When you are learning your sport you will make mistakes. It is human to make mistakes. Great basketball players are often given constructive criticisms during games and while live on television. Great basketball players listen to the feedback and use it to improve their games. Not all criticism is constructive and it can be hurtful at times. When one plays a sport that is public and out in the open for everyone to watch and judge your performance, one has to develop the ability to perform and do one’s best in the face of one’s critics. You as a player of a team sport must continue to believe in yourself, learn from the mistake, and move on.

Sometimes mistakes happen because they are accidents and there is nothing to learn except to continue to believe in your abilities. This can be the toughest lesson of all to learn when playing on court with your team. Accidents sometimes happen to the very best of us all. This is not the end of the world nor should you feel bad about being human. If you feel embarrassed that is a normal response to a mistake. It is ok to feel your emotions and then let the bad feelings go. Michael Jordan said, »I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.« This quote illustrates that even the best professional basketball players make mistakes. They develop and grow too.

When your coach and teammate give you constructive criticism you just have to hear them out calmly and go over their words with the rational perspective that this will make you a better player. If you disagree with the criticism understand that you have a right to your own opinion too. Discuss this feedback with an open mind. Review videotape of the game or the practice and try to see things through the eyes of the people who are giving you the feedback. Don’t let it dishearten you or shake your self-confidence.

Sometimes it may just be a difference of opinion. Remember to take a deep breath, remain calm, and speak in an even tone when you disagree with a criticism. Also realize that those who can allow others to discuss their playing methods and remain calm are viewed by society as people who have strength of character. You are participating in a team sport where you have to use team work to win a game. This means that you will interact with many types of personalities. This can cause conflict amongst your team and some criticisms may be spoken. Just remember to remain respectful even in your honesty.

To finish this thought I want you to contemplate something else Michael Jordan the great NBA player says, »I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.« That means more than getting the ball in the hoop, we as players need to strive to be at our best as humans. If someone is giving you a constructive criticism listen attentively. See how it applies to your life. If it is hurtful let it go. At least you know in your heart that you are doing your best as a person and basketball player.

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