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Basketball Kaizen

On the Presentation Zen blog, I saw a post about “Personal Kaizen” which reflected the philosophy behind Train for Hoops.

Kaizen (改善) means “improvement” — “kai” (改) means change/make better, and “zen” (å–„) means good — but as the term is used as a business process it more closely resembles in English “continuous improvement.”

The post highlights two philosophies or approaches as part of Personal Kaizen:

  1. Long-term Commitment
  2. No End to Improvement

Most athletes and coaches today want the quick fix. Players search for exposure before they fully develop their skills. Teams play games year-round, but practice occasionally.

Developing a skill or developing into a basketball player is not a short-term process. It does not happen by working out once per week or because you train with a certain trainer, attend a certain school or play for a sponsored AAU team. Improvement occurs through directed effort toward a goal.

The overriding principles of kaizen is that it is daily, continuous, steady, and it takes the long-term view. Kaizen also requires a commitment and a strong willingness to change.

Great players know that there is no end to improvement. Improvement is not an event, but a process.

There is an old saying that goes “Once you think you have arrived, you have already started your descent.” One must never think they “have arrived.”

Once you reach a goal, you make another goal to work towards or you start to fall behind. Once a player signs his college scholarship (achieving his goal), he must start working toward a new goal or he will fall behind at the next level. Making a team or signing a scholarship is not the end – it is a new beginning.

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