• BJ Mumford, B.S.S

Is your player getting burnt out by “Grinding”?

I grew up helping my dad refinish furniture in his restoration business. One of the first “jobs” I had (age 8?) was sanding the flat wooden surfaces in preparation for stain and lacquer. My enthusiastic scrubbing would cause the sandpaper to quickly get gummed up with old finish residue while I continued sliding my sanding block back and forth, accomplishing less and less.


Dad would check in on me, and immediately notice that my sandpaper was becoming useless, and show me how to change it out to a fresh surface.

Sweet relief! Seeing the effect on the visible removal of the surface, I would redouble my efforts and quickly make 5x the progress in only half the time I had spent using a gummed up piece of sandpaper!






Your player has big dreams of becoming a basketball star, and they likely have the potential motivation to work very hard toward that dream - if they only had an effective process, the right tools, and the ability to see tangible results.


Popular sport culture touts “The Grind” as the highest ideal of practice - lots of activity, hours in the gym, sweat, blood, and whatever other token indicators of hard work a player can find. Posting “unseen hours” on Instagram (which makes them no longer unseen - btw), is a popular way to show off how much you are “grinding”.



The question we have to ask, is are these players using fresh sandpaper?



Sanding is stage two in the process of refinishing, coming after the use of a chemical stripper that softens and removes the old finish. Attempting to sand off everything without first preparing the surface by stripping off the majority of the finish is like “grinding” on the basketball court without an effective process - no method for prioritizing what to work on, reason for working on that particular skill, or identifying the result your player expects to achieve.


Players are left with trying to achieve their dreams with pure elbow grease, using gummed up sandpaper on an unstripped surface! The result is a lot of effort without effect, and unfortunately - but understandably - for many players the end result is burn out.


They used up all of their enthusiasm, motivation, and effort on ineffective tasks that did not produce results or translate to games, and they concluded that the problem was them - they were just not good enough, did not “want it” badly enough, or despite all of that effort - did not work hard enough.



What players need in my opinion is a 3 step process:


  1. Simplify and focus - identify specifically what they want (Strip away all non-essential factors)

  2. Design a practice process - priority, sequence, progression (Make sure sanding comes after stripping)

  3. Then apply effort (Sand with fresh sandpaper!)



Our Focus Funnel in step 2 of the Play Practice Formula is one of my favorite weeks of the program. We get to simplify and focus your player’s attention on only 3 priorities, but even more importantly, we are setting objective measurement standards for what we want to achieve in those 3 priority areas - usually for the first time in their playing career.


They are left with the feeling of certainty in 4 ways:


  1. Certain of what they want to improve on

  2. Certain of where they are currently

  3. Certain of their objectives for the next 90 days

  4. Certain that they will make measurable progress that they can see!


With certainty comes confidence, and that is the #1 result that parents and players talk about after working with us. See our testimonial videos on Youtube





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