"We don't miss layups"

That’s what my middle-school basketball coach used to say.

He was wrong, at least at the beginning of the season. My junior varsity team wasn’t that good, and we inevitably missed a few layups each game. That changed when he started running a new drill.

The whole team would stand at the baseline, watching, as each boy would take their turn running down the court. As the boy approached the basket, the coach would pass him the ball, and he’d shoot a simple, right-handed layup. Whenever someone missed, the ENTIRE TEAM would have to run lines.

I remember once when my turn came up. The team was exhausted, and I REALLY didn’t want to make them run lines. These were guys I respected, and didn’t want them to hate me (a pretty good motivator in middle-school). I remember running down the court, getting the ball, and being SO determined not to miss… like it was my only desire in the world.

Of course, I missed.

I heard a bunch of groans behind me. Someone yelled, “COME ON!!!” I was crushed.

But in my mind, I remember thinking, “I just have to figure this out.” Getting good at layups became very important to me.

I don’t remember much else about the training I did that year, but I remember that by the end, I didn’t miss layups. I remember them feeling easy, like walking or dribbling. Like I couldn’t imagine how I missed them before.

That coach got results because he made us care. When you really care about something, you find a way to make it happen.

If you aren’t working on things that you care about, then it’s really hard for you to get extraordinary results. If I find myself in that place for too long, I get anxious. I know I need to either find a way to care, or find something else to work on.