A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals. – Larry Bird

The best way to get better at basketball is to play as much as you can every single day! There was a point in time where parks and courts would be flooded with athletes playing pick-up basketball. These days, that seems to be a rare find in most areas. Don’t let that be your excuse not to play everyday- Find somewhere to play! Find friends to play with, play by yourself, don’t stop when it gets uncomfortable– keep going. These are all habits of the greatest players of all time! Let’s look at some of the life lessons that Michael Jordan taught us:

10 Lessons from MJ1. You get out of it what you put into it– “If you do the work you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life.”

2. Practice everyday– “I’m not out there sweating for three hours everyday just to find out what it feels like to sweat.”

3. Respond to failure– “Failure makes me work even harder.”

4. Set high goals- “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”

5. Love what you do– “Just play. Have Fun. Enjoy the game.”

6. Stay Focused– ” Never think about what’s at stake… If you start to think about who is going to win, you’ve lost focus.”

7. Never Give Up– “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

8. Don’t be Afraid– “I’ve never been afraid to fail.”

9. Be Optimistic– “Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”

10. Play to Win!– “I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.”

When we look at some of the greatest players of all time, the one thing they all have in common is their desire to be great. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team and went on to become the greatest basketball player of all time. Being skilled at anything isn’t something that you are born with; you have to work at it every single day. When you are trying to decide which basketball program to be a part of in the off-season, go with the one that allows you to touch the basketball and play the most! Anyone that tells you that you are “guaranteed” to get better when you are only playing once or twice a week is not being honest with you. You know what it takes to be great, it’s up to you to decide if you want to put in the work and be the best you can be!