Discipline and the basics

My 11-year-old son’s basketball team lost tonight. First game in the playoffs. To a comp team one year younger than them. It was a very physical game, and pretty brutal. Lots of kids on the floor, several of them crying and holding onto various body parts. The refs asked our coach to take out our star player because he was out of control.

Now, I am no coach, and no expert in basketball, but I could see clearly why the other team won: greater discipline, and better mastery of the fundamentals of passing and rebounding. Seems like the enemy team passed 4-5 times per possession, looking for an open shot. Then, if they missed, they would get 2-3 rebonds.

On the other hand, our team acted like a pack of wild men, just throwing shots up that didn’t have a prayer. Not taking time to set up shots. Not passing. All kinds of offensive fouls. Just crazy.

Really, when it comes down to it, the other team was better prepared and better trained. No doubt about it. The fundamentals made all the difference.

My 6-year-old daughter is learning to read. I’ve noticed that she struggles a little with some letters and recognizing their sounds. No wonder she is struggling to read–she hasn’t mastered the basics.

The same will happen in any person’s efforts, in any endeavor. We must master the fundamentals before we can excel. We must know the basics, and they must be second nature to us. In basketball, I must know when to take a shot, and when to pass. I must know where to position myself for a rebound. In reading, I must know what a G says.

What are the fundamentals of writing? What are the things that must be second nature to us?

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