Editor’s Note: “Feel Rich” is our partnership with QD3, the talented son of music legend Quincy Jones. “Feel Rich” is all about creating a healthy lifestyle for Hip-Hop culture – both the artists and the fans. Enjoy!
By Logan Noblin
Heading into his junior year of high school, Mike Patterson was set to spend the season warming the bench. The six-foot, 300-pound offensive guard had all the strength of a traffic cone with the football sense to match, and there might as well have been a canyon between him and the second string. In an act of desperation, with just a week of practice left before the opening game of the season, Patterson’s coach sent the 17-year-old to the other side of the ball to see if he could fare any better as a defense tackle. An hour later, Patterson had the starting spot.
Now the stalky noseguard from Northern California earns over $4 million per year with the Philadelphia Eagles, and has served his time as one of the most feared down-linemen in the league. All he had to do was get in the game.
The point is that if you’re not in the game right now, it doesn’t mean you have to stay glued to the bench. It might take a little bit of patience, and a whole lot of work, but if a six-foot, 300-pound bowling ball could roll himself off the sidelines and into the spotlight, you can, too. Here are some tips to get you started.
Know Your Strengths – Patterson has become known as one of the quickest, most agile big-men in a league of superhuman athletes, but even his high school coaches thought he was weak on the offensive line. Chris Paul is lethal from the point, but you won’t see him posting up Dwight Howard in the paint any sooner than you’ll see Kevin Garnett shooting from the arc or Desean Jackson subbing in at fullback. Think about the plays and situations that you tend to do best in, and put yourself in a position to take advantage of your natural strengths.
Find Some Help – Once you figure out what position you should play, find someone to help you figure out how to play it. If you’re not getting the coaching you need, find a friend, a classmate, or a coworker to practice with. Getting honest feedback from someone who knows your game is the best way to improve your technique and start climbing up the depth chart.
Repetition – Practice, practice, practice. Pick a move that you like – a Derrick Rose ankle-breaker, a Reggie Bush sidestep, whatever – and run it in slow motion. Think about your form, think about your body, and make sure it’s perfect. Now, do it again. And again. Consistently practicing your moves and your form builds muscle memory so that when you bust them out in a game, it will feel as natural as breathing.
It’s All About Improving – If you spend your time thinking about scoring points or moving up the roster, you’re a whole lot less likely to do so. Instead, focus on your jump shot, or your ball catching, or the little things that will make you more dangerous in action. Once you take care of those, the depth chart will take care of itself.