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

New Orleans Hornets to Change Name to Pelicans

This is a tad off topic, but it’s definitely worth blogging about.

According to Yahoo! Sports, the New Orleans Hornets are reportedly going to change their team name to the New Orleans Pelicans effective for the 2013-2014 season.

Team owner Tom Benson, who bought the Hornets back in April and is the owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, has wanted to change the name of the team to something that would be fitting to the state of Louisiana.

The pelican is the official state bird of Louisiana, and it appears on the state flag and seal as well. The Pelicans were also a minor league baseball team based in New Orleans from 1887-1977.

As far as the The New Orleans Hornets go, the team first started out as the Charlotte Hornets back during the 1988-1989 season. In 2002, they moved to New Orleans and kept the same name. Meanwhile, the league granted the city of Charlotte an expansion team for the 2004-2005 season, which would end up being the Charlotte Bobcats.

Analysis

When I first heard the Hornets were reportedly going to change their team name I kind of laughed. I mean can you see players telling their agents, “I want to be a Pelican!”

Besides, I find pelicans to be kind of creepy. Those long beaks and mouths are just freaky. I think I feel like this because they remind me of that flying dinosaur from the mediocre Jurassic Park 3who trampled all over a main character, and tried to bring another to feed to its young. Just creepy, but I won’t hate on pelicans. That’s just the way they were made. It’s not their fault.

Now that the news has sunk in, I understand where Brown is coming from. A pelican is part of Louisiana’s history, which I respect. However, If we’re going to change names, we might as well change the names of the Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, and Memphis Grizzlies.

It would’ve been nice to see the Hornets become the Jazz again like they were during the days of ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich. I also like the idea of the New Orleans Sound. It’s a fitting alternative to the Jazz, and a nice tribute to the musical past that New Orleans offers.

I also find it interesting that Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan is open to the idea of bringing back the Hornets name to Charlotte. Apparently, there’s a small group of fans who long for the past to a point where more fans are wearing the old-school Hornets apparel rather than wearing Bobcats apparel.

We shall see.

Photo (cc) by bertknot and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.