The story of Darío Brizuela (San Sebastián, 26 years old) is a constant message of self-criticism and ambition. A transversal discourse that ranges from the basketball to the emotional, a facet that he develops with his studies in Psychology. His growing prominence with Unicaja and his constant strength with the Spanish team in the windows have placed him at the forefront of the group called to lead the generational change drawn by Sergio Scariolo. This Saturday, Brizuela is measured at Estudiantes (18.00, Movistar), the house where he grew up from 16 to 25 years old .
Question. How do you analyze your upward progression?
Response. In general I am happy. But from the Cup, for example, I did not leave with a good feeling despite the 33 points to Barça. If the team does not win this is useless. Flattery weakens. It's fine if it comes from your close circle, but I'm not sticking with that. You can always improve.
MORE INFORMATION Jaime Fernández and Darío Brizuela: "The national product never disappoints"The Calvary of EstudiantesThe mutation of Darío Brizuela
Q. At what point is between what you have achieved and what you aspire to achieve as a player ?
A. There are two ways to measure that. I never thought I was going to play in the ACB, so I am very proud and fulfilled. But I am very competitive and extremely demanding, to an unhealthy level. So I want to keep growing. There is a long way to go .
Q. How did the Psychology exams go?
R. Good. I prepared them a lot during the windows. In these bubble formats we spent a lot of time in the room and I was forced to study so as not to climb the walls. Even so, I am not an example of a student because my priority is basketball. I am in third year and I go to two courses a year.
P. You have said that in the future you would like to specialize in psychological work with minors and young people .
R. Yes, I want to focus my studies on them. Children are the most important because they are the future. Many go through problems that cut off their potential and grow up without adequate emotional education to develop social skills that allow them to progress. Lending a hand there is essential. We have too many kids on the road and as a society it is a luxury that we cannot afford. We must work to give them solutions and not leave them off the hook .
Q. Is there a gap in this emotional education?
A. Yes. We are making progress, but there is still a lot. Psychological problems are being talked about more and more, but we have been slow to give psychology the same baggage as other sciences. Going to the psychologist or psychiatrist was crazy until recently. You have to invest time and resources there because there are people who escape the potholes on their own but others do not, and that help is key. Taboos must be definitely broken. The pandemic is also wreaking havoc. In the studies carried out, young people between 19 and 28 years old declare that they are in a bad or very bad emotional state. That must be dealt with. They are the engine to get ahead .
Q. What link do you have with the reality of your generation?
R. I try to be close to my lifelong friends. We talk every day. I soak up their concerns and concerns and those of my generation, although I know that I am privileged. I have friends who are very prepared, who have worked a lot, and who do not have opportunities or job offers. They have problems to become independent … Many have had to emigrate .
Q. Have you always been clear about the plan b of the studies?
R. I do not recommend any kid to bet everything on sports. It is very difficult to get there and stay. You have to study for the future and also for mental health. It helps me to escape from the athlete's life. My great luck was the support and advice from my parents, since I was little, and now from my partner. The ability to work and analyze oneself is essential to forge a career, but the basic thing is the support system. That's what makes you consistent.
Q. What turning points have you marked on this journey?
A. I have had two. When I broke my foot as soon as I arrived in Madrid in 2011. I couldn't play again all year and I remember it as the lowest moment of my life. And then, as a professional, in Salva Maldonado's season in which Estudiantes signed Omar Cook, Edwin Jackson … and I played very little. That's when I realized that I had to do a lot more. From that moment, I changed my routines and my preparation in the summers. I went from training once a day to doing four sessions, to working on the psychological aspect, to strengthening the personality, making self-criticism, improving decision-making … and that formula is what has led me to progress . Does your mind have many nooks and crannies to squeeze and improve?
A. Yes, but they depend on the personality of each one. You have to push yourself to limits, without stopping but without going overboard. I pass. I don't enjoy things the way I should and I work to find that balance. It's not enough just to crush yourself, you have to live and enjoy the road.
P. After scoring 33 points at Barça I was asking for the video of the game, but to analyze all its failures and the nine turnovers it had.
R. Yes That night I didn't sleep at all and the next day my girlfriend threw me off. I have to learn to turn the page and not whip myself.
MORE INFORMATION Scariolo: “Pau Gasol wants to feel like a player before a legend”
Q. Are you aware of being in the middle of the generational change in the national team?
R. of the world champions, but our opportunity is coming and we have to be prepared. We do not have pressure is to be aware that the moment is going to come. Sergio Scariolo has the merit of having transmitted us the values, the rules and the characteristics of the national team, what it means to be there. He is educating us in that to fill the gaps that appear and the merit of the generational change is his. We want to leave our mark on the selection and hopefully replicate the titles. We want to continue competing for everything
Q. How do you experience facing Estudiantes?
R. The first time it was very difficult for me emotionally. Now I see them as one more rival. It is different and special off the court, because of the friends I have there and because my relationship with them goes beyond my career as a player. I was there for about nine years.
Q. To finish. A piece of advice that you do not forget your parents and that you will try to pass on to your children?
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116