Brilliant at the basics

I was fortunate enough to witness one of the motivational talks of Gilas Pilipinas (the Philippine national Basketball team) coach Chot Reyes (@coachot). Honestly, I don’t closely follow the Philippine Basketball Association which is quite irreverent in a country where basketball is a demi-religion. I did not quite know what to expect from him; after all, I have met some coaches and seen some motivational materials – they will share nuggets of wisdom from their experiences (which you’ll likely forget) and fan the inner flame in you (which will eventually die). How would he be any different, right?

Coach Chot is known to be a brilliant basketball strategist, but apparently he’s also an engaging speaker! His piece was both inspirational and informative, perfectly mixed in a very candid and light talk. He fanned my inner flame and more – it was so huge I can roast lechong baka with it! I wanted to record the talk (clue why I did not record: it was around afternoon, I use a smartphone, no charging station), as there were lots of big, fat chunks of wisdom. One thing I will never forget, though, is his emphasis on being brilliant at the basics.

In this day and age of social media where the thirst for flashy highlight reels is hardly quenched, one might ask: is it still worth investing time and effort on being brilliant at the basics? With a firm, concrete, strong, solid, 100% conviction, I think it’s a yes!

The concept of basics extends to other facets of life other than sports; it encompasses your academics, careers, businesses, and even relationships (e.g. huhuhu! We broke up, we don’t have common ground). Basics, from the root word base, entail the development of the fundamentals and building of a foundation, both of which are necessary for one to excel in a certain field. You cannot move on and grow if you have a shaky, unstable base. Developing the fundamentals, or the basic skills and actions, is necessary for you to execute the activity the way it’s supposed to be done. Building the foundation, or the knowledge and understanding, goes hand in hand in keeping you on the right track. The Coach Potato was created so you can eventually choose among tons-load of activities, equip you with information so you can start off, and cheer you as you go on and become brilliant in your chosen path!

Ground rules
Before we start off with our journey, it’s fair that we first establish some ground rules so you become brilliant at the basics right away, and of course enjoy the experiences fully!

  1. Listen – I cannot put more emphasis on how important it is for us beginners to listen. As we immerse ourselves in new adventures, sports, and hobbies, it’s critical for us to listen to instructions to ensure safety, as well as speed up our familiarity with the activity. Now you know why your teacher got mad when you were noisy. She just wanted you to… listen.
  2. Communicate – After listening and soaking in the instructions, you then communicate. You communicate with the instructor to clarify, you communicate with your peers to know if your understanding is correct, you communicate with your team to get everybody onboard, you even communicate with yourself to manage your expectations. Communication is vital in making sure everybody is on the same page, and yep, including you!
  3. Open your mind – Sure, you’ve seen Kobe Bryant’s sick basketball moves, so why practice dribbling, right? Why not focus on no-look passes, fade-away jumpers, and killer cross-overs? There are numerous anecdotes highlighting Kobe Bryant’s work ethic especially during practices, so before your ego takes center stage, remember that there’s a lot of things going on in the background that you have to consider. Maybe Kobe was practicing his shots a gazillion times, that’s why during game days his moves are full of finesse. In our example, the primary goal is to bring the basketball into the basket and score; looking good on Instagram should be far, far second. Open your mind and don’t let your previous knowledge and prejudice ruin your experience. Before you delve into those hyphenated, fancy-shmancy moves, you got to leave your ego at the door, listen, communicate, open your mind, and strive to be brilliant at the basics.

Now that the stage is set, shall we start?


The story behind The Coach Potato

Much like my generation-mates, I was hooked on the internet. I never thought that social media sign-ups could change your life though, until I came across the questions – What are your hobbies? What are your interests? Share more about yourself?

Well, I adore Mexican food. It’s the best food ever – you get your dose of go, grow, and glow food in one bite. I go to the gym occasionally. My favorite TV series are Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Spartacus. I play the guitar sometimes. I like browsing the internet.

So that’s it? Man, I need to spice up my life.

It wasn’t like this before – I used to write poems, used to sketch, used to be a Football varsity when I was in fourth grade, used to be a member of the drama club in high school – all of which, eventually, ran out of steam. Regrets are nothing but a waste of energy and emotions, though I can’t help but think what life could have been had I not quit football.

While browsing the internet, one of my listed hobbies, I came across the Facebook page of the Philippine Volcanoes, the national Rugby team. They had an open invitation for people to try and experience Rugby. Hmmmmm.. maybe this is my chance to redeem myself for quitting too soon on Football. I love burritos, I like browsing the internet, and I play Rugby. Not bad!

After much thinking and consideration (overthinking kills the fun, trust me), I decided to join one of the Rugby 101 sessions. Indeed, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That was a freaking near-death experience for a fat, unfit guy like me! They made me run three laps, goodness gracious!

I joined just to have fun, but got emotionally invested along the way. What started out as a hobby, eventually became a passion of mine. Today, I play Rugby, American Football, and occasionally Football (the one that got away).

After trying out Rugby, my mind became more open to experiencing new things. I tried out Yoga, Flag Football, Surfing, Archery, Crossfit, and some few other things. I have yet to muster enough courage and swagger to try Zumba, but that’s in the pipeline!

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a sports-buff, gym-rat, athlete-wannabe. I’m just a regular dude who is now always hungry (well, yeah.. quite literally, too) for the next adventure.

This small slice of the cyber cake called The Coach Potato wants you to discover new adventures, sports, hobbies, and connect you with people who can make them a reality; basically, give you an extra nudge so you embark on your own journey. Embrace life and the wonderful adventures you’ll encounter.

Always be on the lookout for your next first time!