I started playing basketball in the 9th grade and I wasn’t very good. I had no coordination and could barely dribble and run at the same time. I couldn’t make a layup.
I kept working and kept getting better but throughout most of my years I sat on the bench. I think part of the reason for that was my typical way of wanting to define my own thing rather than play in someone else’s system – I was tall and wanted to play outside and our high school coach wanted a big tall guy to play near the basket all the time.
But the other part was that I wasn’t outstanding at what I did. I didn’t even know what would make me outstanding – I didn’t have that concept in my head. I could shoot from the outside really well but I couldn’t dribble the ball great so it was easy for little guys to take it from me and I’d get out of breath easily (although that was a problem our entire team had).
If I could go back and coach myself I’d make myself do the things I didn’t like more of the time. I’d have made myself run every day and constantly practice dribbling. Only then would I let myself practice the fun part of shooting.
I’d teach myself that I can improve in areas that I don’t like by just sticking with them every day. I’d build the confidence that I could out run, out shoot, and out dribble anyone. And I’d be good enough that it wouldn’t matter what system the high school coach had – he’d have to take notice and if he wanted to win he’d have to play me.