Back in 2010, the first Team Esface 6th grade AAU team was formed. They would later become known as the "First Born Sons" aka "The Inaugural Class" or "Team Esface 1's". This was arguably one of the most competitive/winningest groups of ballers assembled on the peninsula. Not only was it complete with every style of player a team needs but even more importantly was the mindset they embodied. They were hungry and willing to put in work. They would eat. stay hungry. and repeat. This led to many local and even a national championship.
Their mindset can best be described by our Mind Body Skill (MBS) core value of the week: Toughness aka "Anti-Softness", Anti-Softness in this context, can be defined, as an individual seeking to be proactive in any given situation, rather than reactive. Never let your opponent dictiate your position or attitude, etc. Easy way to think of it is being a predator rather than the prey. Are you the lion or the gazelle?
Today I'm going to talk about one of these players who most epitomized this trait, Jeremiah Testa. He first joined the program as a practice player because he was ineligible to play (based on where he lived). He would come to every practice and give 100%, giving my active roster players fits even though he couldn't play in a game for the entire season. Eventually, he would join the team and instantly changed the complexion of the team. He was such a hungry, tough player he would ask me if he could stay in a full-court press the entire game..even if we went up 20 and he played most of the game!! It was this mental toughness, coupled with an unparalleled motor that allowed him to be the starting shooting guard for the first Serra High School State championship team (yes including Tom Brady's football team when he was a Padre :). 3 of the starting 5 members of this team were members of the starting 5 (shout out to the other "first borns" John Besse and Lee Jones, Jr). To become a champion at any level it takes toughness. But what exactly does this word mean? Check out my favorite Anti-Softness article "Toughness" written by Jay Bilas to better understand how it looks on the basketball floor.
Now you don't have to be the strongest kid to display toughness but you've got to know how to use your body. Some ways you can display toughness on the defensive end, something you always have control over (unlike your shot always falling), are the following (taken from the "toughness" article above):
• Having a sense of urgency to stop the other team from scoring, not just your man.
• Getting on the floor for a loose ball.
• Taking a charge.
• Getting down in a stance and staying there.
Jeremiah did all of the above. That's why no matter how well he did on offense, his toughness on the defensive end made him such a high impact player that I had a hard time taking him out at any point. All coaches value defense so if you're struggling on offense, you can make a decision TODAY to become a value-add on the defensive end.
Become stronger today by signing up for John Murray's basketball specific strength training for all ages at the SportsHouse (Team Esface Cage).
Now let's talk about having skills that weave in the mental and physical toughness or "Anti-Softness". Team Esface introduced Anti-Softness training circa 2011 when we realized the need for a training style that pushes young players out of their comfort zones for the sake of mental and physical growth (the peninsula ballers became known "soft" and we set out to change that reputation one workout at a time). The older kids get the more physical the game gets, we believe developing a comfortability with this physicality is a crucial part of a young ballers development. Jeremiah Testa was one of the original Anti-Softness graduates, embracing these extra physical workouts since he was a young snotty-nosed kid. Below shows him training Aug 2015 before his senior year at Serra (Fall Preseason Training #attackyourweaknesses).
Check out the private training options to develop Anti-Softness in your athlete.
Where is Jeremiah Testa now??
With over a 4.0 cumulative HS GPA, he received a full-ride scholarship to Menlo College to play basketball. As a freshman, he is currently coming off the bench as a high-impact player, one game even knocking down a game winning three pointer!!! Check him out and show some Team Esface love while playing at Menlo College sometime.
Please be on the look out for the weekly Tuesday MBS Newsletter and feel free to give me feedback on topics you want to hear about by replying to this email.
Volume uno and I'm out.
Stay Hungry. Stay Esface.
Coach Dele Sobomehin
Check out other Jeremiah Testa Highlights and displays of his Anti-Softness: