Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend the basketball game that saw Rutgers shock then number 10 in the country, Villanova. I was invited to the game by Dallas Ouano who is a walk on at Villanova and trains with me in his off months from basketball. It was really exciting to attend a high level Big East basketball game, especially one that ended like this game did (sorry Dallas).
The first thing I noticed after I received oxygen and the burning sensation in my legs wore off from climbing to my seat in the rafters was how hard the players were working on the court. I could seriously touch the roof of the RAC but was still able to hear the sneakers squeak on the basketball court below. That is not by accident. That is straight up hard work! There is something to be learned from the sounds of the game of basketball and squeaking sneakers is definitely a sign of effort. This effort was exuded by both teams and it was Rutgers who gave just a little bit more down the stretch to earn the victory.
After the game, I hung around to talk to Dallas about how things were going with college and basketball. He came out noticeably disappointed and justifiably so. We got to talking about things and I was telling him about my team and how we had lost six straight games at that point. I asked him what coach Jay Wright had to say after a devastating loss like this. His first response was quite simple; that they needed to take it on the chin and get back to business the next day. However, he further went on to explain that at that level, everyone is really good and the pace of play is extremely fast, and that ultimately, it is the team that plays the hardest for the longest wins. Dallas places the responsility for such losses on his own shoulders as it is the scout team’s (which he is a part of) responsibility to prepare his teammates for each and every game. Dallas told me that they work so hard to beat the first team every single practice and if they do not, they are not doing their job.
I was so impressed with this advice that I relayed it to my own team. This information is not something that is new to them, as we emphasize effort and execution daily. However, the source from which it came is. What I made clear to them was that Dallas has very little to gain from busting his tail day in and day out. As a walk on, he will very rarely, if ever play. This makes his perspective on hard work and effort very selfless and team oriented. His selflessness was reiterated in the following text that he sent me after the game: “Tell your guys that it doesn’t matter if you look bad. Some of them will stop playing ball after high school and some might have college on their minds, but in the end, guys on good teams get looks. You have to sacrifice your personal agenda for your team, and in the end it will help each guy reach his personal goals.” As a long time coach and trainer, this says it all. The concept of working hard for the name on the front of your jersey is not a new one, but it is sometimes forgotten when the going gets rough. Dallas’ insights served as a reminder of this for my team with the hope that it will provide new life for my them going forward in the playoffs.
Let me know what you think on this topic in the comments section below or by weighing in on this discussion on my Elite Basketball Training Facebook Fan page.
See you on the court!
Elite Basketball Training, LLC