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Using Effort to Become a Talented Basketball Player and Student Athlete

Talent on the basketball court is a choice. Not everyone is talented but everyone CAN become talented and the secret is disciplined, wise effort.  The word effort was connected to the concept of strain and difficulty.  A famous quote says, “Effort becomes effort when it starts to get painful.” Struggle, pain and sacrifice are key components to effort. Perhaps that is why people can struggle with effort.  Saying, “It’s not worth the effort,” speaks to the cost that effort requires us to pay. 

The reality is anything worthwhile is going to require effort whether it’s a great jump shot, a deep understanding of math, or meaningful relationships in a family.  One of the most beloved poets of this century, Maya Angelou, said in a poem, “love costs all we are.”  If we love something or someone, it’s going to cost us and that is the effort.

Passion and love are crucial. If you don’t love it, you won’t sacrifice for it. Effort without love is truly not effort but just going through the motions. Few things in life are more unattractive than empty effort because it really is anti-love.  

Create a specific plan. It’s easy to waste effort. Not all effort is equal. You can be really passionate and work hard but without a plan, not much is going to get done. The more clear you are in what you want, the better chance you have to get it. Write down a real plan.  This requires a mentor to review your plan and approve it.

Best practice. Be a student eager to learn. Research, study, and seek to find the best practice for your effort. Don’t do the same things over and over hoping for a different outcome.

Drill what you aren’t good at. Put your effort in the areas of your weakness. If you find that this is frustrating you too much, step back, get some small wins going and then hit the weak areas again.


Becoming a Talented STUDENT Athlete-- a true story

 A young man came to camp struggling in school. He didn’t like school, didn’t want to complete his homework, all he wanted to do was play basketball.  The coaches met with him and began to educate him on the college recruitment process and taught him that athletes with strong grades are going to be more valuable to a coach than an athlete with very poor grades.  He began to see the importance of making a change but didn’t know how.  Our coaches encouraged him to put his effort into these key tasks.  1. Begin to find a love for school - change the way you speak and think. Instead of waking up complaining and saying how you hate school, wake up and find things you can be thankful for about school.  2. Change your point of view - sit in the front row, spend time with students who love to learn, say thank you to your teachers, value your books and see them as important tools for you to reach your goals.  3. Find a mentor who is both encouraging, patient and is willing to help you find the best way to learn. Everyone learns differently. Some people are visual learners (they learn best by reading and seeing it), some are auditory learners (they learn best by hearing).  Some are tactile learners (they learn best by experiencing it and being hands on).  Some are emotional learners (they learn best in an environment that is emotionally safe and stable and do very poorly in environments that are highly stressful, fearful, aggressive or angry).  This young man was an emotional learner and he had learned to shut down at school to navigate the stress of being in classrooms where he felt he didn’t get it.  With this game plan in place, he marched into school the following fall with a serious plan.  He took his failing grades and made them A’s, making honor roll for the first time in his life. 


About NBC Basketball Camps

NBC Camps started as Northwest Basketball Camp in 1971, now almost 50 years later we are in 8 countries and run about 250 weeks of camp each summer. Find a camp or training program that fits you. Learn more at  or call 1-800-406-3926.

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