This past week my club—Moycullen—picked up a big league win against Templeogue. This win moves us to 3-6 on the year. While this record isn’t great, the result this week was huge for our young team’s confidence and competitiveness going forward.
We are a very young team. Some of our main contributors also star on our club’s U20 side. As a young team that is trying to claw its way up from the bottom of the table, our habits and practices tend to ebb and flow based on a number of different variables. Sometimes we only have half the team at a practice, sometimes our practices breakdown because tempers flare, sometimes our practices miss the mark and the drills we do don’t align with our issues during the game, but more than anything we tend to be up or down depending on our result the week before.
This is one of my biggest concerns; we can’t afford to only have good practices after a win. We simply will not be as good as we can be if we do this, and there is nothing in the world more frustrating than underperforming.
One of my former coaches recently shared a tweet with a quote from Jay Bilas that I think really applies to our club: “Tough players hate losing but are not shaken or deterred by a loss. Tough players enjoy winning but are never satisfied. For tough players, a championship or a trophy is not a goal; it is a destination. The goal is to get better every day.”
Mental toughness is such a key part of developing as a basketball player, and this season has put my toughness to a test. But, the toughest part for me hasn’t been a test of my personal toughness. Rather, the biggest challenge I have faced this season has been trying to find ways that I can help the club as a whole get better every day.
After a win like we had last week, my job is easy. Everyone is in a good mood. People are excited to come to practice and bring a lot of energy to everything we do. The challenge comes after tough losses. How can we keep the energy up? How can we key in our mistakes from the week before without being overly critical or singling individuals out? How can I help us get better?
The easy answer is to lead by example: Getting extra shots up with someone after training, or working with our coach to help plan targeted practices to help us improve. The hard answer has been to really focus on the individual relationships that create our team dynamic as a whole. I have been learning that not everyone needs the same thing to motivate them, but as a team we need everyone to be motivated.
As I continue my career in basketball, these are some of the things that I want to begin to think about as I think about potentially continuing on as a coach. But for now, I am still trying to get to know my teammates better; I am trying to win our game this weekend against Eanna, but more than anything I am trying to get better every day.