Today I had the great opportunity to watch the University of British Columbia Men’s Basketball team play the University of Western Mustangs (Recap of the game), with one of my best friends, Brandon. It was a super exciting game, and it was great to just hangout and spend some time with Brandon (check out TJ self development on facebook, some great info from him!). Between law school for him and graduate studies for me there is not much time leftover for either of us to hang out. Despite having a great time there was one thing that really bothered me during that game. The lack of fans at the game.
The general lack of attendance overall was disheartening because it is terrible that these athletes who work so hard on their craft on a daily basis have only ~ 50 UBC students show up to their game when they represent an institution that has a total student body of roughly 50 000 students. However, what was more concerning was the complete absence of upcoming high school players who aspire to compete at the next level. If you are serious about taking your game to the next level it is a MUST that you make a concerted effort to take every opportunity available to you to watch as much high quality live competition as possible.
You may instantly argue that you have NBA league pass and I watch a ton of hoops. Firstly, if you are serious about being the best player you can be then you must be a student of the game and study it to a point almost bordering on obsessiveness. If Kobe is an avid student of the game, you should be as well.
You might then argue that well these players are not NBA quality so what do I have to learn? Well firstly that is just a very poor attitude. The most successful and happiest people in life realize that everyone in life is better than you at something and they have something valuable to teach you. However, getting back on topic there are three main reasons why you should take advantage of every opportunity to watch elite/college level athletes compete in person:
1. Watching live competition always trumps watching games on TV to understand the increased pace of the game – You do not fully appreciate the size, length and speed of play when watching it on TV. When you get to be up close and personal to the action you fully realize how fast the pace of the game is. For me this realization hit me when I got to view a Toronto Raptors practice. I was absolutely shocked how such large men could move so effortlessly and gracefully This is vital for young athletes to be exposed to because it gives you a barometer to measure your game against. If you want to play at the next level you can not judge your ability to do so by how you are doing with against your peers. You have to judge how you would fare against these taller and longer opponents playing at an increased speed.
2. Watching in person allows you to pick up on the nuances that you are not completing – Success leaves clues. Out of all the athletes that play high school basketball in the united states, only ~ 3% play basketball at any NCAA level (source). Those who compete at NCAA division 1 is much lower. So these university players must be doing something right! For example viewing how players communicate with each other or how they interact with their coaches and deal with criticism can teach you things that would have taken you years of experience to pick up. These are subtle aspects of the game that can not be picked up from watching a game online.
3. Developing Relationships with Coaches – If you have a dream to play at the next level it is key that you develop relationships that will empower you to do so. Being good is NOT enough. At the end of the day any coach is a person. They want to coach people they like and trust. So if your just as good or a little bit better than someone else the coach knows and trust they are going to go with the person they are comfortable with. This should not be a reason to be cynical. It is just human nature. So you should reach out to these coaches and express your interest in their program and attend their games. If you are a super keener research their program or get in contact with some players on the team and pinpoint a need for the program. Then offer the coaches to volunteer to help fix that problem. Do NOT just email them and offer your help! That is completely useless as it puts the onus on them to find something for you to do. And make sure to follow up as all college coaches are super busy, so if they don’t respond maybe they just forget! For any readers interested in playing at UBC specifically I have had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Coach Hanson (head coach at UBC), and Coach McKay (head assistant) and they are super personable and approachable people. I am sure they would love to have up and coming high school players at their games. Even if you do not end up playing for the particular coach you develop a relationship with you still can learn a plethora of super important lessons much earlier than you would have otherwise.
– Take advantage of every opportunity to watch elite/college athletes compete in person!
– It is vital to watch this competition live to learn lessons you can not get form watching a game on TV
– It is key to develop relationships not just to make a team but also to learn.
If you are reading this from the Greater Vancouver Area and are interested in checking out a UBC game go here. (Note I am a student at UBC but I am in no way shape or form receive money from the sales of any tickets.)
Be Happy and Chase your Dreams,
PS Here are a couple of ways to connect with me if you have any questions or have any specific topics you would like me to address.