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?

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