You want to stand out in basketball. You do not miss practice. You train hard and do what your coach says. You show hard work ethic, you always give the best you got but still, you do not seem to move any forward. How many times have you wondered why you are not improving yourself? How many were the times that you asked yourself “What am I doing wrong”? And even, how many times have you wondered whether you are good enough for the sport of basketball? Well, the answer my friend is hidden deep in your heart and in some crucial details that you should really apply to your daily routine.
1. Stay motivated and act with dedication
First and foremost, success and improvement require time and dedication. Champ, you have to want it on your own, you have to show willingness and make sacrifices in order to stand out. “Without that internal motivation, no amount of external motivation can be effective”, tell us the words of a true wise man. Whether you are a starter in your team or you just sit on the edge of your team’s bench, there is always room for improvement.
2. Keep working and train extra
You can always work on your skills, conditioning, basketball IQ, strength, and agility. Can you do them all during practice time? Of course not. What you can do though is train extra besides the actual practice. Meaning, go the gym a couple of hours before practice and work on your position drills or lift some weights. Want more? Stay in the gym long after practice and take as many shots as you can.
3. Fight 👊 your fears and eliminate excuses
Another significant issue that prevents improvement is fear – fight the fears in you champ. Do not be afraid to try things that you have been working hard upon and do it in every practice and every game. It doesn’t matter if things do not turn out the expected way, it is persistence that will determine your progress. Failure is temporary; use it as a learning experience and you will improve as a player. Moreover, stop complaining and eliminate your excuses. Such emotional distractions limit your ability to improve and stand out. Always be willing to accept criticism from those with more experience. After receiving criticism, continue to give all you’ve got.
4. Become a student of your position
Furthermore, you should always remember that you play a team sport. You should know your role in the team and develop high levels of cooperation! Not everyone can be the leading scorer, best shooter or top performer all the time. It’s not about you; it’s about your team. That is why you should become a student of your position by understanding the skills, fundamentals, and conditioning required.
5. Increase your basketball IQ 🧠
Use the internet to learn about your position, game strategy and on-court decisions. You will stand out in the eyes of your coach and dramatically increase his trust in your game, which should result in more playing time. Many players have a high skill level but a low basketball IQ. Dedicate yourself to understanding your game and becoming an all-around performer (Read more about: All-Arounder: The new breed of Basketball Players).
Inspiration may be the key
You say it cannot be done? You say it’s too difficult to achieve? Well… nobody said it’s easy but fortunately there are athletes who can prove that. One perfect example that did all the above and worked in silence to become not only a better player in the court but also a better person out of it, was the wise man I mentioned a few paragraphs above. His name… Dimitris Diamantidis!
You would, of course, know him as the star player in Panathinaikos and the Greek National Team and one of the best playmakers in Europe! What you may not be familiar with, is the patience and the persistence he showed for the basketball game when he was a youngster. Diamantidis used to be a weak little boy back in his youth and did not take part in any of the youth basketball teams apart from his own homeplace team, Kastoria. His physical strength was poor, yet, his basketball IQ and the overall understanding of the game were strong points that led him to the top.
So what you need to do is follow his lead and try to develop your basketball abilities in and out of the court. Approach the basketball game from a different angle and think big like the wise man did!