If you want to be a great player and play at the highest levels you need to think about studying the game.
This does not mean sit down and take tests about the best players or the teams with the most titles, like the BOSTON CELTICS! This means learn from those that have knowledge of the games, read about defenses, offenses, about different approaches to the coach or different philosophies to the game. The more you know, the more you know you don’t know, so never feel like you know it all.
It is a plain fact that a smarter player is a better player. You do not have to be the highest jumper, the fastest runner or the best shooter. What you need to strive to be is the best player you can be and to make the smartest decisions possible while on the court and than comes from being prepared off the court.Do not concentrate on just one part of your game. Hone your skills on every facet of the game.
Even though everyone want s to be the biggest dunk artist or sit back and lob in 3’s from downtown, if you are good all around player you will “stick” around longer than most. A complete player is more important to the coach than a dunk artist. Why do you think the dunking contest is only once a year?
The vertical leap is great to have and that three from downtown helps your team, but if you can stick to your man on defense, or shut him down, or if you can hit that open cutter in the lane or grab that rebound and hit the outlet pass then your value to the coach is all around, not just at one end of the court. Remember, offense if for show, defenses is for the dough.
Meaning offense is nice, but defense wins games and championships, ask Bill Russell. He was the best defender in the game, but not the best shooter. He was the best shot blocker of his time, but not the fastest player nor did he dunk much on his opponent. Bottom line is he was one of the top five best to play the game and won 11, yes ELEVEN championships.
So when practicing outside alone or with a team, remember to do everything as best you can without worrying about being the best at everything. Coaches are always in need of a superstar that scores points or that rebounds like no other, but if you make sure you have no glaring weakness in your game, you will last much longer than most.
Being a student of the game is to know that the game is bigger than you. Knowing that there are five individuals playing but no one player beat the five opponents that are on the floor. Study you opponents as well. Know their strengths and their weaknesses. Do not rely just on your coach. Being prepared will show the coach just how valuable you really are.