How I Know You’ll Play Well

Theresa: “You know how I can tell you’re gonna have a good game?” 

Me: “Ummm, no. What’s that?”

Theresa: “When I see you smile out there on the court.” 

As a kid, I took the game seriously. I practiced hard. I was disciplined. I was consistent. I played to win. But, I probably cared too much. I tried to avoid mistakes. I didn’t quite play with the freedom that great players do. 

The solution? Smile. 

If you’ve put in the work, then game day is a time to enjoy. It’s what you put in all that work for anyways, right? 

Prepare like a pro. Detailed, intense, and purposeful. Show up even when you don’t feel like it. Challenge yourself. 

Play like a kid. Let loose. Get out of your head and allow your instincts to take over. Have fun. Laugh. Smile. 

Research shows that even forcing a smile can improve performance. Theresa told me to simply smile the next time I missed a play, was whistled for a bad foul, or during a tense moment in a game. It’s incredible how it’d put me in a more positive, can-do frame of mind.

This isn’t a cheesy (pun intended) message to bring false positivity to your situation. This is about responding well to adversity and delivering in the clutch. Smiling can help you do just that while also communicating confidence to your team.

It’s a reminder to not take myself so seriously. I may not be on a court — but whether I’m in a business meeting, in a broadcasting booth, or at home with my family, a smile can set the stage for a more enjoyable experience and better approach to all of it.

Have a great day. Keep smiling!

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