This basketball season is soon coming to a close. This is a great time for reflection and self assessment. Whether you led your team to a tournament championship or found yourself riding the pine with a losing season you are the only person that can hold yourself accountable for your performance of lack thereof.
1. Be Honest with yourself.
What does it mean to be accountable to yourself? When talking about your skills and awareness on the basketball court you MUST have a critical view of your own performance. Did you have a problem committing turnovers? Or maybe your shooting percentage wasn’t what you hoped or expected it to be.
When having the conversation with yourself about what went well and what could be better it is vital that you do not sugar coat it; that you use the season that you are coming off of as tool to identify the areas of your game that need immediate attention.
2. Don’t Procrastinate; Get Better At Something
If you look at players considered the best at any level of play from high school through the pros you will see a common theme. Players that are considered the best are CONSTANTLY working on 1 or more aspects of their game. They understand that the off season isn’t for the players- it’s for the spectators. The time to get into basketball training for dribbling, shooting, running a fast break or applying pressure defensefull court is NOW. Between now and November you have the opportunity to visualize the type of player you want to be and with that in mind you can put your head down and begin to grind out the bumps and smooth the edges of your game until you become the player you see yourself capable of being. Get to it.
3. Seek Out Help
We would all love to believe that we can figure things out on our own all the time but sadly that just is not reality. We all need help at some point to push us to the higher levels we reach for. Don’t let complacency or embarrassment hold you back from achieving your goals and feeling the satisfaction of reaching and surpassing your own expectations. Search for the resources that are available to you. There might belocal basketball classes or private basketball training that you can take advantage of to get you on track for next season. The internet is a great resource to get ideas for training individual skill sets if you can’t find resources that are local to your area.
4. Commit And Follow Through
This is probably toughest thing for many people to really accomplish. Sure you may have really analyzed your season and come to some tough realizations about where you need to improve. You might have begun researching the resources that are available to you and have a plan to put them to use but until you start the process, none of your preparation matters. Put a start date in your calendar and stick to that commitment. Taking the initiative and getting back in the gym to work on your game will put you a head of 75% of your competition when the next season arrives. So just showing up and beginning to work gives you and edge but in order to get ahead of the other 25%; well that’s a topic for another article but it starts where this one ends. Who knows, you might get voted as the Most Improved Player heading into next season! GET IN AND GET WORKING.
Whenever you imagine yourself playing basketball, 99 percent of the time you are in a situation where you have the ball and have your heart set on creating something, whether it be your own shot or an opportunity for a teammate. No one really imagines setting themselves up for the game winning shot by not having the ball to begin with. But in reality, this is where most uncontested shot opportunities begin. Being able to create a shot for yourself is important, but it is not everything. Having to create for yourself and your teammates can be rewarding, but it can also be very frustrating if things are not going your way. Being able to always find the open space on the court and make yourself available to an open pass for an uncontested shot is just as effective, and requires minimal effort if you are in great basketball shape. This is one of the easiest ways to Earn More Playing Time.
A perfect example of a player of this nature would be Ray Allen (in the latter years of his career). After all the athleticism left his body, he still found ways to be an effective shooter and scorer on the court, to remain a valuable piece to his team. He kept his body in great condition, to allow him to have a high motor to find open spots on the floor with non-stop movement. When you move without the ball, you will realize you create opportunities not just for yourself, but you will open up more opportunities for your teammates as well.
In the game of basketball, there are key players, role players, utility players, STAR players, and practice players. Although each and every player must serve a different role on their respective team, these roles do not have to be permanent. Early on in your career, you may find yourself in any one of these categories (obviously you would be happier being a STAR/key player rather than a role/practice player). The beautiful thing about this game is that year after year, situations can change and you can find yourself either in a better role or quite possibly in a weaker role. Even if you are waiting for your chance next season, there are things you can do at the end of your current season to put yourself in a better position for next year. There are many different factors that can influence your role on your team. One of the main things that help you transition UP the ladder is realizing that there are some things you may not be able to control in your situation with your team (don’t worry about these), but there are MANY things you CAN controlthat can affect your value as a player. My personal advice to all players (especially the younger players) is to not worry about your current situation, and continue working and practicing for the role you want NEXT season. ALOT CAN HAPPEN IN ONE YEAR/SEASON. TRUST ME.
I have known players that have gone unnoticed for years finally reach their potential and get that college scholarship everyone desires so much, some even making it to a professional level. On the other hand, I also personally know some players that were dubbed “the next best thing” that never panned out throughout high school or college, and were a huge disappointment based on the hype they received as a youth, and now are only legends at the park during the summer.
Below are several tips I have learned throughout the years that can IMMEDIATELY get you more attention as a player and eventually gain the respect of both your coach and teammates on your way to earning significant amounts of playing time.