Brandyn Curry and his blog are back. After a successful rookie season playing (and writing) in Holland, where the former Harvard University standout guard was an All-Star, won the Dutch Basketball League championship and was named Finals MVP with Den Bosch, Curry now calls Germany's BEKO BBL home this season with Eisbären Bremerhaven and will continue to share his thoughts on playing professional basketball abroad with his blog, "3 Things I Learned This Week Playing Overseas"...
What’s up everybody!
Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and those New Year's Resolutions are still going strong! Fortunately, I was able to go home for Christmas due to a schedule change. First time in the last three years I have actually been home for Christmas. Have to cherish those moments. It was only three days but was definitely needed and worth it.
First half of this season has by far been one of the most interesting ones I’ve ever had and I have certainly learned a great deal on and off the court. Have no doubt that these lessons will serve me well in future years. We are exactly halfway through the season, with 17 games played and are 4-13 and in 15th place out of 18th. We have been playing much better though lately and the second half of the season should be much better than the first half. As Coach Amaker loved to tell us at Harvard, “The last part is the strongest part”!
So to kick off 2016, here are the 3 things I've learned this week playing professionally overseas...
1. Trust the process and know that the work I’m putting in now will pay off
One of the hardest things I’ve struggled with is getting discouraged by not seeing immediate results from the work I’ve put in on the basketball court. Now that I look back, especially in my college career, I realize one of the main things I could have done better was to keep putting in the work more consistently. So many times I wouldn’t stick with a particular workout drill because I felt that I wasn’t getting the results I was looking for quickly enough.
I think this is huge problem in general with society today. We are looking for that instant gratification. Losing the 10 pounds in one week or getting rich overnight. Great things are culminations of consistent effort maintained over time. Had I just remained consistent in doing the drills that my coaches, trainers, and more experienced teammates had taught me, then the results would have come in due time.
There was no bigger example that showed this to me than last year in Holland. My season didn’t start out how I wanted. However this time I stuck with everything I was doing, every day and by the end of the season I was playing at the highest level of my basketball career. Only difference was the consistency with doing the work. I showed up every day no matter how I felt.
You have to just have that belief that what you are doing now will pay off. And even though day-to-day improvement is hard to see when it's us, we need to trust what our coaches and trainers have told us will work. That was a great lesson for me to learn. Even though this year is a different situation I am still going to trust in the process and keep putting in the work every day. I may not see the results for weeks, months, or perhaps years but I know it will all pay off eventually. Trust the process.
2. Keeping the focus on taking care of my body
When I found out this season that I was only playing one game a week I thought that the wear on the body would be much less compared to last year. Since my team last year played in the EuroChallenge, as well as the normal Dutch Basketball League, we were playing two games a week all the way up until February. Our schedule was pretty hectic and it ran right into playoffs where we played two best of 7 series. In the end we played over 60 games. As much fun as it was it definitely took a toll of my body. Have so much more respect for NBA players. I thought overall I did a pretty good job with taking care of my body but I also realize this an area I can improve.
As I came to find out this year, if you play less that means you’re going to practice way more. Depending on the coach, practices can be a little harder, or much harder on an athlete's body than games. With our first coach, that was certainly the case. We were going live in both practices without any subs really. Just absolutely going at it for 3-4 hours every day for 5 days of the week really adds up. I've had to make sure I'm doing my recovery stuff without fail every day as well as eating the right foods to fuel my athlete's body.
Also, one thing I didn't do such a great job of doing last year was staying on top of lifts on my own. Every team is different when it comes to weightlifting and even though both teams I’ve been on do some sort of lifting, I definitely need to still get in there on my own. Essentially we are getting paid for our bodies (know that sounds worse than it is, haha), so as professionals, our number one priority has to be taking care of our bodies. Again staying consistent with this will become more and more important, and pay off even more in the future big time as I'm working to extend my career.
3. Simply enjoying every day
One thing is for certain is that getting to do what I love every day should mean I should never have a bad day. Regardless of how a game or practice goes for the day I have to realize how fortunate I am to be able to do this. I know personally many people who would really give anything to be in the position I am. There is no guarantee of how long I'll be able to do this so I might as well enjoy every day to the fullest.
Of course not every day is going to be great. No matter how positive someone is there are going to be days when you are in just one of those bad funks. Especially with how competitive I am, any bad performance in practice or a game is going to affect my mood. However, I'm definitely going to do a much better job of not dwelling on those and just letting them go.
My goal is to be more aware of when I start to get in those moods. One thing that has helped me is to keep a gratitude journal with things I'm thankful for. I read about it on of my books I'm reading and really like the idea. Everyday write three things you are grateful for. Helps you to put things in perspective when having a bad day!
Like I said many times before I really am living a dream. Even with this season not going how I was hoping, it still doesn’t change that. I'm grateful for this opportunity I have to play this game. Truly grateful.
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