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What's Your Excuse?

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I am almost positive that what I am about to write is going to offend at least several young players and maybe some older ones too - you have to start being 100% responsible!

No, I don't mean responsible in terms of doing your schoolwork, completing your household chores, or getting home before curfew, even though these are all very important as well. What I'm talking about here is taking 100% responsibility for your basketball career and that means that starting now you have to quit making excuses and/or blaming others!

Look, I've been around athletes my whole life and I've heard nearly every excuse and reason for failure possible.

"I'm too short. I'm too slow. I'm the wrong nationality. My coach doesn't like me. My teammates only pass to their friends. I don't have anywhere to practice. My coach doesn't know what he's doing. I don't have anyone to work out with me. I go to a 1A school. I don't have enough money for good basketball shoes. There aren't any good club teams in my area. My track coach won't let me practice. I started playing too late. My parents don't really like sports. I have too much homework. I have asthma. I have weak ankles." I could literally go on and on!

It has to stop! The cold, hard truth is that if you want to be a basketball player, and I mean a player not just a nice kid who plays basketball, then you have to quit making excuses and stop blaming everything and everyone else.

Instead you must ask yourself two simple questions and then be brutally honest with your answers. "What did I do or not do to put myself in this position?" And the most important one - "What do I need to do differently to be a better player and to have a better basketball player and to have a better career?"

Granted, there are some things you can't completely control like your physical size, your overall athleticism, or where you go to school. But what does that have to do with you being a basketball player? Has there ever been a small town kid with average size and athleticism who was All League, All Region, or All State? Of course there has been and if one person can do it or has done it, you can too! The same holds true with every other excuse you can think of. Has any player ever had a great season even though his coach didn't like him? Absolutely! If it's been done once it can be done again.

The brutal truth is that you are either not doing enough or you are doing something incorrectly and that is what is holding you back. This means that if you want to have a better jump shot, quicker handles, a higher vertical jump, more playing time, score more points, get more rebounds, steals, or assists, then you have to quit blaming someone else and start doing something different than what you've been doing!

Lou Holtz has said repeatedly that the guy who complains about the way the ball bounces is most likely the guy who dropped it and author Wayne Dyer has written, "All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you." In other words, the only way things are going to change for you is if you change.

So if you really want to be a player then starting this very minute you must adopt a "No Excuses" mentality. Everyone has to overcome something. Work harder, work longer, work smarter and realize that you alone are responsible for your development and improvement. Then and only then will you have a chance to reach your full potential.

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