“The measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
-Martin Luther King
Concentration Defined: “the focus of one’s attention”
Basketball is a lot like life. Our circumstances can change on us in a millisecond. These changes can distract us. Dan Rockwell says, "The power of focus is the power to ignore." Let's imagine you are at the Old Market riding in a carriage. Despite all of the traffic and noise that is going on around, your horse manages to stay the course and not get distracted. But how? Then you notice the blinders your horse is wearing. These blinders minimize 90% of the possible distractions and allow your horse to keep his eyes on the road.
We need to adopt this same concept when we compete and do life. A simple question to ask yourself after each event is, “What's Important Now?" A WIN-ning mindset eliminates what we cannot control and frees us up to concentrate on what we can. Basketball players compete best when they focus on the task of the moment. Not the play that just happened, nor the end result. They play through their mistakes and adversity.
RALF is an acrostic we emphasize after a mistake is made. It stands for Recognize the mistake, Admit the mistake, Learn from the mistake, and Forget (flush the mistake and move on). When we fail to keep in check our frustrations, anger or fear it is detrimental to our focus and contagious to everybody around. Let’s RALF our mistakes, play present and WIN the day!
Coach Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Obviously this is true physically, but moreso mentally. Learning to train and play when you are “uncomfortable” is another very important discipline of concentration. Playing through some pain (not an injury) and embracing discomfort must become your new normal. There is no way around it. Winning hurts! Make it your quest to being comfortable at being uncomfortable.
Bilas said, “If we just reacted to the mistake by throwing up our hands, shaking our heads or cursing our failure, we would be making a bigger error—one of omission.”
“By moving on to the next play, concentrating and trying to move to the next thing, you have a better chance to be your best at that moment,” Krzyzewski said. “You have to be tough enough to move on, whether the last play was good or crappy. It takes real mental toughness.”
By Jay Bilas & Coach K