As a kid, all I wanted to do each summer was attend every basketball camp in the area. This week, I hosted my own camp for the first time. It was special to be back in my hometown and on the other side of the whistle. I enjoy teaching the fundamentals of the game, but more importantly, I’m passionate about using ball to teach bigger lessons. This week I gave a daily message to the campers, and I wanted to share them with you. I’m confident they apply to anyone…
Monday: Your value comes from who you are, not what you do.
This is a truth I wanted everyone to know from ‘the jump’. I told the campers I didn’t care if they are the best basketball player in their school or the worst. Each and every one of them has tremendous value and matters. I communicated a threefold focus for the week:
Work Hard: Push yourself. Get out of your comfort zone.
Make Mistakes: “Winners make the most mistakes.” – John Wooden. If you aren’t making mistakes, then you’re not getting better. Basketball (and life!) is a game of mistakes. It’s the response to mistakes that matters.
Have Fun: If you can learn to enjoy the hard work of anything (basketball/another sport/subject in school/etc.), then you have a chance to be special in that particular thing. Enjoying the process is the key to persistence.
Tuesday: Turn your hopes into habits.
Every camper put their hands up when I asked who wants to be a good basketball player. That’s great! A dream is where it all begins. But my challenge was this question from Alan Stein, “Are the habits you have today on par with the dreams you have for tomorrow?” It’s easy to dream. It’s tough to show up every day with incredible intensity and the attention to detail required to excel.
Wednesday: Compete don’t compare.
It’s not about being better, it’s about getting better! It never benefits or betters us to compare ourselves to others. You can always find someone better or further along — don’t get discouraged. You can always find someone worse or behind you — don’t get complacent or egotistical. Stop comparing yourself to others, and start competing with yourself to become your best.
Thursday: “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
I spoke to the campers about how the intangibles they demonstrate on the court will translate to other areas of life. We specifically talked about two – work ethic and focus. I told them, “This is an opportunity to grow in these areas. No matter if basketball is your greatest passion or not, this camp is an opportunity to be 100% engaged and focused. It’s an opportunity to become the type of person that gives everything they have toward the task at hand.”
Friday: Let go of the outcome and embrace the journey.
Outcomes are important, but understand they’re often out of your control. Focus on what you do have complete control over — your attitude, your energy, your mental preparation, your attention to detail, your daily discipline. This is what embracing the process is all about. It also happens to allow us to perform well under pressure and find joy in the grind of pursuing greatness.
2 thoughts on “Summer Camp Messages”
You are a terrific role model for these young people. Whether they continue playing basketball or not, you have given them some valuable tools and life lessons.
This is no surprise to me. I saw your strong character, intelligence, and determination when I taught you in third grade. It’s been a pleasure to follow your success as you continued your education and career.
I don’t know what your plans are for the future. I wish you all the best. Selfishly, I hope you will hold more summer basketball camps at Savoy Recreation Center. I think other young boys and girls could benefit from what you have to share ( maybe one day even my grandson).
Good luck, Sally Shores
Mrs. Shores!! Great to hear from you, and I appreciate the encouraging message! You were a part of building my character at a young age – thank you for that! I do plan on doing more camps in the future, so please stay tuned — basketball is great, but my passion in USING the game for bigger purposes. Hopefully some messages during camp are able to plant seeds for these young kids!