Kung Fu Panda Delivers “The Secret”

Note: This originally appeared in the Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletter 5.1. To read the entire newsletter, go here.

I watched Kung Fu Panda and could not help but think that it was an allegory about coaching today’s generation of children. The panda is chosen as the warrior even though he is fat and out of shape. He has to prove himself to his teacher before he can read the scroll that contains the hidden powers. When he finally reads the scroll, it is a mirror. At first, he is disappointed, as there is no way that he can defeat the more powerful enemy. He feels that it was a mistake that he was chosen. However, he realizes: The secret is that there is no secret.

There are no magic powers or short cuts. The secret, regardless of pursuit, is deliberate practice: highly concentrated work in the direction of a specific goal with the right amount of feedback from a quality instructor. The secret to five-minute abs is a dedicated diet that shrinks one’s body fat percentage to 6-8% for males. The secret to being a better basketball player is practicing more often and practicing with full concentration on a specific goal.

Otherwise, there is no secret. No video, book, trainer or coach can make you into a great player. There are plenty of gimmicky programs designed to promise quick results with a minimum of effort and work. They are gimmicks designed to entice the lazy, just as the panda assumed that the secrets contained in the scroll would make him into a warrior even without practicing, eating right, etc.

The secret is there is no secret.

By Brian McCormick
Author, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League

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