"Undirected diligence isn't very efficient; therefore, an element of planning must go into hard work." - John Wooden
Who do you want to be? Why? Where do you want to go? Why? What is stopping you? Why? What steps can you take to change that? What are my interests? What if I don’t have clear passions or direction right now?
These are JUST A FEW of the questions my mentors have helped me answer. You and I may not have the exact same goals, but think about how many situations these questions apply to. Struggling to find direction and motivation? Identifying areas of interest? Choosing what to do after high school? Transitioning to the next level in your sport? Everyone can use some help finding these answers.
We are bombarded with advertisements that seemingly offer quick fixes. Get stronger, faster, skinnier, smarter, happier - you name it! Despite this, most people know that there are no real shortcuts to success and fulfillment; it takes time, intentional work and focus to achieve your goals. However, in my experience, mentorship is an effective way to fast track growth. As famed investor Warren Buffett says, “It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.” Having access to someone with more life experience that can advise and counsel is more effective than doing the journey alone. A mentor in your corner that truly cares about your development will ensure that your time, work and focus are moving in the right direction...towards the person you were meant to be!
Having a mentor is NOT a quick fix; it is still you who has to walk the path. Think of a mentor as someone who helps groom the path for you. They become someone you can talk to, someone you can be real with, someone you can ask questions and someone who is invested in your success.
I have benefited from the power of mentorship and I see it as my responsibility to pay that forward. We are not meant to go through life alone, we are not meant to withhold the “secrets” to success from each other. We are stronger individually AND as a community when we build each other up. I am grateful for the guidance my mentors have given me and I am grateful that Right Way has given me the opportunity to share that power with the next generation!
This post was written by Right Way director and coach, Clare Murphy, a former USPORTS Basketball Alumna, who is currently a certified teacher while also serving as an assistant coach with the University of Ottawa Women's Basketball Team.
Our Youth Need Our Help to Stay Focussed
With a young child, having a schedule is very important; almost as important as school and sport are for our teenagers. Motivation and initiative among youth has seen a sharp decline across the board since March 13th, and as a high school teacher I have witnessed this first hand. “Who cares if I don’t do any more work?”. “What difference does it make?”. “Why hand in any assignments if my mark can’t go down?”.
Holding oneself accountable can be difficult enough when there is someone watching. Remove that someone (in the current case, everyone), and who’s left to provide motivation?
As those who watched “The Last Dance” can recount, Michael Jordan was always playing a game within a game; he created reasons why he had to perform every game, and even made some of those reasons up. Real or fabricated, he knew how to create intrinsic motivation and enable himself to perform to the best of his ability.
That doesn’t mean self-motivation is easy. In fact, it’s incredibly difficult for children and adults alike, and that’s before you throw in a global pandemic. As a collective society, we’re struggling; we’ve never had to do this before. Self-motivation is a tool that is not easily learned, and from the lack of routine to the absence of connection, it’s even harder to foster in isolation.
So how do you build that fire inside when no one is watching?
You ask yourself why (5x). Get to the root of why you do or don’t want to do something. Whether it be love or fear, understanding why is most important. Then acknowledge that the hard work that’s required won’t be easy. Fortunately, a little struggle and adversity makes us work harder and come out stronger than we were before.
If you don’t want to shoot when no one is around, no one is going to make you. We’re without teammates and coaches physically… but that doesn’t mean our community is gone. Challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone and to be accountable to yourself, but don’t do it alone; ask a friend or teammate to join you (virtually or at a distance). Set daily and weekly goals together and review regularly with encouragement to stay on track. Asking a coach or mentor for guidance can provide a great deal of benefits; regularly asking for and implementing feedback makes you a stronger person. We’re learning how to navigate new territory and now more than ever, we have the opportunity to come together and support one another in ways that didn’t previously exist.
It’s the work you put in during the offseason that makes the most difference... and this may be a long off-season.
This post was written by Right Way coach, Jen O’Connor, a former USPORTS Basketball Alumna, who is currently a secondary school teacher and coach in Ottawa.
Everything worthwhile in life requires an element of sacrifice
Many high school athletes say they want to continue their sports career at the post-secondary level. Unfortunately, that will not happen for most of them. Whether it is from lack of training, unrealistic expectations or a lack of awareness of what the life of a university student athlete looks like, many high school basketball players are not prepared for what basketball after graduation entails. Here is what you need to make that jump …
Time Management and Commitment
Being a university student athlete is a full-time job that includes responsibilities 7 days a week. As a student, you will have at least 12 hours of class/week plus potential labs, tutorials and homework. As an athlete, you will have another 15-25 hours/week of commitments consisting of team practices and film, individual sessions, weight training and games. These combined 27-37 hours/week are a baseline and does not include travel time for games or any additional time you put in. It is one thing to like the beautiful game of basketball, but it is another thing to practice consistent discipline and organization over the course of a season (and career). If you want to be prepared for this next level of commitment, don’t wait until university - start putting the time in now so the adjustment feels more manageable!
Humility and Confidence
Whether you are currently coming off the bench, starting most games or being selected for every all star game imaginable, there will be players that are bigger, stronger, and more talented (+ experienced) than you on any university team. You need to be able to drop your ego at the door and embrace the challenge. Coaches do not want players who are focused on what they have already accomplished, they are looking for players who know they still have a lot to learn. However, you should not walk into the gym intimidated by those around you. Fear and self-doubt will not help you at the next level. Remember that if a coach is recruiting you or has welcomed you onto their team, you are there for a reason. It may take some time to receive a specific role on a team but staying humble & confident will help you adjust to the new level.
Perseverance and Optimism
You may have already faced some challenges in your life but trust me - you will face more. Whether it is an injury, lack of playing time, a disagreement with a teammate, a shooting slump, loss of an academic scholarship, a break up, etc., adversity will find you during your post-secondary career. You will have a very difficult time as student-athlete if you are not ready to persevere through some bumps in the road. Even on this path towards playing at the next level, try embracing the mindset that there is a lesson in every failure and an opportunity for improvement through every struggle. Use your friends and family to gain perspective and stay positive. Keeping the faith through the tough times can make your basketball journey unbelievably rewarding!
One Special Skill
Now, don’t get me wrong, to make it as a university basketball player you can’t ONLY be organized, committed, humble, confident, optimistic and determined - you also have to be able to HOOP! However, too many players get overwhelmed or distracted trying to become great at everything and just end up being good. What is the one thing you can hang your hat on? What can a coach count on you to do? You may be a lockdown defender, a knockdown shooter, a tenacious rebounder, an unstoppable slasher, an impeccable ball handler, a beast in the post...whatever your strength is, work on emphasizing it so you can stand out. Develop an irreplaceable skillset to get noticed, then round out your game using all of the characteristics above!
Now that you know what it takes - do you still want it?
This post was written by Right Way coach, Clare Murphy, who is currently completing her Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Ottawa while also serving as an assistant coach the Women's Varsity Basketball Team.