Players across all levels of basketball want their fair share of playing time and the feeling that they have contributed to the success of their team. In order to bring this fruiton, players often do the best they can to impress the coach, who makes the decisions on playing time.
You’ve worked hard to make the team and even harder to get playing time. There are many players on your squad and not everyone will get equal playing time. Sometimes you may not see the time you expect to get because everyone is in the same position, and working just as hard as you are to play more as well. Here are 5 key things you can do to impress your coach and earn more playing time along the way:
1. Be Coachable
Take a good, hard look at where your skills rank and whether you are trying your best to get better everyday. If you focus your frustration solely on the coaches, then you stop growing as a player. There is always something that can be improved upon. Maybe it’s skills, conditioning, or even attitude. Learn to find your strengths and use them often. If you don’t know what your strengths are, ask the coach what you are doing well, not just where you need to improve.
Your coaches love it when you ask them after practice what you can improve upon. It means that you care and that you want to put the time in to improve their game. Take some risks and try the skills, or drills the way the coach asks you to, even if it’s outside your comfort zone. Nobody got anywhere by being comfortable. Do everything that you can on a daily basis to work on those weaknesses and improve, the rest will work itself out with enough repetition.
2. Make It To Practice Early
Bring a few basketballs or cones and work on your core weaknesses. Whether it’s your left hand, jumpshot, or footwork, make sure you pinpoint each weakness and come up with a plan to eat away at them, one by one. Make an impression on your coach by showing them that you care and want to improve.
If you didn’t play very much during the last game, then you’ll have extra energy that can really make you stand out at practice. It may be difficult to get over the fact that you didn’t play much, but use that as fuel to drive you to greatness. The practice after games is your time to shine. Come in prepared and ready to show how you can contribute to the team during the next game.
3. Be A Student Of The Game
One trait you will find that is both significant and common amongst many successful basketball players is how they continue to be students of the game. Although your favorite NBA players are very talented, they still they choose to continue to keep learning from one another. Becoming a student of the game is an important step that only you can make for yourself, and once that is done you will learn exactly how to slowly but surely get better at your craft each day.
4. Commit Yourself
If you are not able to improve individually the way you would like to during practice, then it may be time to take a look at some of the ways you are spending your free time. You may be able to schedule an extra hour or two a week to work on your ball handling or your jump shot. Ideally it would be great to be in all of the activities that you want, but honestly assess your schedule and see if you can fit some extra time in for yourself to improve in the areas you are weaker in.
Also, if you find that you are committed to too many things and it’s hindering your academic and athletic development, it might be time to prioritize as well. We all love the sport but we also must keep in mind that academics are very important to our longterm success.
5. Do Things For The Benefit Of The Entire Team
Everyday at practice and especially during the games, you should be doing everything you can to benefit the team overall. If it means you playing to your strengths then thats excellent, but you may also have to do some things you are not as great for the betterment of the entire team. Coaches tend to bench players when they straw away from their strengths or simply when the players actions aren’t benefiting the everyone. So your goal should be to play to your strengths and assisting your teammates the best way that you can.
Success Requires Consistency
Success comes from little repeated efforts during practice and games over the course of the whole season. When you’re bummed, remember why you tried out for the team in the first place, how it felt when you made the team, and wear your jersey with pride. You earned your spot, now get out there and do everything you can to maximize your potential.
Like anything else, nothing is guaranteed, but if you do these things with consistency, you will increase your chance of gaining the attention of your coach and the reward of time on the court.