I play basketball with the same group of guys each week. We play half court around 2-3 times a week. Actually they play closer to 4-5 times, but I don’t have as much free time as they do.
Some of the guys are really outstanding athletes and their skills are far superior to mine. To compensate I try to do a number of different things.
1) I don’t stop talking the entire game, I talk more trash than you can imagine. But, it always has a purpose. And that purpose is to distract you, to make you think about other things. Not to mention to see if I can goad you into trying to teach me a lesson. If I do that I take you out of your game which makes you less valuable to your team.
2) Hustle/Effort- I work hard on every play. I try to be the blue-collar role player that you hear about. I rebound, set screens and just move constantly. Hopefully you get tired and I don’t.
3) I use my strength and size to wear you down. I weigh in around 228 or so and I have a relatively large frame. So I’ll lean and push you all over the court. If you try and set a pick I’ll run through it so that you remember me as the truck that ran you down. I am not trying to hurt anyone, but it is a part of the game and I receive my share as well.
I suppose that I didn’t need a list of three items, they could have been combined into one, but it is fun to make a list.
Anyway, in recent times I have been tasked with trying to defend one of the best players in our group. He is as big as me and very strong. He has solid fundamentals- dribbles well, shoots well and generally makes few mistakes. He really is a better player than I am, and he hustles.
I love the challenge of trying to stop him. Thus far he has been getting the better of me, but I am not about to give up. The more times I get a chance to match up with him the easier it becomes because I am starting to learn his moves and it is easier to anticipate what he might do.
Whenever I play I make an effort to try and play with people who are better than I am, because it is how you improve your play. But I have to be honest and say that right now this guy is killing me. He is having fun showing me up and trying to torment me, but I have a couple of tricks to try on him that may turn the tables.
If nothing else he has me working out harder in the gym. I am going to get stronger and make life far more difficult for him, but easier for me. I am determined to begin to wear him down.
Our games are to 9 and he usually scores between 3-4 points. My goal in the next month or so is to try and limit him to 2-3 points and/or make him focus on me so that he forgets to involve his team. Ego can be a wonderful tool for improvement, but it can hurt you too.
Can’t wait to finish the day so that the battle can start again.