The Bad News About Mental Toughness and Discipline…

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Devin Booker is a young NBA player who’s really good. 

Well, Devin’s Phoenix Suns teams are not good, at all. But Devin himself has proven to be great at scoring points — the best and quickest way to get attention in basketball — and he is, at least for now, the centerpiece of whatever it is the Suns are building in Phoenix. 

We’re talking about Devin because a conversation-worthy clip surfaced on social media of Devin playing pickup basketball with several other NBA players. 

In said clip, Devin received the ball and, while surveying his options against his lone defender, had another defender come over to create a double team on Devin, ostensibly designed to force Mr. Booker to pass the ball. 

You can see the clip in question here:

Devin was vocal in criticizing the double team, arguing that it shouldn’t happen “in open gym” (aka an informal pickup basketball game, which is what this is). 

I disagree with Devin Booker on this. 

The Bad News About Mental Toughness and Discipline... Dre Baldwin

Here’s why. 

1) Double Teams are a part of basketball. 

Players who are known to score lots of points — Kobe Bryant, James Harden, LeBron James, Devin Booker — get double teamed a lot, because their opponents have decided, smartly, that they’d rather someone else shoot the ball than the guy whose entire business is scoring points. It just makes practical sense. 

While every strategy has a counter-strategy (for this one, it’s “your open teammates making shots when you pass them the ball”), getting the ball away from a great scorer is solid strategy. 

Devin Booker knows this. So why is he upset? Keep reading to understand. 

2) In his verbal assault on the double team, Devin mentions how he “gets that shit all season” — which to me means, he should be happy to get doubled in the offseason: he can practice how to react to what he’s bound to see in the real games! 

Isn’t that what practice is for??? 

His argument strikes me as backwards. 

Which leads to… 

3) When people make an argument and share their reasons, there’s often a “good reason” and a “real reason.” 

Devin Booker’s good reason to disavow double teams is that it’s open gym and he gets those all season. 

I will guess the real reason: He just wants the chance to go one-on-one (something he’s great at, and the main skill that has/keeps him in the NBA) and do what he does best. 

THAT’S why he was upset. 

Any good strategist knows the #1 thing to do against any foe: take away what they do best / what they most like to do. 

Don’t get in a Twitter war with Donald Trump.  

Don’t box Floyd Mayweather. 

Don’t let a great scorer go one-on-one. 

Make a scorer pass the ball; make a passer score the ball. 

This is a psychological tactic. 

It’s not so much that the opponent can’t do the other thing. It’s that, given their own choice, they don’t want to do it. 

Make them do what they don’t want to do. Let them do what they like, and you’re playing into their hands — and if they’re good, you’ll probably lose. 

It’s not that Devin Booker can’t pass. He doesn’t want to pass. He wants to score.

Had he dribbled around or through that same double team and scored, he wouldn’t have complained at all. 

That’s the “real reason.”


To win, in anything — sports, business, relationships — requires that dedicated time be put into doing things that we’d rather not do; addressing stuff that we wish would just go away. 

This is true for everyone. 

Many people just ignore that inconvenient stuff, and thus settle for “OK” (at best). 

The few who suck it up and address the inconveniences are the ones who get ahead, little by little, until there’s a big gap between them and everyone else. 

This is often a slow, gradual process. 

It’s discipline. 

I think Devin Booker has plenty of discipline, when he needs it, to have become as good as he is in basketball. 

But, for any of us to really win at anything, you can’t pick and choose when to be mentally tough. 

My 30 Days To Discipline course turns discipline from “random” to “permanent.” Get started here: 


-Dre Baldwin 

You’re Just One Bold Move Away…