All of us –whether we admit it or not- have dreamed of attaining the stature of Lebron James or Cam Newton. Those guys exemplify excellence and dominance in basketball and football, respectively. I mean who wouldn’t drool over their freakish athleticism and God given talents, right? But when you snap out of that elusive dream, you’ll realize that making it to the big league is more of a long shot than a conceivable reality for an average man.

Don’t get wrapped up in despair though. Only a handful of talented –and lucky –athletes really have breaks in their careers. It means that millions of other aspirants were also shut down too of their fantasies of signing humongous contract amounts. Nevertheless, it’s the passion for the sport and the sheer fun it brings that really matter, isn’t?

Whether you’re a streetball player or member of a college football team, you can’t afford to be mediocre. There’s still a lot of pride and recognition to be won from non-pro games. Continuous improvement- that’s what you need to take your game a notch higher.

The following are some pieces of advice to better one’s game.

Set egos aside

Media and self-expectations have a lot to do against this. How can you get noticed when you can’t even be the best in your team? If this is the type of thinking you have, you’re most likely to drag your team down.

Why? It’s because winning comes secondary to impressing people. When you try hard to impress, you take forced shots and other bad decisions. You don’t let the game come to you naturally.

Think of role players like Pippen and Rodman for instance. They took backseats for Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, to take them to greater heights. The result? Numerous championships for Chicago.

To sum it up, be a team player. Recognize other people’s talents and specialties. Work towards getting that W.

Be open to coaching and feedbacks

Talent and hard work may go for naught without coaching. Coaches elevate your game with their scientific take on the game and correcting certain tendencies of players. For example, you may have a tendency to always go to your right when driving to the hoop instead of mixing it up to confuse the defender.

The catch? They see things you’d otherwise miss when you’re in the heat of the game.

Feedbacks and suggestions from fellow players also help your skill set. Those could be trade secrets that made them good in a particular aspect of the game which you should take note of. You can never go wrong with sharing and absorbing knowledge.

Grind it out

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Practicing –and sweating –gets your gears going and makes you more comfortable the next time you step on the court. It’s because you become more familiar with possible situations and scenarios that can happen in the game, and how you would react to those.

Would Curry shoot the lights out had he not attempted thousands of it? Would Lebron be able to posterize almost everyone had he not practiced in the gym? You know the answer.

There’s really no short route to improving your game. Luck may sometimes smile on players with bad work ethic, but those successes are short-lived.

Make the most out of every opportunity

For a guy who spent majority of his collegiate career riding the bench, I know how mentally tough it is.

Often overshadowed by my more athletic and talented counterparts, I knew I had to be patient. I seldom had playing minutes, but every time I enter the game, I provided the hustle and intangibles to my team. My stats weren’t as glaring as our usual starters, but I knew I helped our case –and that is enough.

Opportunities aren’t just limited to playing time. If there’s a free skills training close to your city, grab it by the horns. If there’s a local league assembled, volunteer and try to earn a spot in the roster. These are all good investments that would impact the way you approach the game.

Maintain a good physique and don’t slack off

Your body pays a toll with all the bumping, physicality, and force exertion that your sport commands. That’s why it’s essentially important to take good care of it. Be cognizant of what you eat. Lean meats, fresh fruits and veggies should still be the pillars of an athlete’s diet. Besides will and determination, a healthy body also improves your overall well-being.

Protein bars, supplements, and gym sessions are viable options too.

Meanwhile, getting out of the game, due to the busy city life, can leave majority of athletes rusty. You not only lose your touch, but your usual bounce and rhythm. You can choose to make time for daily warm-ups.

As a wrap-up, it’s all about effort, camaraderie, and willingness to learn the game by heart. Now if you’re looking for top-notch sports apparel, a shoo-in will always be Wagadoo.