My Encounters with Steve Nash and Deliberate Practice

Steve Nash is a massive Party Crasher!

Party Crasher Definition: A metaphor used by Allan James Moore to describe a person who does not accept the station society has given them in life. They endeavor to access the spaces, organizations universities, clubs (aka “the Party”) etc. that are ‘invite only’ despite not having an invitation.

How did a little dude from a basketball non-entity like Victoria make it to the Hall of Fame? I’m not 100% sure, but I know for a fact it was not luck.

Nash Mindset

I grew up in up in Victoria in the late 80s and early 90s. This gave me the opportunity to play basketball and soccer against NBA legend Steve Nash. He was an incredible soccer player too – so unfair! We didn’t know that Steve would end up in the NBA. Let alone a two-time MVP and Hall of Famer. Steve was by far the best player at every sport he tried in our town by a mile. But he looked and talked like the rest of us. So we all just figured he would end up playing for the local University and that’d be all. When my friends and I turned 13, we started sneaking into the University of Victoria gym to join pickup games with some of the University students and other high schoolers who snuck in.

Why is He Doing those Silly Drills?

Steve Nash was one of these kids who would sneak in with us. We would all congregate at one of the many hoops to warmup. This typically consisted of goofing around shooting behind the back shots and trying to touch the rim or even dunk the basketball. The sorts of  activities that we would never use in an actual game. Steve was different. Nash would go to his own hoop and go through 30 minutes of meticulous dribbling and shooting drills. He would do one drill I found particularly unusual. Steve would shoot the ball off one foot about 12 feet into the air on a 10 foot rim. The rest of us would chuckle wondering what he was up to with these strange drills.

It All Makes Sense Now!

I was watching Steve in the NBA playoffs on TV years later when something caught my eye. He shot the ball off one foot floating it 12 feet into the air like he’d practiced before.  The ball floated just barely over the outstretched finger tips of seven foot center Shaquille Oneal. And entered the net with perfect precision. Wow! When we were teenagers, Steve wasn’t practicing for his game against us. He was practicing for his future game against US College and NBA level competition. This approach is known as deliberate practice from Psychologist K. Anders Ericsson. (see Steve had put 10,000 hours of deliberate practice into achieving his dream.

Steve’s story is a metaphor for success. Everyone prepares to play the opponent that’s right in front of them. People like Steve Nash prepare to play the opponent that’s at the pinnacle of success in their field. Are you currently practicing for your next level?

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