Before the game: This is it. This is your chance to prove yourself. You have been a great player, still are you believe. You are competitive, fast, smart, hard working, talented and hungry for the win. You need to stand out today. You hope to play better defense, maybe score more than the last game. You worked on the tear drop all week, that is a must do. The baseline shots are coming on pretty well too, that will be the order of the day. If only you could get that ball on every possession… You hope today guys will respect structure, as you like it when things are done the proper way, taking all rules and regulations into consideration. You can’t put in the effort and not ever get the payoff. You don’t want your hard work, talent and long practices to result in nothing.
During the game: Why is the level of competition so high though, it’s just a game! Anyway, too much pressure in the game. You doubt you can do anything without losing the ball or causing a turnover. You need to play safe. Catch and pass. Mike atatufungia. You hope the coach sees that. If you lose, at least you did not have any turnovers. Since you don’t score anyway, let the rest play. What if you play so well, get 30 points and get recognized? Won’t that be everyone’s expectations from then onwards? What if you can’t always play like that? You would be an embarrassment, much equivalent to a one hit wonder.
After the game: It was a good run. Maybe next time.
Verdict: Well, talented, fast, smart…so is everyone else. Even hungrier they are, they have no room for pointless thought. Will you just stop thinking and play? It doesn’t matter which team has the best or worst player, the final result hinges on the entire team. Not every player provides the same amount of influence on a competitive result, but that does not justify hiding behind teammates, lingering in their shadows. Success and failure are for the team to bear. You can rely on a teammate, basketball is a team sport after all but you must rely on yourself to execute. The burden of your performance lies on you alone. Every competitive opportunity is a chance to beat your personal best. You need to play for yourself instead of being concerned about what others think. One thing about fear of failure and worrying about negative social evaluation is that it makes you focus on all the wrong things. You think more about not making mistakes than ‘touching the line’ or completing the play hence not ever playing to your potential. Learn how to perform efficiently instead of perfectly. The idea here is that you do not have to be perfect to perform your best. Mistakes are a natural part of sports. Trust in your skills, you will play more freely. Mike won’t be there all the time. You need to step up. The world would be a much better place if you just played. Otherwise, repeat cycle.
The writer is a player in the Kenya Basketball Premier League. If you want to blog for us send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.