GUEST POST: Arto Palovaara – The Significant Difference Between A Bad Player And A Good Player

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Life is filled with paradoxes. I could count 100s, 1000s, or even 10000s. But here is one: a good player can lose a game and fail to pass and score on the court, even drop a ball or a puck so that it will be a turnover. Doesn’t sound in the first place like fortune, right?

And another paradox is that a bad player can win games. Quite odd, isn’t it?

Yet, there are differences that make a good player win in the long run and a bad player never feel the taste of a cup-victory. Or even having a good career in general, or a good life even if they have won something.

This from my own experience as basketball coach for a youth team several years ago: You always, or at least 90% of the time, hear from a bad player that it was because of the referee, it was because of the ground, that it depended on certain situations during the game, and well… why not the equipment as well, like wrong shoes, clothes or the ball, stick or puck…and further “bollocks” while finding thousands of other excuses why they lose a game or not reaching the top.

And remember this: a good player doesn’t have to win a series or a league, he or she can have a great, tremendous career by having fun and feeling good. That’s a sign of a true winner, not just on the court but life in general. Good players mostly remember every day of his or her career with joy no matter the position. While bad players are never happy and don’t enjoy their achievement at all if they reached any, or despite how many medals are hanging down the neck or buckets standing in the cupboard.

Quite, if not very often, good players use fewer words why: I didn’t have enough skill, not enough experience, they were better, we met a superior opponent today, and we have to practice a lot more. That’s some of the very few common phrases I have observed, spoken from good players, not just in the basketball team I’ve coached, also from players in the NHL, Liiga, KHL, or why not another sport like football.

Furthermore, a good player is also absolutely aware that whatever happens on the court is just circumstances, things that happen for a reason. If they’re scoring a lot, (and defending their own goal) which indicates that they have enough skill to win the game or several, or a season, or if they lose a lot, they know that they have to get back to practice and practice some more, with more experience from losing games on how to improve on the field.

To the last, these reflections can be added to anything or whatever we do, or how we might be involved in sport, as fans, trainers, players and of course media, as I showed above as an example.

/Arto, freelance

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