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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Dimensions of Improvement

Nobody ever acknowledges disregard for improvement. But improvement demands self-awareness, self-regulation, and an improvement process. 

Improvement requires physical (my body is fit and powerful), technical (this is how I play), tactical (this is how we play), and psychological (this is how I am affected) proficiency. How can you conceive of expanding your role ("become more to do more") if your component skills shrink? Therefore, even if you don't enjoy every part of the game, that doesn't excuse you from understanding and improving those areas. 

Players determine their level of aerobic conditioning and strength. Even if you are working with a position coach, they may not have the depth to suggest aerobic program or a weight program. If you're lucky, your high school has a training program. In our community, they offer a "bigger, stronger, faster" program. Girls are sometimes reluctant to participate because of a perception as becoming "manly". But having power for finishing, rebounding, and establishing position advantages girls as well as boys. 

As great as some players have been offensively, they may be ridiculed for lack of effort or interest defensively

For example, we see players who become one-dimensional, as they "fall in love" with their outside shot and retreat in other areas (ball-handling, driving, passing, etc.). They develop technical 'imbalance' as well as tactical limitations. Even 'coordinators' (e.g. in football) require extensive knowledge of their opposing domain. A defensive coordinator must understand core offensive principles to defeat them. 

To improve, you need coaching (mentoring), role models (patterns), and individual workouts. 

I was fortunate to have coaches who were candid in their assessment and criticism of my play. And I had a role model (via television).

As a young player, I had offensive deficiencies that limited my opportunities. I put masking tape on the bottom of my eyeglasses to overcome looking down. I dribbled a ball when going for walks. I practiced shooting in the driveway wearing gloves to enhance my 'feel' for the ball. I duct taped a tennis racket to a step ladder to simulate shot blockers. That allowed a certain level of competence (if not excellence) to emerge.

There wasn't any option for individual instruction, AAU, or personal training. But we had the library, the playground, and the driveway. Coach Wooden preached, "Never let what you can't do stand in the way of what you can.

You make yourself a better version and reinvent yourself every day. As Tracy Noonan Ducar, former USWNT goaltender remarked, "if you want to be the best, the responsibility lies solely with you." As a player, what are you doing today to improve?

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