Shooting for Success: Leveraging Lessons from the Basketball Court in Business

Shooting for Success: Leveraging Lessons from the Basketball Court in Business

Jul 27, 2023·

4 min read

Sports have been a significant school in my life. Many may not know, but I devoted myself to basketball from the age of 7 to 21. At the age of 14, I left my parents' house and ended up moving several times, living in São Leopoldo/RS, Jundiaí/SP, and Ribeirão Preto/SP. Basketball taught me much more than just competing; it helped shape my worldview.

Now, what does all of this have to do with the corporate world?

To me, the two universes are very similar. There is a lot of competitiveness, and discipline, dedication, and teamwork are highly valued.

Sports taught me valuable lessons both on and off the court. During those years, I learned several lessons that can be applied in the corporate environment.

There is no success without dedication

In sports, there is no middle ground; you must give your all at all times. If you miss a training session, arrive late, or don't give your maximum effort, you are out. The rules are clear. Daily discipline and persistence are essential. Only with extensive training can you improve your techniques and skills.

"Victories don't happen by chance. Each of us has the perseverance, determination, and passion to achieve success. To win, we need discipline, perseverance, and persistence."

("Magic" Paula - World Champion in 1994 with the Brazilian women's national team and Olympic runner-up in 1996)

Sometimes, training alone is not enough to achieve victory

Sports are unpredictable. Losing a game can be sad, and it may feel like the end of the world, but it isn't (after shedding many tears, I can confirm what I'm saying). The team with the best players and technical staff doesn't always win the game. Losing taught me to cope better with frustrations, to respect the opponent, and, above all, never to give up. I strive to be my best and surpass myself.

Each individual has a role and a unique value to add to the team

A winning team is one that knows how to combine the qualities of its players, maximizing their strengths and working to improve their weaknesses. A team with synergy knows how to pace the game and seize opportunities. No one wins the game alone.

Opportunities are unique, and one must be prepared

A basketball game can be decided in seconds, and that's what makes it so fascinating. The game can turn at any moment. A single move can determine the success or failure of your team. It's necessary to take risks, surprise the opponent, and trust in your execution abilities.

Talent may win games, but discipline and determination win championships

Talent is important, but it's not enough. A championship is full of unforeseen circumstances - injuries, unexpected defeats, conflicts within the team. To be a complete player, it's not enough to excel in one aspect; you must be prepared and have the necessary persistence to deal with these adverse situations.

"Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard."

(Kevin Durant - Second-youngest NBA player to surpass the 20,000-point mark in his career and third in all-time points average in the NBA)

Train to turn pressure into opportunity

I learned to control anxiety and accept that pressure would manifest in various forms during the game: from coaches, the audience, and the players themselves. I learned to see pressure as an opportunity to challenge myself and triumph. Pressure was inevitable, but how I would handle it depended on me.

Nobody is the same, and that's a good thing!

Sports bring together people from different backgrounds, social classes, educational levels, and races. And all of this makes the team as complete as possible. Each person brings solutions according to their own worldview, and that's what makes the team more creative, innovative, and consequently, competitive. There is much to learn from the people on your team; I still cherish many examples in my daily life.

These were some of the lessons I learned during my basketball journey. Additionally, I had the opportunity to captain some of the teams I played for. I was never the strongest or the fastest. I had a very good three-point shot, and I always trained more than my teammates to make it my differentiating factor. I was methodical when it came to practicing shooting techniques, but compared to my colleagues, that wasn't enough to be considered the best player on the team.

I stood out for my dedication, ease of building relationships, and for being a player who encouraged the team to believe and never give up. Today, living in the corporate world, I realize that basketball was a school for people management, leadership, ethics, and resilience.

In various moments, especially during the most challenging ones, I pause and reflect on whether I have experienced something similar in basketball and how it was resolved in the past. This mechanism always provides me with insights and essential examples to follow.