Coach Van and I were recently talking with some of our players about “playing to their strengths”. I found this article from the blog: “The Unguardables” which hits on that same topic. Check it out:
My question to you is: Are you pretending to be a player that you’re really not?
A couple years ago I was working with a player who told me he was a three point shooter. I’m not sure of his shooting percentage (in games), but I could tell from the first time that I worked with him that he wasn’t a “3-point shooter.” The fact that you can make 3’s doesn’t mean you’re a 3-point shooter. You need to be able to make them consistently in games.
So who are you as a player? Don’t lie.
It’s important to be honest with yourself so that you can play to your strength(s). This doesn’t mean that you can’t transform yourself into a different player; it means that while you’re working on transforming yourself as a player you still play to your strength(s).
I’ve worked will all types of players from true point guards to shooting guards, post players, to big men who play on the wing. The important thing is to realize where your strengths are and to play to them. At the same time you’re playing to those strengths you can be working on transforming and expanding your game during practice.
Here is a great exercise you can do as a player:
1) Write down your current position (e.g. point guard, shooting guard, power forward, center) and the 3 things that you do best (“best” meaning things you can execute consistently in games) .
2) Next, write down 5 important skills and qualities you need to improve to take your game to the next level.
3) Compare where you currently are and where you want to go.
Position: Point Guard
3 strengths of my game:
- Sharp crossover dribble
- Penetrating ability
5 skills and qualities I need to improve:
- Know all of the teams plays
- Be able to guard the other teams starting PG
- Make free throws at a high percentage (especially down the stretch)
- Create easy shots for other players
- Control the Flow of the game (play how your coach wants to you on the offensive and defensive end)
The big take away from this activity should be that you need to be honest with who you are as a player. Don’t make believe you’re a point guard if you’re really a big man. Rondo would not be in the NBA if he wanted to be a shooting guard; KD wouldn’t be the most effective player if he was playing center and around the basket all of the time (even though he’s 6’9”); Lebron wouldn’t dominate on the offensive end if he slowed the ball down and played more tentatively (he’s too fast, strong, and athletic).
All of these players know who they are as a player, and yet know they need to improve to become a better version of themselves.
Who are you?