"True progress in any field is a relay race and not a single event."-John Cavett
My favorite event in track and field is the 4 x 100 relay. Some people might argue that it is the most exciting event in all of sport. The speed and precision it takes to win the event causes spectators to hold their breath at every baton exchange. Each runner must do their part in order to successfully finish the race. Each runner must complete their portion of the race for their team. It is a true collaboration of talent.
Too many times in basketball, players COMPETE with their teammates. They get caught up in trying to get more playing time, trying to take more shots, and trying to impress the coaching staff more than the other players. This, however, limits the individual’s effectiveness and, most importantly, limits the team’s potential.
Just like in a relay race, individuals working together beat individuals working alone. Here is a list of the finishers of the men’s 4 x 100 relay during the 2012 Olympic Games:
1. Jamaica (36.84) 2. USA (37.04) 3. Trinidad & Tobago (38.12) 4. France (38.16) 5. Japan (38.35) 6. Netherlands (38.39) 7. Austrailia (38.43)
And here is the world record in the men’s 400 meter race:
Michael Johnson (43.18)
Notice how even the last place finisher in the relay was nearly 5 seconds faster than the all-time fastest individual runner in the same distance.
Just like in a relay, basketball players should be collaborating together, trying to COMPLETE each other. Each player on a team can provide something that other players are missing in their game. For a team to reach its’ full potential, all players must have the mindset to COMPLETE their teammates rather than to COMPETE with their teammates.
Questions for thought...
Do you ask... How can I get mine? or How can I help the team?
Do you look... At the box-score after the game? or At the game film to learn from the game?
Do you think... ‘Coach doesn’t want me to shoot because he doesn’t like me?’ or ‘Coach doesn’t want me to shoot because I can provide something else our team lacks?’
Do you try... To COMPETE with your teammates? or To COMPLETE the holes within your team?