Dedication is essential for success in anything, but especially in basketball. The game is so competitive, if you aren't dedicated, you won't make it.
The top players at every level spend hours and hours on the court and in the weight room making their strengths stronger, tightening up their applicable weaknesses, and being students of the game. That is dedication.
A powerful quote from legendary Coach Don Meyer comes to mind:
"There are two pains in life. The pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Take your choice."
Being dedicated means accepting the pain of discipline and answering 3 questions:
- What do you want? (ex. play college or pro basketball)
- What will it take to get it? (ex. time, effort, consistency)
- Will you pay the price? (make sacrifices, dedicate yourself)
While it may be urban legend, I heard that back in his prime, Tiger Woods used to make 100 consecutive 10-foot putts to end every practice. That is 100 in a row, not 100 total. If he missed his 92nd putt, he started over! That is dedication.
An appropriate equivalent would be free throws. Are you dedicated enough to end every workout by making 5 or 10 or 25 consecutive free throws?
Tiger went on to say: "If people knew how dedicated I was, they wouldn't think this came so easy to me."
Another example of dedication is the NBA early bus. There are two buses that head to the arena before every road game. The early bus heads over 3 hours before tip-off and the late bus heads over 90 minutes before tip-off. The players on the early bus are usually rookies and guys that need to prove themselves. They go over early to get up extra shots and work on their game.
I heard that the Spurs organization said "if our best player can take the early bus, then everyone can take the early bus." Needless to say the Spurs only take one bus to the arena now!
Top players and coaches understand that dedication isn't a sometimes thing... it is an all of the time thing. You can't be kind of dedicated.
You are either dedicated or you're not; there is no in between.
Are you dedicated?