The word fundamental is a very basic and simple word that means “essential.” With this definition, players often come to think of fundamentals as unimportant, too trivial and even boring…but without it, we cannot reach our potential. Within this framework, we have developed the Fundamental C’s. The secret to the Fundamental C’s is that you only have to work on the first one and the other three will fall into place for you.
The first C, the one you are responsible for is concentration. It involves you blocking everything out of your mind when it comes time to practice. You cannot be thinking about shopping, or heading to the movies, or playing with your friends while you are practicing. You have to dedicate yourself to focusing in on that which you are presently doing. Concentration is one of the most difficult things for a player on even the highest level to obtain and then to maintain.
“Concentrate…for the greatest achievements are reserved for the man of single aim, in whom no rival powers divide the empire of the soul.”
-Orison Swett Marden-
Concentration makes it possible for a good one hour workout with maximum results. Without concentration, you could be out on the court with a basketball for the entire day and not achieve as much.
A great story on concentration is told of golfing legend Ben Hogan. Of course Hogan is considered one of golfing’s all-time greatest. He is one of only five golfers to capture the Grand Slam of golfing while winning PGA Golfer of the Year four times. Hogan was in the middle of a key putt when in the background a loud train whistle sounded. Without any problem, Hogan sank the putt. A member of the group which Hogan was golfing with asked him if the whistle had bothered him. His reply: “What whistle?” He was so focused and concentrated on the immediate task at hand that he had blocked out all possible distractions.
With proper concentration comes control. You can control the basketball, you can control your body, and most importantly, you can control your thought process. By concentrating on doing everything you do as well as you possibly can do it, and within the fundamental guidelines, you will find that you will be able to have control over situations that you couldn’t before. It is difficult to improve greatly on foot quickness but if you work on concentration during your drill work you will seem quicker. Yes, you will be a little quicker but the majority of it will come from being in complete control on the court.
By adding both concentration and control, we arrive at confidence. I have never seen a great player that didn’t have confidence in herself. Let me take that one step further and say that I have never seen a great player that didn’t do the things necessary to gain the proper confidence. You see, players aren’t born with confidence and they can’t go out to the mall and buy it. There are some athletes out there that show false confidence by bragging, but the truly great ones, the ones who reach their maximum potential know that they gained confidence from proper work habits day in and day out.
The final Fundamental C is consistency. That means doing what you do as well as you do it and doing it that way all the time. Working hard is not a sometime thing. Concentrating is not a part-time job. You want to be consistent in your approach in everything you do. It takes mental toughness to come to practice everyday and consistently give it your best mental and physical effort regardless of everything else going on. Hall-of-Fame baseball player Willie Mays summed it up perfectly when he said:
“In sports, it isn’t hard to be good from time to time. What’s tough is being good every day.”
A simple formula is:
CONCENTRATION leads to CONTROL…
CONTROL leads to CONFIDENCE…
CONFIDENCE leads to CONSISTENCY.
What is important to understand about confidence is that it is a result of the Ladder of Success along with the Fundamental C’s. One of the key factors in confidence is that key component of preparation. In other words, if you do your homework, you don’t have to worry about your test score.
“Confidence comes from planning and practicing well. You get ready during the week and the confidence will be there on Sunday. This confidence is a difficult thing to explain. But you do get it and the team gets it if you have prepared properly.”
NFL Hall-of-Fame Coach
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. Complete mental and physical preparation has to do with sacrifice and self-discipline. And that comes from within.”
Legendary Tennis Player
“Confidence comes from preparation and the only way to be fully prepared is to practice something until you have it down so well that you know it will work.”
NBA Hall-of-Fame Player
One final thought on the intangibles needed to become your absolute best is simply to maintain a good attitude. Attitude affects everything that you do on the court, in the classroom and in life. You must learn to be proactive in approaching your workouts. Our attitude is our greatest possession because it is something we completely control regardless of any and all outside benefactors. The power we have to choose our own personal attitude is tremendously important in our success. As President Thomas Jefferson said:
“Nothing can stop the person with the right mental attitude from achieving their goal; nothing on earth can help the person with the wrong mental attitude.”