“You have competition every day, because you set such high standards for yourself that you have to go out every day and live up to that.” — Michael Jordan
There are several reasons many coaches say they appreciate when their athletes play multiple sports.
Training year-round in different sports tends to build high endurance. Different sports train different muscle groups, making players stronger. And most good coaches want their players to be coached by others, adopting different philosophies on success and achievement. And playing multiple sports keeps players focused and active.
But one reason above all trumps the others. Coaches want their players to ABC: Always. Be. Competing.
Now, it’s true. There will always be people who are born with a competitive fire that is burning hotter than those around them. It is a unique gift. The good news is, though, that like a smooth jump shot, competitiveness can be conditioned. You just have to seek it at every turn.
Last year I worked on a project for the Denver Post where we followed the Adams City football team around for an entire season. We got to see how they approached each and every day of their business on and off the field.
One thing their coach always stressed: Don’t miss an opportunity to compete. It’s why he urged his players to go out for wrestling in the winter, to gain the confidence only one-on-one competition could provide. Or to get on the basketball court and put their competitive will to the test.
Now, this isn’t to say playing multiple sports is the only way to condition yourself to compete on a regular basis. Far from it. The key is to approach all arenas as an opportunity to compete in get better.
Some of the best athletes I’ve come across also excel in the classroom. Sure, they have been smart kids. But the truth of the matter is they don’t want to get beat in class anymore than they do on the field. That is the mind-set that is necessary to fuel your competitive fire. They are deposits that must be made every day.
The ball is about to roll out on fall basketball, with many teams in action as they prepare for the “real” season in the winter. Don’t let a game or practice slip by where you don’t try, with everything you’ve got to beat the guy in front of you. There are absolutely going to be days where you just don’t have it, where the shots aren’t falling and you’re just not feeling it and you decide that save some energy for the so-called “real” season to begin. These are understandable occurrences, but it is the fight to get through them that will add competitive fuel reserves to your bank.
Coaches everywhere are looking at how you’ll respond when the chips are down. Those are the players coaches want on our teams. We are very excited for our combine on Sept. 26 for the main reason that it will be a huge stage for competition. You vs. the guy next to you. You vs. guys putting up big numbers across the country. Most importantly, you vs. you, competing against yourself to not settle for anything.
We hope you’ll be there. But even if your not, don’t miss a chance to compete.