Lifelong Learning – On the court and in life
September 7, 2023
I recently read an article in the April/May 2018 edition of Coach and the AD titled “Becoming Defensive-Minded: Eight Concepts to Help Teams Dominate Their Opponents” by Coach Nathan Livesay, and as I read it, I quickly realized that these concepts could actually help me in my life, not just as a coach on the basketball court.
The first concept the author spoke of was that in basketball, as obvious as this seems, you must take care of the basketball as you head towards the goal. You must take care of it because of its value. It is the “thing” that ultimately must go through the hoop in order to score points. In life, you must guard/take care of those ‘things’ precious to you - your time, your resources, your sanity, your family, your job, your passions and more. If you lose those things, it will be hard to reach your end goals.
The second thing Livesay discussed was the idea of using intelligent ball pressure. In basketball, on defense, you must attempt to get the ball using defensive pressure, however, you cannot foul the other team/person. In life, you cannot be rude or abrasive and get what you want. Being firm and confident is fine, but crossing the line in order to get what you want is never okay.
Next, Livesay reminded coaches that players need to really work to anticipate the next pass. In sports, coaches work on that constantly. In life, sometimes that is harder to do. However, I think the gist of this is thinking ahead and being proactive rather than reactive, whenever possible.
The fourth concept was to contest all shots. In basketball that means “don’t give up easy shots.” In life that means that sometimes when things are thrown at you, you have to duck, dodge, block, or find a way to get it done rather than finding the easy way out of something. Things are tough sometimes and we must be tougher.
Fifth, Livesay mentions the skill of helping and recovering. In basketball on defense, this is imperative. In life, the same is true. Sometimes we all need help and we need to remember that it is NOT a sign of weakness to ask for it when you need it. Helping others is also extremely important. I look at life as a team sport. We’ve all heard the expression “it takes a village...” We must all seek out opportunity to help. The “recovery” part of help and recovery is equally important. Things don’t always go our way the first time, the second time, and sometimes not at all in certain situations, but we have to keep trying and getting up when we fall or fail. We have to keep going until the end.
Livesay’s sixth concept is to stop ball penetration to the basket. The idea in basketball is to stop the other team from getting layups or easy shots at the basket and get the ball headed towards your own basket as soon as possible. In life, I see this as “don’t throw in the towel,” but rather “fight” and find a way, which sometimes involves a backup plan. We must keep looking for a way to turn things around and head towards your own goals.
Next is the idea of playing without fouling. In basketball you only get five fouls before you are done for the game. In life, my thinking is that I can accomplish a lot without stepping on others’ toes, putting others down or hurting them. I can be successful WHILE others are succeeding as well. We can all succeed.
Finally, Livesay mentions the skill of blocking out. In basketball this is necessary before rebounding the ball. In life, I see this as blocking out the negative and not getting caught up in the small stuff as I set my sights on rebounding from a failure or setback and heading in a different direction.
This article, while initially about basketball, really is about life. I hope that by looking at Livesay’s comments with life in mind, rather than basketball, you can find more successes than not and reach your end goals. Have a great day!