Ten Ways To Earn More Playing Time and Improve Your Game

How’s the team basketball season going so far for you?  A couple weeks ago we listed 10 ways to help you tryout and make your team, with those ways still relevant now after making your team. But with tryouts past, team practices under way and games fast approaching, we wanted to make sure you as a player were doing the most you can to get on the court.  Here are some ways to earn more playing time, improve on skills in the process, and help your team.

When someone says “basketball skills” everyone thinks of passing, dribbling, shooting, shot blocking, and other related things.  What they forget is that things like hustling, knowing when to run back on defense or go for the offensive rebound, endurance, setting solid screens, being vocal on defense, and other small parts of the game that you can’t measure with statistics are also extremely valuable skills.  And should be noted as just that, basketball skills.  These are also things we strive to teach at TTA!  So if you want to work on these skills with professional help, Check Out The TTA Winter Schedule.

Ways to Get on the Court:

1. Be Captain Hustle.  It’s preached a lot in basketball, but there can never be a shortage of hustle.  If your team is looking sluggish on defense or just playing tired and needs an energy boost, your coach will turn to the player he trusts to mix it up the most.  Someone who will provide energy and make effort plays that can get you extra possessions, be that player.

2. Understand The Offense And Defense.  At the high school level and younger, execution is paramount.  Teams that are less talented or less athletic than another team can easily beat them with close to perfect execution.  If you know where to be in multiple positions in your team’s offense and defense, your coach will come to rely on you.  Study the offensive plays, know where multiple positions need to be, and show that you can execute what the coach is trying to put in place.

3. Be Flexible, Play Multiple Positions. Even though you might be a shooting guard (2), make sure you know how to play point guard (1)  and small forward (3).  If someone gets injured or misses a game or your coach wants to switch up different lineups, you’ll be able to play multiple positions, making you much more valuable to your team.

4. Box Out And Follow Your Shot. We went over a lot of rebounding tips in other posts but simple rebounding is really important.  If you box out on defense and follow your shot on offense you’re reinforcing good habits and helping your team in the small steps they need to make.

5. Work On Your Strengths.  You can’t perfect every single basketball skill, but become an expert in the one or ones you’re already proficient in.  If you’re a shooter, get ups 100s of shots after or before practice.  If you’re a really good rebounder, hit the weight room harder.  If you’re a a good passer work on knowing the offense like the back of your hand so you know the best passes for teammates at all times.  Everyone on the team has a role, find your’s.

6. Be A Good Teammate.  Chemistry off the court can show up on it.  If you get along with your teammates and you guys or girls trust and like each other, it’ll carry over to the court.  Passing, talking on defense, and helping each other out will become ingrained in you and your teammates as second nature.

7. Catch Everything. For a coach, there are few things worse than an unforced turnover. You don’t always have to be spectacular, but make the easy, smart play.  Make the easy pass, shoot when open, dribble if you have space, and always, always catch every pass thrown to.

8. Play Tough Defense. A great defender will always get playing time and will always be a great skill to have.  Besides staying in front of your opponent, blocking shots, and getting steals, there are other ways to help.  Draw charges, play good help defense, play good off-ball defense, always make it hard for your opponent to catch the ball, and always be vocal on defense.

9. Be Focused.  Games, practices, or any type of team setting, stay focused.  Stay alert to everything going on in the game when on the bench, listen in practice, and always pay attention.  Maybe you notice someone dribbles to their left every time in a game. When you sub in the game, beat that opposing left-handed dribbler to a spot and draw a charge. Now your team has an extra possession.

10. Love The Game. Between plays, positions, players, drills, and more, there is so much to take in with basketball.  If you love basketball and work hard, people will notice.  If a coach drops different basketball terminology you know or you incorporate a move you saw another player do into your game, then you’re only improving. Love the game, have passion for it, and you’ll improve, help your team and play more.

If you like this post, here are some others you may enjoy (click title to read):

1. The Ten Best Ways To Help You Tryout And Make Your Basketball Team

2. Coach Tony’s 4 Tips to Stay Motivated

3. Five Tips To Get Open Off The Ball

4. Six Tips To Improve Your Jump Shot