The first secret to success is scope or the broadening of to be more specific. Let me explain.
Growing up I spent a lot of time shooting on the driveway made court at my parents’ house. My brother and I would mimic the NBA’s All-Star weekend 3pt contest and have shooting contest after shooting contest. Just like the pros, we would shoot five balls from five different positions on the court with the last of the five from each position worth two points. One major difference in our shooting contest and the NBA’s was our shots came from all different distances. The furthest shot we could take on the right baseline was no more than 10 feet, while the left side was closer to 15-17. This wasn’t by choice of course, we were merely making the best out of our home court dimensions.
So we would compete against one another almost daily, trying to relive the Larry Bird or Craig Hodges moments. Doing that along with playing a lot we became pretty good shooters.
During my sophomore year of high school a blend of guys from the freshman to varsity boys basketball team stayed after school to play pick up games on certain days. This was always a thrill for me, because it was a way to measure my progress as a player. At that time I had only been playing basketball for a couple of years.
On one particular day as the games were winding down, we were playing 3-on-3 when my Mom was due to come pick me up. In those days, there were no cell phones tied to the hips of 15 year olds or lining the baseline of the court. How did we survive:-) So my Mom shows up and the guys want to keep playing, but would be down to five if I left. At that point, the varsity team’s best shooter and starting guard, Brent Pauley, offered to give me a ride home.
My mom who was very protective of me, agreed to let me stay and we played on. After the games had ended, I assumed I was going home. Instead, I was about to become a man powered rebounding machine.
Brent wasn’t a good shooter. He was a great shooter. He stood all of five feet 10 inches, but had extreme explosiveness. He was quick, and could dunk. His staple on the team was draining the three though. During that season in 1993 he set the school three point mark for a single season.
So I stood under the rim and began rebounding. He started around the three point line, in the same five positions that the NBA sets up the three point contest and started launching. He didn’t tell me his goal, but I quickly figured out that he wasn’t going to leave the gym until he made ten in a row or one time around and back, two shots from each position.
This blew my young basketball mind. Of course I never let on to Brent that what he was doing seemed undoable to me at the time, but it did.
To me, those hours of shooting hoops in the backyard had made me a really good shooter. Not being surrounded by players, I had thought what I was doing was more than most. It was all I knew. Brent showed the dedication it took to go from good to great. To go from it should go in to it will go in. He showed what it took to set records.
Being exposed to others that are successful gives the growing individual a peep hole to perhaps see why they are successful. More than likely you will find that the successful one has been willing to work much harder and smarter than most.
Success isn’t usually holding hands with luck.
That is scope. Brent expanded mine.
I of course took what I learned from Brent and passed on that knowledge to my younger brother (six years younger than me) and expanded that to him taking over 3,000 shots a week as a 15 year old. Had my brother not had me, I’m positive that he would have approached the game like most kids with no guidance. He still would have been a good player, but wouldn’t have had that edge.
The great thing with expanding your scope is it also allows you to see if you really want what you think you want.
A little over five years ago a neighborhood kid had seen me play at the local courts one evening. A few days later he was ringing the doorbell to my home asking if I would come out and play. He wanted to be able to shoot better and in his eyes, I was the best he had seen. To him I shot like a guy in the NBA.
His scope was small. He had never been around really good players or shooters.
So I went across the street in my flip flops and played a couple of games. He was amazed, though he really shouldn’t have been. I wasn’t close to shooting at my best, but it was great within his current scope. So at the end he asked the question that I’ve been asked more than a few times, “How can I shoot like you?”
I put him in front of the basketball goal, corrected his form and told him to take 100 shots and we’d go from there. I let him know it was just a lot of practice and then I went home.
That particular day was like most in Florida, scorching hot. It was mid day so the sun was stretching itself over the canvas that is Florida. Humidity was having a blast.
10 minutes after I got home I looked out of the window and he was gone. He had quit. In his scope of doing things 100 shots was A LOT. To me, coming from 3,000 it was very small.
I saw the same kid, who now is a really nice young man, playing at the court a year ago. He still doesn’t shoot well.
Being a good/great shooter wasn’t worth the work to him. That’s ok.
If you have an interest in something, whether that be basketball, computers, finance, starting a blog and so on, surround yourself with people that are better than you at the given interest. If you are lucky enough to know people that are great at what you want to do, even better. Immerse yourself in it and you will quickly find out if you are passionate about it, or merely curious.
If you are struggling with getting to the next level, I have a simple question for you.
When is the last time you expanded your scope?
For more info on my journey to play Michael Jordan:
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