Reflection: These Guys Make It Look Easy
I’m going to guess that we see this 45-second clip very differently. To some, it could be about studying the drill.
To others, it may be counting the made baskets. To me, it’s completely different.
These guys make it look easy.
I’ve played basketball. I’ve watched way too many games. And, I’ve attended quite a few as well. But no matter how experienced that I think I am, I’m not an NBA player.
What they do is extraordinary. It’s so incredible that these guys make it look effortless. I once equated their natural abilities to a “lazy” style of NBA play. But now, that has turned into an insane appreciation of these world-class athletes.
I forgot that just because I can shoot a basketball, have watched a game or attended a few off-season workouts, that none of those things make me a professional basketball player. It took me getting in the gym and trying to pick up the simplest of moves to put that into perspective.
We don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy and think that we’re a doctor. After a season of Suits, we’re not any closer to being a lawyer. Even passing a basic college accounting class doesn’t make us a CPA.
So, what allows us to judge athletic professionals based on our experience?
If I had to answer, I would say it is because we forget to appreciate what it takes.
Yes, shooting a basketball is a skill. But, making that same shot with an NBA player running at you, at an efficient percentage, over 82+ games… That’s incredible.
Even when you play as a child, developing your game is relatively easy. When you are working with a clean slate, any skill acquisition is huge.
At the professional level, noticeable improvements only result from hours and hours of repetition. In order to gain the slightest competitive advantage, these athletes have to obsess over milliseconds.
See, a millisecond could be the difference between a made shot or a blocked shot. A millisecond could also be the difference between finding an open teammate or committing a turnover.
Most times, the average viewer won’t even be able to see the millisecond. You have probably heard the phrase, “You’re only as good as your competition.” Well, a millisecond of improvement only works if the professional athlete is BETTER than their competition. Being able to have a quicker shot is wonderful. But if you can’t shoot faster than an elite defender can block you, that millisecond doesn’t matter.
Understanding this, we need to realize that a millisecond is not achieved by only learning a new move. It happens after the point of mastery and during the unattainable chase to perfection. If a player can make noticeable improvements and stand out against the best athletes in the world... They are incredible.
I’ll be the first to admit that I, too often, forget. Forget to appreciate the professionals. Forget to highlight the small hurdles. And, forget to celebrate the major strides.
So, may the simplest of moves always remind us to leave our unprofessional opinions with our unhung degrees and just appreciate the craft and sweat of the athlete.
Simply put, it’s not easy.