Always humble and hungry
There is an indescribable joy and satisfaction that can be derived from working hard and getting better at your game. At the same time, it is almost inevitable that players will reach a plateau later in their playing days or advance to a level of competition that may seem too daunting. How do we stay motivated and not get complacent or disheartened in these scenarios?
Target: Instead of working just to best yourself, think about opponents that you would like to beat. In training sessions, you can simulate the game-day intensity of really going at someone. You can pick a few players that you struggle against or perhaps just cannot stand, and motivate yourself to make sure that they dread playing against you as well.
Buddy: As with all difficult things, they get a bit easier when you are not alone. Training can be arduous, but you can aim to get better together with a teammate. It is good to pick someone comparable to your standards, so that you can feel it if you or your teammate start to become substantially better. In this way, you can push each other in turn to reach further than you would have been able to reach alone.
Intermediate goals: If it is too daunting to think of the final destination, keep in mind that you can always take small steps to get better. Instead of just training in general, set small goals to improve on something as specific as possible, such as your free throw percentage or finishing at the basket with your off hand.
Strengths vs weaknesses: In basket, we often work on our strengths as we try to ensure that there are some areas of our game that can contribute at any level. After all, it is usually easier to specialize at the start. However, if you lack motivation due to stagnation or inferior competition, you can challenge yourself to turn a weakness into your strength. For instance, if you are a poor passer, you can push yourself by learning how to set up your teammates.