March 8, 2012

Nobody to Beat but Myself


Frustration usually shows up when certain expectations are not met. In the picture, my idol, Kobe Bryant showed signs of frustrations, it may be because his shots were not falling, or due to calls that he did not have, we don't know and never will. But this post is not because of the frustrations of Kobe or the Lakers as they lost 2 games this week to teams that didn't have good standings - blowing their lead in the final minutes. This is about my frustrations and how it somehow improved me in the last 2 weeks of playing basketball.

Basketball is my favorite sports. Ever since I was a child, my father trained me (and all of my cousins). I was the most stubborn of us all, 'coz I always thought I was already the second best in our group (cousins) and that I didn't need to work on my skills. Together, we experienced defeats and championships in our local neighborhood leagues when we were in elementary. Then, going into different high schools, we represented our schools in inter-high school competitions. Then in college, I still had the chance to compete with other universities but my team struggled to get a win. Back then, I thought because most teams were really better than us talent-wise. But now, I think it was because we simply didn't even try to compete with ourselves. From then on, everything went downhill for me, playing only casual basketball, reminiscing the times when I last played competitive basketball, and my skills dropped and then frustrations built up.

I became the president of our company's basketball club recently, actually inherited it hehe. I may still have decent (but not that good) point-guard skills, passing, shooting and basketball IQ and stuffs like that. With our team being the reigning basketball champions last Sportsfest, some people thought that I was the MVP of that team, that I am very good in playing basketball. What people don't know is that I don't really think of myself as "good" and that I am frustrated that I did not give 110% every game. There is no excuse for being frustrated that your opponent pushed you and you whine all game until you just lose and make that as an excuse. There is no point in being frustrated about your teammates. And lastly, there is no excuse in thinking that you are too tired to do anything in a game.

In our company, we play every Thursday and for 2 hours, we average about 5 games every session. Back when we started playing for the club, I usually only play 2 or three of these games because I felt I was tired already. I was even contented in winning only half of these games that I played. I became easily frustrated with losing and that I wanted to give more efforts but I already thought that my body wasn't the same as before and so I just give up without even trying. For the last 2 weeks, I tried another recipe. I wanted to improve myself in many different aspects - one of those is basketball. And then I played all 5 games in week 1, then 5 out 6 games last night. My team also won 8 out of 10 games in that stretch. I was improving and I used frustration to do it.

I was frustrated with every jumpshot that I make - I don't really care if I am very tired already but an open jumpshot or layup should be put into the basket. There's just NO excuse in missing open shots. And so I tried to improve this by taking a lot of shots for warm ups and going early to the gym so that I can practice shooting. Everytime I take a shot, I try to really put it inside the ring so that I will not be frustrated afterwards. When my shots are not falling, I don't feel sorry for myself and whine about how "malas" I am tonight, I dish out assists to my teammates and setting them up for an open shot. When I feel that I am tired enough and my opponents are tired too, I beat my body and still run up the floor (we are all tired anyway so I have nothing to lose). It is also very frustrating to miss free throws - why? Because everybody else is lining up for a rebound and nobody is defending you, then how come I still miss freethrows? So what I do is when I am resting and I am in a basketball court, I shoot free throws. You are not running when you practice free throws so you will not get very sweaty (in case you don't want to be). Lastly, rebounds, when you are a fan, you really get frustrated in games when you see your team not going for the rebounds and just letting the opponents get the ball in every shot. But the truth is, rebounding is really very tiring and uses a lot of energy. As a player and when you want to win, get those rebounds. What I did was that when I'm already very tired, I would focus my energy in a point in time when another player takes the shot, and burst with that remaining energy to get the rebound. Once I pass the ball, I then rest and recharge.

I think this is becoming a long post already so I will just summarize it in a few more lines. Beating these frustrations all required giving extra efforts even when you feel you cannot do anything anymore. Then again, the only way to improve yourself is to beat your current limit, right? Beat your body and convert your frustrations to better results - this is not only applicable to sports. If you do this, whether you win or lose, you will always have a good night sleep - not having thoughts of "what if"s and other regrets. You may sleep with a very tired body and muscle pains though, but in the end you will end your day with a peaceful smile on your face.

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