Potential for Greatness
We’ve had a lot of success over the last few seasons and to continue that success we are going to need some of our good players to become great this season. We talked a lot this Summer about our potential and we’ve seen a lot of commitment in our off-season workouts that have been very encouraging. That said, I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about how we are going to get players to take that “next step.” Below are some qualities we need to continue developing in our players that have the “potential” to be great this season.
Confident players are dependable and rarely get rattled in pressure situations. I love our players to have a shred of arrogance to them when they gather as a team at practice, prior to a game, and during the game. Being confident and believing in your ability is the cornerstone to making a great player. We don’t want this to become a detriment to the team or our school’s image but absolutely want our players to have a little swagger to them.
Observant players can be challenging for coaches because they are always looking to understand “why” they need to do something a certain way to be successful. It should be noted that these are my favorite types of kids to coach as they really work to learn the game. It’s an awesome experience to see these players get it and totally buy in to our team strategy. One caution to working with these players is that we encourage them to trust their instincts and learn to react in games and not over think themselves. That said, their success-ceiling dramatically increases when they know when and why we do things.
Concentration sounds simple enough when thinking about success but when you think back on your players how many of them can truly come to practice every single day and block out all the distractions and concentrate on improving themselves? We all have little dramas in our life that pop up and the great players can use basketball as an escape and shut out the other things in life. The best teams I have been part of have players with the ability to come in and concentrate on the task at hand and shut out those distractions whether it’s when we are having a Championship season and we can’t look beyond an opponent, or when they are by themselves shooting in the gym before or after practice.
Leadership, Relationships, & Attitude all belong together in my mind when talking about great players. Great players make their teammates better with their skill on the court but it’s also their ability to lead those players that determines your team’s success. Lots of teams have “great” players that don’t know how to get the most out of their teammates and they demonstrate it in their body language. Instead of picking them up and giving them a pat on the butt they yell at them for making a mistake. Some players react well to this type of motivation while others fall apart. It’s important for our great players to develop these relationships and understand as a coach does how to motivate and get the best out of their teammates. Having another voice other than the coach reinforcing your philosophy is a great attribute to have in a player when building team chemistry.
Coach Justin Duke
Played at Linn Benton CC for two years and in the IBL for one season