Elevate Your Game

Confidence Comes From Preparation

by Shawn Jones on May 28, 2024

I was in college in the Chicago Bulls’ championship era. The Unbelieva-BULLS. The Unbeata-BULLS. The Incredi-BULLS. The 72-10, two time 3 Peat Bulls.  The Jordan Rules BULLS. Those years of watching Michael Jordan made college Beara-BULL.

The one thing that always amazed me about Michael Jordan and the Bulls was that when the game came down to crunch time, everyone— and I mean EVERYONE, knew Michael Jordan was going to take the last shot to win it. The handful of  highly intelligent and highly paid coaches on the other team knew it. Their roster of elite athletes knew it.  20,000 fans in the arena knew it. Six million people watching on television around the world knew it…. And yet, somehow, #23 got the ball, dribbled hard with his tongue hanging out, elevated, and sank not only the winning basket, but also the hearts of many a team and fan in different colored gear.

He talked about how the number of times he had failed fueled him to succeed. But he also talked about his preparation. He talked about how preparing for that moment gave him confidence to take the shot and knock it down. I remember him being asked in a press conference after a big win about being nervous to take big shots and he said, “I don’t get nervous. Nervousness is lack of preparation. I am prepared, so there is no reason to be nervous.”

Let’s just think about a single, last second winning shot and what all had to happen in order for MJ to be able to succeed. It doesn’t matter what play you have in your head… just think of one.  “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo…. A 3 point pull up over future teammate Dennis Rodman in the ‘89 Eastern Conference Finals, “The Shot Part 2”, or “The Shot Part 3” (Sorry, Cleveland), or ultimately, the ‘98 Finals clutch pull up in Utah to win #6 (#notapushoff)… just pick one.

What had to happen?  Everyone knows 23 will get the ball.  

  • First, he has to get the ball. IQ. He has to know HOW.
  • Second, footwork/agility. He has to get OPEN.  
  • Third, ball handling skills. He has to be able to transport the ball to the shot.  
  • Fourth, I go back to IQ. He has to know where and when and how the winning shot will develop before the buzzer goes off.  
  • Fifth, the shot. He has to take it and make it.
  • Sixth, for all the Jordan haters out there, I present one last piece of preparation of skill where he won without being the hero — a last second PASS to teammate Steve Kerr in the corner for the game winner in the ‘97 Finals vs Utah. (Sorry Utah. #notreally).

All the skill development preparation over years and years to be prepared for those moments when everyone knew who would be taking the shot… and he still did it! Preparation.

Ballogy is a skill preparation platform which allows drill assignment, quality control, assessment, and instant feedback in every facet of the game. It guides a player with a clear scope and sequence from beginner to advanced levels and offers a clear roadmap of requirements to be ready to be successful at various levels of competition. Champions don’t show up in championship moments by accident. They show up on purpose, because of years and years of preparation for that moment. 

How are YOU preparing for YOUR moment?