“There is always someone better than you. Whatever it is that you do for a living, chances are, you will run into a situation in which you are not as talented as the person next to you. That’s when being a competitor can make a difference in your fortunes.” –Pat Summitt, University of Tennessee Lady Vols.
So many athletes these days lack that true competitive edge. It’s not a question of if you agree or disagree, but the real question is why is this the new norm of sports? I’ve been around basketball literally my whole life. I started dribbling one of those little basketballs for toddlers when I was two, I played organized basketball and soccer when I was four, since then I have recently retired from an eleven-year professional basketball career. Now, I have the pleasure of coaching, training, teaching, and mentoring young athletes on their basketball journeys.
When I first started I was super excited to work with young girls and boys that were eager to learn the game and compete. The only problem was, nobody was truly ready to compete and that really bothered me. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting star athletes but I was expecting a desire to play hard. Needless to say, that was simply the beginning. That was back in May 2018 and I still see the same thing in November 2019 both in school ball and travel ball. What happened to coaches teaching the fundamentals of basketball and life to every player that you can get your hands on? This is a fundamental foundation for building up future successful people in the world, it’s more than just basketball.
Being able to play and coach all over the world has opened my eyes to different styles of the game. There is always one key ingredient that remains the same and separates the great players/teams from the average ones. Yep, you guessed it, that key ingredient is being a true competitor. I’m sure you’re asking what on earth am I talking about. In the wise words of my college coach Pat Summitt, “You can’t always be the most talented in the room, but you can be the most competitive.” In other words, play hard and compete no matter what. My father who taught me the game and coached me all the way until college had the same mentality and coaching style so that’s all I know.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there aren’t coaches out there who have always been holding their athletes accountable and teaching a grassroots type of basketball where fundamentals matter just as much as the euro step. What I am saying, is that there are not enough of us, and this needs to change. We are required to teach our athletes to compete for no matter what level they dream of playing!
Kids need structure, discipline, and leaders in their life that show them how to be accountable and do things the right way both on and off the court. Sports have always been a great platform for teaching life long lessons and giving select athletes an opportunity to get a free college education and continuing to play their respective sport. Coaches have become more concerned about keeping their star players by not hurting their feelings and less concerned about making sure that the players are coachable. Being coachable is a very important part of recruiting and potential scholarship opportunities, so it is our duty as coaches and trainers to get back to true competitive basketball.
Our non-profit youth basketball organization, LKN1, offers a basketball program that focuses on a grassroots style of basketball that teaches the fundamentals as well as advanced skills that are necessary to help your child reach their basketball goals. We work with all talent levels of grades 3rd-11th.
Some people are looking for both an organization/program along with camp, clinics, and other training opportunities. My coaching staff at Alexis Hornbuckle Basketball, LLC and I offer various opportunities to pursue further training throughout the year.
For more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org