I asked a player with whom I am quite familiar what he could have done better after a game, and he said “nothing”. To be fair, he played well, made very few mistakes and generally had a postive impact on his team’s performance, but the answer was troubling. It was bloated with contentment, and contentment is the enemy of greatness. Greatness is the result of an unrelenting push at the extreme margins of performance, and demands constant critique.
This is distinquishable from confidence-sucking, second-guessing as it requires a detached assessment of performance that does not invade the hallowed preserve of self-belief, but recognizes that subtle, incremental changes to a decision, speed of decision or technical execution can result in greater consistency, or a game changing play. To be critical of an ostensibly good performance manifests a heightened level of confidence, and is mandatory for transcendant development as a player.