If you are completely oblivious to the recent “Linsanity” craze that has nearly everyone in the world of basketball talking, then there can only be three possible explanations. 1) You are not a NBA or basketball fan. 2) You NEVER watch ESPN SportsCenter, or 3) You live under a rock somewhere. (Seriously, if you’ve never heard of Jeremy Lin, then look him up on the Internet right away!)
But what makes Jeremy Lin so special? Here are several steps you can take if you want to be just like him:
Be Prepared. The skills he has demonstrated over the past few weeks didn’t come to him overnight and so he has obviously continued working on his game even though it looked like he may never get into a game. It’s easy to get frustrated, throw in the towel and ask yourself “Why should I bother if I am never going to play much anyway?” but that’s not the approach he took.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Winston Churchill who once said, “There comes a time in every man’s life when he is offered an opportunity unique and fitting to his talents only. What a shame and a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work.”
Stay Confident. Henry Ford used to say, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” Remind yourself of past successes. Play your own personal highlight tape over and over in your mind. If you want your coach to share your same level of confidence, show him you can do it each and every day in practice. He’s never going to have confidence in your ability to perform well unless he sees you performing well in practice.
Go For It. Take advantage of every opportunity you get no matter how small it initially seems. Jeremy Lin wasn’t worried about how he was going to play 5 games from now – he just wanted to play well in the first one! Who knows when the opportunity will come again so don’t put yourself in a position where you look back and say to yourself, “I wish I had played harder and done more!”
Remain Humble. Take every opportunity to thank your coach and your teammates and to give them credit for any success you might enjoy. Don’t ever say either vocally or with your body language, “It’s about time I got off the bench and played more!” Jeremy Lin even called his coach an offensive genius – that same coach who was going to cut him from the team only a week earlier. Let your game do all the talking!
Ignore Stereotypes. Nearly every player is stereotyped one way or another. Too small; too slow; too young; too old; “wrong” race; went to the “wrong” school; too soft; too aggressive, has the “wrong” body type, and on and on. That ridiculous! (And not the good ridiculous either!) Basketball is basketball and if you can play you can play. Never let someone else’s description of you become your reality!
Enjoy the Moment. Smile. Laugh. High five your coaches. Chest bump your teammates. Then repeat all of the above. Basketball is a big part of all our lives but it’s still a game so have fun. Watch Jeremy Lin play and watch him speak to reporters afterwards. He is completely caught up in the moment, is soaking up every second of the experience and is having the time of his life. You should too!
Follow these six steps and be like Jeremy Lin. Will following them get you on SportsCenter? Who knows, but I do know they will make you a better player, a better teammate and a better person.