In his press conference after being drafted 2nd overall in the 2007 NBA draft, Kevin Durant repeated a phrase first used by Tim Notke. He said, "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
You hear about the importance of working hard in life quite often, but before you can work hard at something, you must learn how to do something correctly. Otherwise, all of your work will be wasted. Your basketball coach is the person showing you how to shoot, pass and defend properly. Your coach is the one investing their time in you to make sure that you have all the tools you need to become a successful player. Even the best athletes in the world understand the value of being coachable. In fact, many times this is what makes them the best athletes in their sport.
Below are four basketball quotes that speak to the importance of being coachable and how that can affect you not just on the court, but in life as well.
1. “My best skill was that I was coachable. I was a sponge and aggressive to learn.”
- Michael Jordan
It is widely recognized that Michael Jordan is one of the most skilled players to have ever played in the NBA. Of all the skills he had, (post moves, ability to drive to the basket, his defense, his obsessive competitiveness and work ethic) Jordan himself states that his greatest skill was his coachability. He knew that by soaking up as much knowledge about the sport for every direction that he could, he would be able to use that knowledge when it came down to crunch time. One could argue that his coachability helped him to transform from a kid that once didn't make his high school varsity basketball team, into one of the greatest athletes the sport has ever seen.
2. “As an athlete you have to be coachable. And being coachable is a humbling thing.”
- Rashad Evans
When you think of words to describe an athlete that has made it to the top of their game, humble isn't necessarily a word you think of. However, Rashad Evans, a member of the Mixed Martial Arts Hall of Fame, states that one of the keys to his success was humbling himself enough to become coachable.
It's not always easy for someone who is one of the best athletes in their profession to take advise from someone who is not currently, or may never have been as accomplished as them. But just because someone may not have the same athletic ability as you doesn't mean that their mind isn't designed for this game. Look at Gregg Poppovich as an example. As a basketball player, he was not selected to play for Team USA in the 1972, but he has just been selected to coach Team USA in the 2020 Olympics after coaching the San Antonio Spurs to 5 NBA Championships during his tenure. It goes to show that while your coach might not be able to jump as high as you, your coach has years of experience that will improve your game tremendously. Make sure to pay attention.
3. “You must always be the apprentice. Even when you become the master.”
- Christopher Cumby
As mentioned earlier, Michael Jordan emphasized that learning and staying coachable throughout his career allowed him to become the player he was. In 1991, Jordan was the league leader in points per game, voted season MVP, won his first title and was voted Finals MVP. It would have been easy for him to think that he had mastered his sport, but he continued to be coachable and went on to dominate the league for almost a decade afterwards.
4. “To succeed...at anything, you have to prepare yourself. That means you have to be open, be coachable, and willing to learn.
- Tammi FugittIf you take one thing away from this article, I want it to be this: The only way to be coachable is to humble yourself and accept that others can help you improve. You cannot come in with the mindset of someone who believes that they are naturally talented and only need to tweak the little stuff. Even if you are talented and you really do only need to focus on tweaking the little stuff, don't approach it that way. If you can approach every practice with the enthusiasm and attentiveness that you had when you went to your first basketball camp, you'll be amazed at the improvements in your game.