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Are You Willing To Work As Hard As Kevin Durant?

December 17, 2010

The other day I came across an interesting blog post from an old high school basketball teammate of mine who has gone to become one of the top basketball strength and conditioning coaches in the country. His name’s Alan Stein, and he was a strength coach for NBA superstar Kevin Durant’s high school team when Durant was in high school.

A few weeks ago Stein went to Oklahoma City to visit Durant and spend a day with him to get a look at what a typical day in the life of one of the NBA’s best players is like. You can read his full description of the day here, but here’s an excerpt that caught my eye:

Kevin Durant chooses to arrive at the arena 3 hours before tip-off to begin his preparation.  His routine includes treatment from the athletic trainer, corrective exercises with the strength coach, and shooting a couple hundred shots.

KD was all business on the way to the game. He takes his mental preparation very seriously.

Once we arrived at the arena, KD spoke to every person he passed on the way to the locker room… security officers, maintenance workers, PR folks, etc.  He looked them in the eye, shook their hand, and called them by name.

We got to speak with Dwight Daub, the Thunder strength coach.  He does an outstanding job.  He gave us a quick run-down of what the players do in-season:

Players have to get in a minimum of 10 strength workouts per month.  They have the option to lift on game day. Most choose not to and prefer to lift before/after practice.

Players have to get in a minimum of 12 corrective exercise workouts per month.  These brief workouts consist of movements tailored specifically for individualized weaknesses and injury prone areas.

Players that average playing less than 15 minutes have to get in 15 minutes of intervals on the elliptical or treadmill on game days to maintain their conditioning level.  They do 15 sets of :30 on, :30 off at an appropriate intensity level.

Even though the team had a shoot around that morning at 9:00am, almost every player (from both teams) came in early to put in extra work.

Seeing NBA players work out on game day reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

“There will be two buses leaving for tonight’s game. The 2:00pm bus will be for those who need some extra practice. The empty bus will leave at 5:00pm.”

Many young players make the mistake of thinking NBA players just play.  Nothing could be further from the truth. These guys are great players because they work on their game every day.

I’m sure at this point you’re wondering what any of this has to do with comedy.

Just like basketball, a comedy career is something that many outsiders (and some insiders) think is all about natural ability and has little to do with hard work. But the reality is that there’s lots of athletes out there with NBA-caliber talent who don’t make it in the NBA just like there’s lots of comedians out there with more talent than success in their career.

It’s easy to forget when you look at some of basketball’s most successful players or comedy’s breakout stars that most likely their own hard work played a key role in their success. It’s not just that they got the breaks. They probably made those breaks. Or at the very least, they were prepared to take advantage of those breaks.

Think about what you’re doing to achieve your career goals and compare it to what a guy like Kevin Durant does to achieve his.

Kevin Durant “takes mental preparation very seriously.” Do you?

Kevin Durant acknowledges and appreciates all the people in his organization around him. Do you?

Kevin Durant spends 12 days a month doing “corrective exercises” to improve on his individual weaknesses. Do you even know what your weaknesses are?

Do you think you work as hard as Kevin Durant at achieving your own goals? And if you don’t, why should you expect to succeed?

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