Author: Ryan Thomas
As a serious basketball player, student, or in a professional career you should always evaluate and reflect on your performance with an improvement mindset. You must be objective and specific as you look to identify areas that will propel you to the next level.
Accurate evaluation is one of the most difficult things to come by. However if you know how to seek out genuine constructive criticism and are able to accept it, this will put you far ahead of the competition on the court and in life.
Most people immediately become defensive and are automatically thinking of rebuttals, counter points, and ways to shift blame when presented with any type of “negative” feedback. Don’t let your ego or pride stand in the way of these opportunities for growth. Always remember the greats seek people to help them understand their weaknesses and improve them, not those that congratulate them on their strengths.
Here are some tools you can use in basketball to breakdown performance and intangibles.
- Self-reflection (Film doesn’t lie)
- Coach Observation (1 on 1 conversation)
- Teammate Feedback (Informal conversation)
As a basketball player, there are some specific questions that you should ask to help you reach your potential.
You will notice that the questions below have nothing to do with your ability to dribble, pass, shoot or even defend. These areas of your game are about your mindset and the attitude in which you approach the game. They have a great impact on individual and team success even if jump shots are not falling. Most coaches will tell you that they would rather coach a team full of players that play the right way with a little less skill than coach a team full of talented players that are selfish and refuse to do the little things right.
DO I COMMUNICATE?
- Communication is one of the most important attributes of successful teams
- Coach can’t be the loudest person on the team- he is usually the farthest from the play
- Defensive communication should be loud, constant and with a purpose
- Communication creates accountability, makes up for mistakes, and intimidates opponents
- Live huddles- if you watch great teams like Duke they always huddle and talk
- During dead balls or free throws for less than 10 seconds, but it keeps them together
AM I COACHABLE?
- Always display eye contact (truly listen and process the information don’t just nod)
- Have a YES SIR attitude! Do what is expected and what is asked.
- Know when/where to have a conversation
- Make the adjustment (no repeated mistakes)
- Being told you are coachable is one of the biggest compliments you can receive
DO I HAVE A BUSINESS MINDSET?
- If your goal is to play at the next level, Basketball is a job
- You should love your work!
- You must take your job seriously
- To truly get a promotion you must work more than 9-5 (Even average players show up to practice and mandatory events)
- What do you do outside of that time to separate yourself? (Film study, individual work, performance training & nutrition)
- When you punch the clock (step on the court) you must take advantage of the little time you have
- You either get better or worse, you never stay the same
- Not giving 100% is a hard habit to break)
The earlier in life you learn to be honest with yourself and have true self evaluation, the higher your ceiling will be. Those that refuse to admit shortcomings and think they can’t improve and get any better are usually right! They stop themselves from reaching their full potential.
For feedback, you can ask your team coach, your skill trainer, or a coach at a player development camp. Do not fool yourself. Seek out honest feedback and evaluate your performance in tangible and intangible ways.
NEVER STOP GROWING.