Guest Post from Lamar Hull on the Benefits of Practice

 

Lamar Hull is a former NCAA college basketball player from Davidson College in North Carolina, who also played on the European professional circuit. He now writes for Direct2tv. He poses an interesting question about the 10,000 hours of practice theory.

As a former basketball player with two NCAA tournaments and a professional tour in Europe behind me, I can confirm that Dr. K. Anders Ericsson’s theory about the quantity of practice required for success is true. Continually setting small goals works, and mental commitment is key. But the more you practice, the further you will go.

Pete Maravich, an NBA Hall of Famer, was a childhood idol of mine. Not just because of his raw talent for basketball, but because of his attitude and his tireless work ethic. He has a desire to be better than the last day, every day.

I decided to model my discipline after his. I started with dribbling drills in the driveway. I practiced shots for hours alone. His homework basketball drills is what molded my game in to what it is now. His drills challenged you to be uncomfortable so that you could become a better player by mastering unique drills.

The discipline continued through middle school, and eventually high school. While other kids were planning sleepovers and frequenting the mall, I dedicated myself to hours of practice. When I wasn’t playing for my middle school team, I was playing pickup games in the neighborhood. It was my practice regimen and perseverance that got me recognition from the varsity team coaches as a freshman.

I played varsity basketball all four years of high school and carried a reputation as a hard worker both on and off the court. I am short so I envisioned my game like former Celtics’ point guard and Hall of Famer, Nate Archibald. His nickname was ‘Tiny’ so I had something to relate too. But there was nothing tiny about Archibald’s game.

I decided I wanted to play college ball, and eventually go pro. I would stop at nothing to achieve those goals, and I would use practice as an avenue to get there.

But I went to a small high school in a small town. College scouts didn’t visit our high school games. I imagine for a lot of young athletes, this is where the road would end.

Mine didn’t.

Even after my senior season ended, I kept practicing. I knew if I kept my skill level constant and took matters into my own hands, I would reach my goal of playing professional basketball.

I wrote to colleges and universities, and sent packages documenting my basketball skills. I ended up earning a walk-on role at Davidson College, a Division I-AA school. I was able to play with Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry. We went to the NCAA tournament twice. Afterwards, I was offered a contract to play professional basketball for the Kings Lynn Fury in England.

It wasn’t the NBA, but it was still professional basketball. I set a goal a long time ago and I made it.

How did I get there?

It wasn’t my height (I’m 5’9″). I didn’t get “discovered” by a scout. I didn’t play for the top high school team in the nation. I didn’t play for the NCAA championship team. I didn’t have any outrageous high scoring records. It wasn’t for any of the reasons we typically see the top athletes in team sports excel.

It was practice, practice, practice, and more practice. Practice brought me to the goal I set for myself so many years ago.

According to the Ericsson’s theory, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve incredible success. I don’t know if I hit that threshold, or if I’d be deemed as a success like Michael Jordan. But I achieved my own version of success, I accomplished my goal.

I can tell you with full confidence that practice IS without a doubt the key to success. Whether you are playing an individual sport, or a team sport, practice determines your destiny.

Photo was supplied from Hull and can be found on his website inspirationalbasketball.com

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Happy 66th Birthday Jo Jo White

Another Celtics legend’s birthday has arrived. This time it’s for the clutch shooter Jo Jo White who turned 66 years old today.

For fans who don’t know him, White was a staple for the Celtics during the 1970s.

In 1969, the 6’3″ point guard was drafted out of the University of Kansas by legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach. He was part of the Kansas team that went up against Texas Western and their all-black starting lineup, which inspired the movie Glory Road. Kansas ended up losing a double overtime thriller to Texas Western, in the Midwest regional final (Texas Western went on to win the championship).

When White was drafted, Celtics’ legend Bill Russell was on his way out as player/coach. The 1970s would start off slow where the Celtics would miss the playoffs for two season. However the tide would start changing when White, along with Dave Cowens, and John Havlicek would lead the C’s to two championships during the 1974 and 1976 seasons.

During White’s career he made the All Star team seven straight seasons from 1971 to 1977. He would also finish in the top ten in assists for five consecutive seasons from 1972 to 1977.

However, the biggest moment in his career occurred during the 1976 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns. In Game 5, he scored 33 points in 60 minutes during a thrilling triple-overtime victory, which is considered by many fans and media personalities to be the greatest game in NBA history. His performance earned him the NBA Finals MVP award.

White’s career with the Celtics ended in 1979 when he was traded to the Golden State Warriors. His career officially ended in 1981 after he played several games for the Kansas City Kings.

In 1982, the Celtics retired his number 10 to the Boston Garden rafters to live forever among the team’s greats.

It’s also interesting to note that White isn’t in the Hall of Fame, but according to Basketball Reference, he has the highest Hall of Fame probability rate among players who played pre-1990.

Here is a video of White making a game winning shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during Game 1 of the 1977 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals:

Picture is from the author of this blog’s personal media library. Some rights reserved.