Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Lessons from Basketball

I have played basketball since primary school and despite the injuries and what not, it really has been one of the more influential parts of my life. I have met most of my better friends through basketball, and despite St Andrews best efforts, managed to play basketball for the full six years of my stay there. Team sports offer lots of informal education and teaches you lessons that you can apply to all aspects of life.

I attribute most of my learning in this area to a certain Mr Conan Doyle ,basketball coach for four of my six years at the school. He taught me that to get the best out of people you don't scream, shout and insult at someone to teach them (See Dick Dunne school of coaching), instead he would bring you aside, ask you what you think you did wrong and then teach you the correct way and made sure you understood him until the message was clear and the lesson was taught. These lessons can be applied to life, and nowhere more clearly than the world of business. For example, you are a manager and you have people working for you, but they are making mistakes and working slow, presented with 2 options you can... a) scream, shout and possibly assault them, OR b) ask them whats wrong, find out the problem and fix it. This may sound obvious but I have seen this time and time again, from basketball coaches to shop managers and even in college projects.
Another gem i took from Conan Doyle was "practice as you mean to play"
Again this seems obvious, but if you train at half intensity for a basketball game, when you need to actually go full steam ahead, you cant, its uncharted territory because you haven't been there yet. Similarly if you study for a few days before the exam and don't practice timed answers, come the exams you wont be able to answer them. It disappoints me that time and time again when we have class presentations in college that people don't seem to improve at all, why?
Because they practice as they mean to play, either badly or not at all.

No comments: