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This is going to be a quick Blog Post on the subject. You hear the word Pro being thrown around a lot in our game. You can't go 5 seconds without hearing if you want to be a pro you ned to do this or you need to do that. In the end it is all subjective I guess. Everyone sees the game differently and that's what makes it so great.
From being around Pros at all levels and working with one of the best of all time in Kobe Bryant I have my own definition of what a "PRO" is. I think players at all levels and the coaches that work with them can take something from this. Being a great pro isn't the points that you put up or what level a player that you are.
Ask Yourself what a Pro is?
The answer that most give me is that its a player that gets paid to play the sport. No that's not what a "PRO" is in my book. A "PRO" is someone that prepares at a high level day in and day out regardless of how they feel or what kind a day they are having.
In my 24 years of working with professional basketball players here are my traits of a true "PRO"
EARLY TO EVERYTHING- Team Meetings, Practices, Pre Game Shooting, Workouts, Class , Study Hall... The list goes on and on. A True professional sets the tone of the whole team and is early to everything no excuses. They are not the player that makes it by the skin of their teeth. They are prepared and know that the only way they can take themselves and their team tot he next level is by being addicted to beating everyone to the gym
PUT THE REPS IN ON THE COURT- Getting their daily routine of shots, defensive work, and any other skill that they have to work on in on a daily basis. They work on the situations that they will see themselves in at games. They self correct if need be, but every rep is at game speed and they are focused at the task at hand.
THEY PREPARE FOR THEIR OPPONENT- They know their playbook, they know their team's game plan, but most importantly they study their opponent. They know the opponent's top 5 plays that they like to run and know their personnel and strengths/weaknesses. They know to put their team in position to win they need to prepare and know what their opponent will do before they do it.
THEY TAKE CARE OF THEIR BODY-This means rest the night before, work in the weight room, stretching, cardio, and post workout stretching ICE, etc. Diet is key to fuel the body and maximize it to their advantage. Professionals understand that their body is what will get them to the next level on the court. They take it serious and never strays away from their routine of taking care of it and keeping it string and refreshed.
TAKE COACHING AND CRITIQUING- Nobody likes being criticized , but its part of the job. You have to understand that coaches are trying to win and want to maximize every possession that they can. Professionals listen to their coaches and allow them to do their job. They don't always have to agree, but they need to respect their coaches work and understand that they are trying to help them.
ENCOURAGE TEAMMATES- It could be talking to teammates on off the floor to keep them engaged and focused at the task at hand. It could be cheering for them in practice or in games when they do something well. Professionals understand that the whole team needs to be a unit. It doesn't matter if they are up 30 or down 30 in first place or last place the team is only as good as how its members are linked.
PUT IN THE WORK IN THE OFF SEASON- The off season is where players are built. True Professionals have a plan to follow and will get to the court/weight room/track during the off season and put their work in. Routine is everything to a "PRO" and they never stray from it. Preparation has to take precedent. Its easy to coast in the off season and go at a slower pace, but a true "PRO" Brings it daily.
I could have listed countless things, but wanted to stop there. It's hard being a professional because being a good one means that you bring it everyday. It's easy to say that you want to be a "PRO" but walking the walk everyday takes a special type of person. You can be a PRO at any level, but you have to understand that you need to live by a code every day and bring it everyday. Bringing it everyday is what a true "PRO" is all about. I've worked with true professionals that averaged 2.3 points per game and ones that averaged 37 points per game. Being a True "PRO" is about having the mindset of a "PRO" it has noting to do with what the stat sheet says at the end of the night.