Many of my athletes have heard me use the expression "he who has legs at the end wins". In sports, especially basketball and tennis, you need your legs to make shots. It's the player who still has his/her legs and can make shots and plays that will win in the end. One thing I have noticed lately is that a lot of players don't have enough endurance to go the distance. When their one to two things that they can do are gone cause they are tired, they just give up. Sounds a lot like life doesn’t it?
Life has a way of imitating sports. Life gives us challenges as we go. When we are faced with difficult, it’s not a something that always gets solved right away. As time goes on we can get tired of fighting the battle. Not everyone knows how to push through to the winning side. Some of the greatest lessons we learn in life come through adversity. Unlike sports, we don’t set out to practice difficult situations, they just seem to find us at the most in opportune times.
Sports on the other hand give us many opportunities to experience adverse situations. Every game we play provides an opportunity to face adversity. The difference between life and sports is that in sports we can prepare ourselves for any situation that come our way. Competition is the way we get the opportunity to put our skills to the test.
For many of the guys that I have worked with either as a trainer or life coach, I have have built in a big endurance test that can teach some lessons that go beyond the game of basketball, it’s called the 100pt game.
It's simply 1v1 played to 100 by 2's and 3's. You can break up the game into quarters first to 25, 50, 75 & 100) or halves (50 = halftime) or most of my guys do, just play straight through. The purpose of the game is to teach four things, endurance, pacing and mental toughness and competitiveness. These are the four things that I see that many of our young players don't understand too well. Here's how each area is addressed;
Endurance: Basketball is a marathon not a sprint. You can come out of the games blazing but you will find yourself running out of energy towards. Whether you are playing 32, 40 or 48 minutes, you need to be able to make it to the end. With the 100pt game, we start off by just playing one game. As a player builds more endurance, they can try to enter the 2x100club (2 games) then the 3x100club (3 games) and for the adventurous ones the exclusive 4x100club(4 games). There is a 5x100 and 6x100 level but only a couple of people have reached that level
Pacing: Understanding that basketball is a marathon, it requires one to think like a marathoner and learning how to pace themselves to make it to the end. This game forces the player to learn when they need to go all out and when they need to conserve energy. My hope is that as they develop the endurance to play multiple games, they will develop the strength to go all out all the time but know which aspects of their game to emphasize at the appropriate time. For the marathoner, he knows how to go all out while conserving his energy for that final push (kick) to the finish line. In basketball, it's the players that still have the legs to make jump shots and play defense that ultimately win the game. I want my players to finish strong always. I want them to be able to be the ones on the court that the coach can look to go all out for the win.
Mental Toughness: This is the part of the game that I feel is missing the most. Many players that I watch or play seem to get down on themselves when they are down by 15 or 20. Their intensity levels drops, they start playing lazy D. That is where mental toughness needs to kick in. Remember that it's a marathon, not a sprint so you can carefully construct a comeback, one play at a time. You have to learn how what works for you and what doesn't and begin to use that knowledge to fight back. Most of today's players have only one or two things that they are good at and when those things go, then they feel like they can't compete and they end up getting ran out the gym. The 100pt game offers opportunity to learn how to dig in and fight through adversity and try to come back. Some of the best games I have been in have been where my opponent has gotten off to an early lead and I have to go deeper and find what I need to win. Those wins are some of the sweetest wins
Competitiveness: If I have one major complaint about this generation of player it is that many have some skills but truly don't know how to compete. This game is built to bring out the competitor in you. In short games, it is easy for one to get on a run and win the game quickly. In the 100, it is a game of many runs. It is difficult for one to keep up a barage of scoring for the 15-20 min it takes to play the game. For the one who jumps out to an early lead, the pressure comes in keeping the lead. For the one who falls behind, they have to dig in their heels and attack the problem head on. If the game gets really tight at the end then both players really have to turn up to see who can come out on top. There is actually an overtime for this game. The winner has to win by two scores. This can make for a heated battle and it can be fun when the scores for both players get over 100.
Sports is one of the greatest teachers in life. The lessons we learn through playing sports can provide a solid foundation for life. The ability to go the distance is necessary for anyone to become a champion in sports or in life. In life you need to have the endurance, the pacing, the mental toughness and competitiveness to make it through the battles that life will bring you.
I believe that if you can develop these aspects you will become the kind of person that people and coaches will be able to count on. So give the 100pt game a try and see if you can work your way to that exclusive 4x100 club and be able to "go the distance"!
Stay Forever Strong!