Throughout this season, Elijah Allen will be sharing his journey and insight that's helped him grow on and off the court as a player and a person from Northwest Missouri State to playing professional basketball overseas with Oettinger Rockets, Gotha (ProA Germany).Connect with Elijah on Twitter @ElijahAllen23 and @Scorers1st.
Criticism is something that can either make you or break you. You can either use criticism positively or you can have it effect you in a negative way.
We need criticism in order to grow and get better in life. Growing up, I dreamed of being able to play basketball professionally. In High school I would go to open gyms in the summer and play against many guys who were making a living playing in other countries. After every open gym I made it a goal to stay in contact with these players and ask personally what I need to do to make it to that level.
To me that was the ultimate dream to be able to play basketball and explore the world. I felt like I had seen all I could see in the United States because of AAU basketball. Almost every weekend as a kid I was flying out playing in some tournament or showcase.
My high school coach Blair Albright and AAU coach Price Johnson were huge influences on my life growing up and they continuously gave me constructive criticism that allowed me to become a better player and person, regardless if I wanted to hear it or not. Both coaches knew my aspirations as a player and believed in me. Everyday they would push me to become better. Taking criticism is not easy. Have you ever had a coach yell at you the entire practice and tell you that you are doing everything wrong? It can make you feel like your the worst player to ever touch a basketball. Everyday having someone correct you and tell you that you're not doing something right can wear on you. But as time goes by you realize these people want you to be successful. I always think to myself that if I wouldn't have listened to them then I wouldn't be where I am today. I am thankful that they cared enough to offer correction and advice to prepare me to be a pro.
There is instruction at every level around the world.
As a professional athlete criticism is something you must become comfortable with and embrace in order to grow. One thing that should be vital to every person in life is to learn that there is always room to improve. When you become complacent or take criticism negatively, that can ultimately affect your health, job and even your lifestyle.
Take criticism, listen, own it and grow from it!
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