Can you imagine training countless hours in the summer on developing your role just to find out that your coach had other plans for you on the team. Hearing the words “play your role” from your coach when utilizing skills you added to your game can be a devastating experience for a player who dedicated their entire summer to play a more meaningful role on the team. Players may develop self doubt and their confidence may be shattered.
The good news is that every team at every level has coaches who need to fill specific roles in order to have a successful season.
It is important to become a well rounded basketball player, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t become a specialist at a specific role needed on a basketball roster. Some of the most over looked skills in Basketball are rebounding and defense. If you can provide either of those skills at a high rate you will immediately become serviceable to a team at every basketball level. Professional players such as Chicago Bulls Dennis Rodman and Detroit Positions Ben Wallace, made millions of dollars grabbing rebounds and taking on defensive assignments on the opposing big man.
We are all born unique. We have different physical make ups and abilities. Some are born with natural skill while others have to work for it. Needless to say we all have something to offer. It is important for a player to understand that early on, and master their god given gifts.
Not everyone can be the star player just like not everyone can be the manager at a job. In order to be a a part of the team it is important to understand the roles that are in need, and how you can provide that for the organization. Too many players want to develop their skills to become a star. Even parents worry that their child may not make the middle school, high school or college team because of their child‘s less attractive role. The truth is that if a player can master a specific skill set that can provide value to a team such as becoming a knock down catch and shoot player, a force on the rebounds, or even a great screener, that player may receive plenty of playing time and possibly a scholarship or professional contract.
The best way to establish yourself on the team, and eventually improve your playing position is to master your current role while continuing to develop into the player that you aspire to be. Please keep in mind that team needs change during the season. Coaches are able to better understand their team during practices and games. In some cases injuries happen and new roles may be assigned in order to fill the loss. It is inevitable that changes will occur.
My advice is to stay positive. Embrace your current role. Excel and let your game do the talking. Coaches are watching and will use you as they see fit. I always tell players that a coaches decision is still someone else’s opinion of you wether good or bad. As the great motivational speaker Les Brown says “Don’t let someone else's opinion of you become your reality”, accept the current opportunities given to you on the team and excel in them, but continue to work for the role that you feel you have worked so hard for because like I mentioned earlier in this article, the role your next coach may need, may be the role that you have been working so hard to add to a team!
Remember to train with purpose and put up meaningful reps no matter the skill you are trying to master. If you can ENVISION it, IT’S POSSIBLE!
-Coach Pedro Rios