Great advice from ESPN’s Joy Hollingsworth to teams in the running for a state title. Five key ingredients to that achievement:
It takes a team to win the “ship” and not just the MVP. Don’t be a ball hog with a “get mine” attitude. Play for the name on the front on your jersey. Riding the bench is tough, but you’re just as important as a player scoring the points. Go crazy on the sidelines. You have the best seat in the house and the team needs your energy.
2. Mental Toughness
You have to be mentally tough to play back-to-back games at a high level in a short period of time. One has to visualize themselves throwing a dime, shooting lights out, or setting a solid screen. Don’t get frustrated and show your emotions. A missed layup or bad pass can make the ultimate goal look a little blurry but you have to stay focused.
It’s not about who has the most hops, tightest handles or killer crossovers. The question is who has the biggest heart? State champions leave their heart on the floor every night from the 3-point line, middle of the key or on the bench. A burning desire and deep passion is essential to finish on top. Make the beat of your heart felt by every team you play.
Your game swagger should be set to “high” at all times. Don’t be a cocky team which looks lazy — like walking all through warm-ups. Keep your head in the sky but your feet on the ground. A certain level of confidence, with a dose of humility is needed to win games. Your team should thrive under pressure and embrace different challenges.
The final and most important component is leadership. A commander-in-chief is needed to lead the troops in battle. One of the great characteristics of a leader is knowing when to lead and when to follow. Sometimes you have to ride the coattail of a teammate instead of putting the team on your back.