The Mysterious “X”
The X Factor by its very nature is an unknown quantity, it is an “x.” But despite its elusiveness, I’ve made a study of it, and the players who have this X Factor seem to display the following qualities. If you start to display these qualities, you too will have be an X Factor player.

Defining the Undefinable

  1. You have a “clutch gene.” Simply put, you are unafraid of big moments. You seem to play better in the 4th quarter and as the clock winds down. This also means you close out quarters and at the end of shot-clocks well. This is true in real games, and in pick-up games. It may also carry over into games other than basketball. You always seem able to make the big play. It really comes down to shutting off your mind, having a quiet yet enormous belief in yourself, to deliver when the pressure is on.
  2. You pass confidence on to your teammates. This belief in yourslef, this borderline cockiness, your teammates feed off of that. It gives them swagger. Have you ever been on a date with a really good-looking guy or girl, and their good-lookingness puts a little extra bounce in your step? That’s how teammates feel around an X Factor person. How do you have confidne like this? First, control your thoughts and images. Always see things working out, always say, “I can do it, I am incredibly awesome. I am always in the zone.” And you think this around the clock until it’s in your bones.  Second, move like a champion, dress like a champion. Third, confidence grows from preperation, you will feel more confidence the more you train. More yet, when teammates view a devoted player, they feel more confident. They trust you.
  3. You are consistency like this. Day in, day out – you show up to work and work hard. X Factor players don’t mess around. When they step on the court, they work.
  4. You are in top shape, you are the last to leave the gym. You have honed your skills. If you fail, the teammates will understand, it was not from a lack of conditioning, skill work, or being mentally ready to play. X Factor players lose, but they lose the right way.
  5. You value workout out over hanging out. Your life is dedicated to that which you love most – the game. You may have a vibrant social life, but people have zero questions about where “your mind is at.”
  6. You truly care about teams success, and championships. You put banners up, period.
  7. You truly care about your teammates, you make sure they are okay. There are limits to this: If they have a major personal problem in their life, you help them in anyway they can, but you have no time for their minor problems. They have to handle those and not let it distract the team.
  8. You are unafraid to push your teammates, and hold them accountable. This is uncomfortable for many people at first. Why? Because if you get on someone’s case, you better have your stuff together.
  9. You know the offense and defensive assignments – for everyone. You are a second coach. Your mind works like a coach.
  10. You step up for the tough assignments. You want the tough defensive assignment. If you are going against a rebounding behemoth, you will go grab rebounds.
  11. You are friendly with your teammates, but a little bit separate. You are so dedicated, that you are a little bit different than them. In any organization, the leader needs a little distance to lead. Your parents are your friends, but they can also yell at you. You allow a parent to do this because they a) truly have wisdom, and b) they truly care about you.
  12. You begin to get lucky breaks, things work out for you.  The basketball gods like you.
  13. Your success builds atop of success. You are Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps.
  14. You feed off crowds – you feed most off away team crowds. There is a funnel from the crowd into the player with the X factor’s soul. You don’t let the crowd control you but you feed off of it. You score 63 in Boston Garden, or you go into a Game 7 on the road and win.
  15. You are extremely smooth when you play, or extremely passionate. (Sometimes both). X Factor players make tricky shots, and moves. You make iconic plays. You also dive for loose balls, and don’t take crap from anyone. You also don’t get ejected or get many technical fouls. It’s a fine line.
  16. You are competitive to almost an insane degree. (This is something you have to control because it can possibly get you in trouble off the court.)
  17. People actual fear talking trash to you. They don’t want to turn you on, flip your switch. Players respect you, but they also fear you. You don’t tug on the X Factor’s cape!