What Coaches Want From Athletes – Basketball

I have been working with high school and college basketball athletes for a number of years and it amazes me how important communication is on and off the court.  There is the support that the bench gives the team on the floor. There is the nonverbal and verbal communication the coaches, trainers and team doctors give to the players on the floor.  All in all the depth and breath of communication is at the core of a teams overall working “system”. Each and every college team has a system that is taught from day one. Acceptance, understanding and mastery of the system methodology is critical to a teams success. Without mastery in system execution consistency is all but a dream.  But what happens when communication is hindered in some way.

Odds are that coach will either remove a player that is not following the plan or system, or will call a time out to regroup, and refine the on court approach. Most often at the college level coaches will not tolerate deviation from the system plan. The system is designed around an approach that has consistently worked in execution and outcome. The entire ebb and flow of the offense, and team cohesion is centered around the system. The heart beat of the team as a unit (its system) is what brings the verbal and non-verbal communication style to practices and games. The core and fundamental theme to the teams operation is dependent on players and coaches following the system. The success of the system is as strong as its weakest link. This is why coaches look for athletes that have the mindset to learn, adhere to, and can function within a set of standards for performance and conduct. Success over time is dependent on having players that can function in this type of environment. This may require players to disconnect from the way they played at a lower level, and change their style of play. Some high school players do well performing within their own unique styles, but when playing for a college team with a defined system of operation the player may find it hard to excel if he or she is not willing to change to play within the confines of the system.

College coaches look for the following characteristics in the players they recruit;

  1. Athletes that listen.
  2. Athletes that know how top communicate effectively.
  3. Athletes that are self reliant.
  4. Athletes with positive body language.
  5. Athletes that practice with purpose and intention.
  6. Athletes that see the positives in their performance.
  7. Athletes that see the bigger picture and look beyond themselves.
  8. Athletes that honor the game.

If you are a high school basketball player or a high school athlete looking to play at a much higher it’s critical you look at your self and assess whether you can live up to these requirements. If you can then you have a great shot at playing for a very special school and team. If you don’t feel you can live up to these standards then you might like to consider what it is you may need to change in order to prepare you for what coaches want and expect at the college level.

If you have any questions or feel like you could use some help developing these characteristics please reach out to me by going to my web site and Ask Coach John. I would be happy to help you get there.


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