoid constantly postponing happiness until the world around you improves. Simply ask yourself, If this is as good as it will get for me, how can I find a way to enjoy this time in my life, this very moment, as it exists right now, without change?”