Coaches Corner with Kyle Ohman

Kyle Ohman is our special guest writer for his unique perspective on how basketball and life intersect. Kyle is a former NCAA player and current coach who trains current athletes on their paths to greatness. For more information about Coach Kyle visit...

One of the best things about sports is the parallels that it has with life. All of the challenges, struggles, accomplishments, and success of playing a sport like basketball allows for a better preparation for life. From youth players to professionals, there are so many things that the game of basketball continues to teach its participants.

Unfortunately, like most things in life, you can only learn if you are willing to accept the teaching. So while basketball and other sports are always teaching, only some are able to take advantage of it while others seem stuck trying to learn the same lessons over and over again.

The important thing to remember is that there is never a bad time to make a great decision. So while you may not play sports anymore, there is still plenty of time to choose to do the right thing and continue to pursue choices that are going to allow you to be the high-character person that you want to be.

So take advantage of these five characteristics between being successful in basketball and life, and start applying them to the person that you want to be today.

Getting the Job Done

In order to have a chance at success, there are going to be sacrifices that have to be made. There are going to be times when you don't feel like working hard or are tired of doing something mundane. In times like these, though, you must continue to push forward and get the job done. It is times like these that you must be able to look deep and find the motivation to get the job done.

Playing basketball in college, we always had preseason conditioning that we had to do as a team. And while it varied, for the most part, we had to complete are running drill called 22's. They are called 22's because you must sprint the length of the floor and back twice in under 22 seconds. It doesn't sound that hard doing one by itself, but part of the drill is only allowing 22 seconds of rest time before the next 22.

Before official practices started, we had to, as a team, complete twenty 22's, and if one person didn't make it, that 22 didn't count towards the 20. As you can imagine, there were times when this wasn't very fun.

This is how life is sometimes; it takes periods of preparation or working at something that isn't very fun in order to set yourself up to have a chance at being successful. When you find yourself in times of life like this, remember, to keep pushing forward and get the job done, regardless of how long it takes or how hard it is.

Mental Toughness

When you think about basketball in general, you typically think about physical feats. Whether it is dunking the ball, flying up the floor, knocking down three's, or whatever it may be. What often gets overlooked, though, is the mental toughness that must be developed if you want to be successful. Yes, the best players are physically gifted, but without also having the mental toughness to go along with it, they won't get much done.

As a current basketball trainer in Tampa, Florida, I am always stressing this with my clients. When I am putting them through different drills, one of my goals is to challenge them mentally as well. Whether it is switching up the details of the drill when they are tired, or pushing them beyond what they think they can do, my goal is always to be developing their mental toughness.

It should be the same for you in your everyday life. The more you can develop your mental toughness in whatever you do, the more successful you will be at it. If you can train your mind to give, just that little bit more, work just that little bit harder, and so on, you are going to set yourself up to be successful. It is up to you to continue to push yourself and challenge yourself as you go.

Being a Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself

If you look at any of the great basketball teams, you will see that a big part of their success was each player buying into being a part of something bigger than themselves. If every player tried to do it their own way or tried to rely solely on their own abilities, the team would've stumbled and fallen, which is what happens to a lot of teams with struggling leadership.

This is the same way in the business world. If you want your organization to be successful, it has to have a We over Me mindset. Individuals must sacrifice personal pursuits for the good of the team/company. This is not always easy to cultivate, but it is worth spending time investing in. And, whether you are the CEO of the company or hold an entry-level position, you can help add to this type of culture, or sabotage it by how you choose to speak to others, your own personal actions, and so on.

The second part of why you should want to be a part of something bigger than yourself is because it makes it so much more enjoyable. When you can share pursuits and success with like-minded people, it just makes it so much more valuable in the end.

Handling Failure

A big part of sports and life is being able to experience failure, and then react from it. In the course of a basketball season, very rarely will you be a part of a team that is playing their best the whole season. This means that you are going to experience losses and failures. What separates the winners from the losers is how these losses and failures are handled.

If fingers start to be pointed, or a mindset of not being good enough comes, it is going to be a long year. On the flip side, if failures are evaluated, learned from, and then moved on from, there is a chance for growth and success. This is the mindset that you need to have in your everyday life.

Just because you failed at something doesn't mean you are a failure. It means you failed, and now you need to figure out a new way to get the job done. After playing professionally, I helped to start, which is an online training resource for basketball coaches and players all around the world. The problem was, I knew basketball, but I didn't know the first thing about websites. That first couple of years, I experienced too many failures and mistakes to count, but I kept growing and learning.

This is the mindset that you need to have with whatever you are pursuing. Don't allow setbacks or failures to deter you from what you believe to be your calling. It may take some struggles and a lot of growth, but that is okay, it will only help to make you more mentally tough, and that much wiser.

A Continued Pursuit of Excellence

As a coach or player, it could be a constant pursuit of knowledge and using all of the different basketball resources out there. As a business professional, it may be attending conferences, reading, getting new certifications, pursuing new degrees, and so on. Whatever your profession is, you must have a continued pursuit of excellence.

This will, one, allow you always to be adding more value to what you can bring to the table. But secondly, it will give you a growth mindset and the mindset to always be challenging yourself to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

Characteristics of Successful Basketball Career and Life Conclusion

When it comes to playing basketball and doing life, there is a right way to do things. It isn't a laid out step by step plan, but there are fundamental pillars that can help set you up to have a successful career and life. It is also a mindset that you continue to develop and cultivate as you go.

So start with these five characteristics of being successful, and continue to develop them and add to them as you go. Before long, you will be able to look back and see all of the growth that you have been able to experience.

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