Pass-Sporting: Tip #4 - “We’re Talking About PRACTICE!!!”

Pass-Sporting: Guide not to be a terrible import
Tip #4: “We’re talking about PRACTICE!!!”

How in the HELL can I make my teammates better by practicing” - Allen Iverson.

As an import do we REALLY need to practice to perform well? It’s debatable. I don’t like practice. But it’s a necessary evil. The one thing I do know is when an import DOESN’T practice the team will tend to slightly resent you for it and will use it against you. Juuuuust a little. For my imports that have been in Europe for a while I already know what you are thinking “There’s like 20 dudes who show up for a damn practice”. SMH….I know….I know….I know it all too well. I’ll address that in another post because that is a whole issue unto itself. But the focus is on imports, so I have to keep there.

Iverson’s final quote in this classic clip is funniest quotes ever. But unfortunately this is kind of what a team sees when their star player isn’t practicing. Teams won’t tell you this but they think all imports will be primadonnas. Straight up its true. You’ll always hear a story about how the previous import was or what he did wrong. So if you’ve been the import after me in Poland or Sweden, Hey there! I'm the asshole they were talking about. Whatever you’ve heard about me isn’t true. It’s actually worse. But I digress. Back to “Practice”.

See the many teams have not experienced the structure of a highly regulated practice with the intensity level we have, so quite frankly, they just don’t know. It’s kind of our job to teach our squad. We’re used to a crisp, 25 period practice with every minute of it scheduled and every drill set for specific time. No walking between drills. Sitting on helmets. No playing grab ass mid drill. We were competing for playing time so practice freaking mattered.

As an import you are pretty much responsible for the intensity and tone of how a practice goes. Players need visuals to see how to properly do it and do it quickly, aggressively, technique perfect. Will it ever be like it was in college? HELL TO THE NO!! It will be extremely hard to damn near impossible recreate that atmosphere but things like tempo and focus can be matched. Yeah, it puts a ton of pressure on you every practice and I DEFINITELY KNOW after a night of pre-gaming with cheap vodka (because it’s damn expensive), taking shots of a bottle that you swiped from behind the bar (I can’t be the only one who’s done that) and staying up all night because you successfully convinced that chick who can barely speak three words in English to come back to your spot, the last thing you have the next day is energy to get everyone up at practice the next day. But, I tell you its even more frustrating watching dudes sloppily practice, looking clueless going through drills and feeling responsible for it because you know that is not what a winning teams practice should look like. We practice more than we actually play and I know for me the most frustrating thing about playing abroad was the quality of practice. I get it. Sometimes it really isn’t our fault due to the circumstances. But looking back on my years I felt a lot of times I’ve could have tried a little more to make it work instead of letting it piss me off because one or two (HA! Who am I kidding? In reality 10-12) key players didn’t show up. 

The bright side is that your teammates will see you and realize (well some of them do) that they can’t make excuses because the effort you give or the fact that you are helping them get better by teaching them something that can improve their on field unity. Players are infatuated with the pageantry of college football. So any sense of mimicking a college type of program will get your better players into it. NOT ALL but your core guys. This eliminates the all to common “I didn’t know” or “I don’t understand” because you just did it in front of them. You pretty much get your self out of everything.

So yeah, you kind of do make your team better by practicing and you will show them that you are part of team which, in some, cases will develop camaraderie and a deeper level of mutual respect even though there is one exception to this. If you’re the top running back in the league and your team is winning, then they won’t give damn if practice or not.

Aki “Not Euro” Jones