I have recently listened to many basketball lectures and there appears to be an alarming trend with many of the speakers, both young and old: they are selling a shorter route to excellence. HOGWASH! In short, they are saying that a 90 minute practice is where it is at and anything longer is a waste and inefficient. It makes me wonder exactly how many All-Americans they have on their teams or which sloths they are competing against. Greatness is a beast that feeds on time, precision, a maximum all out mental and physical effort....and that only guarantees you a ticket to frequent heartbreak. The real courage is giving your all, coming up short, and wanting to give it another hot go because you love the challenge. It goes beyond being an underdog, as there is something quite primal about working hard, sweating, believing in the struggle in and of itself.
It is disturbing to me when a coach insinuates that quick and short is best. For example, how many of those coaches have ever really spent their time working with a player on shooting.....day after day....week after week...one repetition at a time....time spent is the separator from good to great. Yes, there also must be "smart work" involved but time spent still has to be the priority. This is exactly what Malcolm Gladwell was addressing in his book Outliers: The Story of Success ....the 10,000 hour rule. I just know that those players who spend most of their time in the gym win. Moreover, the act of doing something so innocent and visceral as practicing at a 4 or 5 hour clip creates an investment that builds the individual's will. How is it that those kind of hours are routinely put in by Wynton Marsalis, Kevin Durant, Peyton Manning, Beyoncé, and many other great achievers, yet we now have coaches advocating leisure world...interesting.
I certainly believe that there is always a way to be more efficient or an "evolution" if you will . We look to tighten things up from one drill to the next, no doubt. Yet, it is those teams who understand that the duration of time spent at any task requires an equal and opposite reaction: our success is in direct correlation to "free time" sacrificed. I know Ray Allen understood this long ago.
Finally, in all my readings of those who have found greatness: it may happen in a flash but only after the passion filled tedium of practice, more practice, and then a little more practice.