As players we all want to play as hard as we can for as long as we can, but that is easier said than done. One of the skills that was a huge part of JJ Redick’s success was Competitive Stamina. Redick defines Competitive Stamina as “being able to sustain your competitive spirit”. Redick knew that he was never going to be the quickest, tallest, or most athletic person on the court (especially in the NBA) , but one skill he could rely on was his competitiveness. Redick made it a goal to be the most competitive person on the floor at all times.
So what does being a competitor actually mean? Being competitive or being a competitor is a skill that can be obtained by everyone. Just like any skill it takes consistency to utilize it effectively. Not only does it affect game play but it carries over into different areas as well. The more you can use competitiveness in a healthy way, the more your competitive stamina will grow.
On the court: The most competitive players are going to do whatever it takes to win, no matter how big or small the task. Some of my favorite examples of competitiveness would be sitting down in a defensive stance and staying with your defender (EVERY POSSESSION), diving for loose balls, and staying engaged on the bench. It’s easy to do these things once or twice, but doing them every time they arise takes mental toughness and competitive greatness.
During practice: Being a competitor means competing outside of the actual competition itself. Give 100% of your effort every rep/every practice. This is where true competitors thrive. Another way to show competitiveness in practice is by challenging your teammates. Keeping your teammates accountable and making sure they are giving it their all is a great way to create a competitive environment in practice. If the team is giving 100% effort in practice, everybody benefits.
Not caring about who gets the credit: The goal of a true competitor is to win. To achieve the goal of winning a competitor is willing to sacrifice their own stat line for the sake of the team’s success. Competitors are going to put the team first and help put them in the best situation to succeed. There are multiple ways to put the team first. Feeding the hot hand, guarding the best player on the court, crashing the boards, and stepping outside of your normal role for the sake of the team are all examples of putting the team first.
During the off-season: How much time are you putting into basketball when nobody is watching? It is easier to work on your game, when practice is scheduled or the coach is telling you to get in the gym, but when nobody is keeping you accountable it is much harder. In the off-season, sacrifice time to practice, stay consistent, and go out of your way to bring your teammates alongside you.
In the classroom: Your drive to compete should also be reflected in the classroom. The best competitors have a drive to learn and make themselves well rounded individuals. Make school just as important as basketball.
Gaining Competitive Stamina can be very similar to building your endurance. The more you train and practice, the more in shape you will be. The more you can incorporate competitiveness into your life, practices, games, etc. the more effective you will be on the court. Competitive stamina is a mental and physical skill that can make anyone a more effective player. Competitiveness can also be infectious. If one player lifts the competitive nature of the team, the rest of the team will follow. Teams who are the most competitive are usually the teams who have the most success.