What is the one question a college coach will ask that you’ll never guess? 

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What is the one question a college coach will ask that you’ll never guess? 

They want to know something about you as a person that goes deep down to the core of who you are. It’s critical to success at the college level and will help you succeed later in life as well. It’s a personality trait that a coach won’t fully know if you have until they are already coaching you. The question is…

How do you handle adversity? 

That question is one of the most subtle details about you that the coach wants to know because your ability to handle adversity will be one of the determining factors of your career. The reality of college basketball is that it challenges you in ways you can hardly imagine and one of the main sources will be the coach. Their job is to challenge you to improve daily and to reach your potential and that will never happen if you are comfortable. Change occurs when you’re out of your comfort zone so the coach's job is to keep you in uncomfortable situations for 4 straight years. Your job will be to learn to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. So when they ask you the question “how do you handle adversity”, they are really asking “how hard can I push you for 4 years without you breaking?” Because the harder they can push you, the more you improve, the more you improve the better the team, the better the team leads to more wins, and with more wins come championships, and championships define a coach's career.

Then comes the adversity that isn’t directly affected by the coach. Like bad calls by the officials, physical opponents, bad shooting games, multiple bad shooting games, long road trips, early classes followed by early practice, social pressures to party the night before an early practice, injuries, little injuries, big injuries, how do you manage an injury, annoying professors who don’t like athletes, when you break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, the list doesn’t end. So if you’re having to deal with all of this AND the coach wants to push you to your limit to improve, you should quickly see how handling adversity is absolutely critical to your success at the college level.

How would you answer the question, how do you handle adversity? Or what if you are asked, “tell me about a time you had to handle adversity”. Be prepared for that question because it’s a tough one to answer.

Let’s look at a different angle, if handling adversity is so critical to success in college, why don’t you train for it? You train your body and your skills, but how about your mind and mindset? You can go into college with a smooth jump shot and as you get smacked in the face with adversity your whole world could fall apart. Take some time to think about that concept, and in the next blog you read I will be sharing my viewpoint on that topic. Until then, go do something really hard!

Author: Alex Harris

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