Do you play for a demanding coach? Do you do exactly what your coach asks you to do when you are out on the court? If you’ve answered yes to both of these questions, chances are you pay attention to detail very well. This is an excellent trait to have as a player and as a person in general, although this trait does have a downside. When you are on the court it is very important to have what your coach wants in mind, but it is also just as important to improvise when you are playing. You must be able to read and react to the game as it happens around you. One of the worst explanations a coach wants to hear from their player after making a mistake is “well I was just doing what you told me to do.” Of course your coach wants you to do what he/she wants, but they also want you to make decisions on your own as well! Don’t be a robot by just focusing on doing what your coach wants you to do. Instead be a basketball player and integrate what your coach wants accomplished into the flow of the game! Think the game as you are playing it, react to different situations that occur, and you will be one step closer to becoming the player your coach wants you to be!
An injury can be a major set-back mentally and physically depending on it’s severity. If you are dealing with an injury that requires surgery, you’re more than likely going to be out for the remainder of the season. It is important during this time to stay focused, and try to be positive. Dealing with an injury can be a trying time in an athletes career. Many questions, concerns and doubts come to mind. But instead of focusing on the negative aspects of it, focus on the positive. A lot of athletes come back faster, stronger, and quicker after bouncing back from an injury. So as crazy as it may sound you may actually benefit from your injury depending on your situation. Also remember when you get injured it is not the end of the world (although it may feel like it). Your injury will come and go, always remember that! Lastly, listen to what the doctor tells you. Doctor’s spend years in medical school for a reason, they know what they’re talking about! So if you feel that you are 100%, but your doctor tells you are not ready yet, then listen! Coming back too soon may set you back even further due to re-injury! As long as you remember to remain positive, be patient, and to listen to your doctors advice, you will be just fine!
If you are reading this, and you currently do not watch any game film of yourself I would advise you to start doing so as soon as possible. Watching game film is a great way to learn from the mistakes you’ve made and how to prevent them from happening again. When you watch film, do not just watch to see how many points you scored or how many assist you got, etc. Instead, break the film down one possession at a time and take note of the little things you did or did not do. Did you box out after a shot was taken? Did you run as fast as you could during a fast break? Were you giving your all on the defense end? These are the type of questions you should be asking yourself. When you master the little things on the court, you will bring your productivity to a entirely new level. These are just a few things to focus on while watching film, just remember to never get caught just watching the game over. Learn from it just as you do when you are in the classroom!
Many players wonder about what mind-state they should be in on game day. Some have been told to be overly serious and focused, while others have been told to be more relaxed and poised. What is my advice to you? Do what ever works! Everyone is different, we all have different personalities. What works for one may not work for another. Personally I prefer to be loose and relaxed before a game, but for someone else that may not work! The bottom line is do what ever it is that you need to do to be mentally prepared for your game. Whether that’s listening to your favorite songs, or reading your favorite book or maybe even going for a jog. What ever it is that prepares you to be ready for game time, do it!
As a member of your basketball team it is important to make sure that you always have a “team first” attitude! The easiest way to become the “bad apple” of the bunch is to be selfish and have a “me first” mentality when playing the game of basketball. It is important to “Swallow Your Pride” and put your teammates first in all situations. Think carefully about what you do on and off the court because the decisions you make not only affect you, they also affect your teammates. This same approach needs to be applied when your coach tells you something that you do not agree with. Instead of going against what he is suggesting, trust his judgment and listen! Swallowing your pride takes a lot of strength, and is a skill that is developed overtime. It doesn’t happen overnight so be sure to work hard at mastering it everyday!
Being in a position of leadership is very important on any sports team, especially a basketball team. If you happen to be a captain or co-captain on your team, let me be the first to tell you: “take this role very seriously!” When you are given the title of “captain” there is so much more meaning behind the title then what is presented at face value. This role of leadership means that you are second in command to the coaching staff, and that the coach trusts you, your judgement, and leadership skills to assist him in managing the team. Not only does your coach believe in you, but your fellow teammates do as well. This is why it is very important to take it serious. Be sure that when you are given this position you understand that it is a privilege, and not a right to be a captain! Be very careful you do not allow the power that comes with this position to go to your head! Remain humble! If you begin to allow your ego to overtake you, you WILL lose respect from your teammates that is a guarantee! You also need to make sure that you keep your teammates calm in times of chaos (ie; close games, losing streaks during the season, etc). It is not just the coaches job to make sure the team keeps their focus, it is YOUR job to! Your teammates need to be able to look to you for guidance, and direction. You are the “head of the horse” so to speak, if you don’t have your act together the rest of your team won’t either. Be sure to acknowledge your teammates and their efforts as well if you are ever interviewed for the school or local newspaper, etc. By doing this not only are you remaining humble, but you will also gain respect from your fellow teammates. Not only that, it is a FACT that you would be NOTHING if it wasn’t for your team. No one man can beat an opposing team by himself, it takes a unit! Take your position seriously and perform it with pride, and dignity and remember to always stay humble! As long as you follow these few tips, you will be okay!
There are many ups and downs during a basketball season, that’s why it is important for you to stay consistent! If you are not playing as much as you feel you should be, try to stay positive and remember that it’s a long season. At the college level you may play up to thirty games or more in a single season. On the high school level you may play up to twenty-five games! During that time there will be injuries that occur, amongst many other things. That is why it is so important for you to keep a positive mind-set, and to stay in the gym. If you are not playing as much as you wish then put some extra work in at the gym, study extra game film, etc. You must work twice as hard as the man who is playing in front of you, that way when your number is called you will be ready to go! You cannot afford to allow a negative attitude or lack of work ethic prevent you from playing well when it’s your time to shine. If you are not doing everything in your power to get better, then you have no one to blame but yourself!