It is known that you have to score to be recruited. Due to the visibility of the recruiting process, a double-digit scoring average in basketball is a necessity to get looks at the college level. However, when it comes down to how much you score, a lot of excuses float around. Probably the most consistent phrase heard from basketball players across the country is, “But my coach won’t let me.”
It could be that you feel your coach isn’t letting you play the right position, or that you are restricted in the offense. Or you might have a coach who limits the number of shots you get per game, or one who prefers multiple passes before someone shoots the ball. Regardless, there are ways for you to be successful in any role or situation.
RELATED: Class of 2015 Basketball Players: 3 Recruiting Actions to Take This Fall
Turn Defense Into Offense
One area that no coach can control, or would ever complain about for that matter, is the ability to turn defense into offense. This means really turning up your intensity on the defensive end of the floor. Playing in the help-side, you could get a steal that leads to a fast-break layup. You could deflect the ball from an offensive player, and it could end up back in your hands on the break. You could even get a defensive rebound that you push in transition and that could lead to some type of offensive score. The bottom line is that every player should have the mindset to score 4 to 8 points per game from actions that happen on the defensive end of the floor. This alone will jumpstart your scoring average, and most coaches will love your improved defensive effort. It’s a win-win situation for keeping you on the court and adding to your points average.
Take Pressure Off Yourself
Restrictions in your offense can create unneeded pressure on every shot attempt. Because you know you may get only five shots per game, you start thinking too much about each shot attempt, causing you to become tight in your approach. Your mind is a powerful part of your game. You can’t think about anything except what’s happening in the moment. You should not think about how many points you have, whether a shot will be the last one you get in the game, or if there is a sub at the scorer’s table waiting to take you out.
The only thing you should think about is making the shot you are taking. A lot players shoot with the “I hope I don’t miss” approach, while others shoot with the “I am going to make this shot” approach. The confidence you put into your shot will shine through in your mechanics and body language, and can often determine whether it is a make or a miss. So basically, take the pressure off yourself to score, relax and stay positive.
Let’s face it, we all are not lucky enough to play for Coach K. Coaching in high school is like the title of an old western movie, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Regardless of your coach and what he is “letting” you do on offense, if you play well, he will have no choice but to continue to incorporate you into the offense.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself and start taking a more aggressive and positive approach to each game. We’ve all seen coaches on the sideline who yell “No, No, No!” as a player’s shot is flying through the air. Then, when the shot swishes, the same coach starts clapping and yelling, “Great Shot!” This is a prime example of how you have to approach the game—make your shots, don’t turn the ball over and play tough defense.
Don’t give your coach a reason to not play you. If you are performing well, you will be on the floor. I understand that unfortunately some coaches are into the politics of your school or town. However, you can only control how you well you play when you are on the court.
Attitude Is Everything
You don’t like your coach. Maybe you feel he is holding you back or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Guess what? Your coach is still your coach—and an adult for that matter. You must keep a good attitude and show your coach respect.
You do not have to be best friends with your coach, but you do have to respect him or her. Some visible signs coaches look for involve body language. If your coach subs for you and you walk off of the court looking at the scoreboard, you are saying without saying, “Coach, why did you take me out, I have only been in for two minutes.” If you are sitting on the bench not clapping for your teammates, you are saying without saying, “I am not a team player, I only care about myself.”
Things like rolling your eyes, shaking your head and slumping your shoulders are all little things that tell a coach you disagree with what he or she is saying. This will not only affect your relationship with your coach, but it could impact your playing time. Regardless of how you feel, showing positive body language will help your situation. Cheering for teammates, being energetic on the court and making eye contact with your coach will not only make you look better, but also help you become more tuned into the game. The more positive your attitude and body language, the more positive things will happen on the court.
If you aren’t scoring as much as you may want, you may need some help in the recruiting process. Click here to find out how to get help!
RELATED: Basketball Recruiting Tips From the Syracuse Orange