SOUTH EAST Melbourne Phoenix star Mitch Creek has urged young Warrnambool basketballers to face failure head on as they plan their rises to the top of their sport.
Creek spoke candidly to a group of Warrnambool junior basketballers on a Zoom Q&A meeting last week, which was recorded and has since been posted on the association's Facebook page.
The 28-year-old, who hails from the country town of Horsham, spoke of the challenges in the early stages of his basketball career, some highlights from his short time in the NBA system, his influences and inspirations.
He also offered plenty of advice for the budding stars from the region.
The former Adelaide 36ers captain's final thoughts for the lucky interviewees was around working hard, enjoying the process and staying open minded.
"My biggest thing is I try to go into any situation with an open mind with the ability to learn and absorb as much information possible," the small forward said.
"You never want to leave a meeting, a lesson, leave information and go 'Oh I'm not 100 per cent sure' instead of asking that question and getting that answer and being 100 per cent certain, don't.
"You leave yourself short and don't develop as much as you can. Whether it's a skill set, technique, information, scouting education, all those things make a great basketballer.
Have a listen to this week's edition of The Standard's podcast on The Booletin and Beyond.
"So whoever is going to try and put their hand up and be a professional athlete and this be my job and get paid to do this it all comes down to how hard do you want to work.
"If you want to be the hardest worker in the room with the most curious mind of learning and absorbing information you are going to give yourself a very good chance.
"So be curious, don't be afraid to fail, it's OK, I still make mistakes every single day, you learn from them and every single day you try and be better than you were the day before."
The former Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard offered advice of what young basketballers could be doing for training during isolation.
"Right now a good one that you could be doing is plenty of ball handling," the 2018 All-NBL second team member said.
"Staying down in a nice, deep stance and not standing up too tall like a bit of long spaghetti because if you stay low you are going to train your legs to down in stance, to be nice and powerful and strong which is going to help your defence
"Strong legs make you run faster, jump higher as well but the ball handling is a big one and you can never handle a ball enough, you can never practice it enough.
"I think a really good way to develop that side of your game is to pound the ball as hard as you can and go until you are tired and then keep going and keep going and doing it in a good attacking stance is going to help your ball handling as well."
Creek also said it was important for players to think about implementing other forms of training that don't centre around basketball to help their fitness overall.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.