“What are you thinking?!!!”

That’s a phrase that I’m sure you’ve heard as an athlete playing for your coach. And that’s a phrase I’m sure you’ve said, coach, speaking to your athletes or maybe just thinking it LOUD in your head.

Year after year one thing is a recurring theme for coaches – new player’s mindsets. Sometimes, the new player’s mindset stays around through the years with some players and becomes an obstacle. What is it? It’s when young athletes get into a program and bring with them the “Right Way to Coach”.

Obstacle - Man Jumping Over Word on Arrow

Every coach has to deal with “talented” players who’ve been a part of some high school or summer program, have watched a couple of games on TV and have played in great match-ups against great talent that believe they know best how to coach a team/run a program. Even though they have never done it…ever!

Let me say this straight to the student-athletes. Your job is not to run the program, it’s to be coachable!

Avoid being a ‘know-it-all’! There’s no way that you would be able to grow in skill if you believe and act like you know more than your coach. However, I do know that there are athletes who think this way (accurate or not) so here are some ways that can help you get over yourself.

No matter how well you believe you know the game, your coach has forgotten more about your sport than you know right now. You as an athlete should keep that in mind. Your first job as a recruit is to get to that knowledge by being coachable, and secondly by asking penetrating questions about your game and “the” game.

When you try to be the player and the coach as a new recruit, you can easily mess up the cohesion on a team and lower the competitive level if the team isn’t skilled enough to deal with your attitude.

Here are three ways to avoid stunting your growth:

Be Relentless about watching game film with Coach
You can get a better feel for the program you have been recruited into, when you watch game film and get to understand the mind of your coach. Championship teams love watching game film. Being a true student of the game will increase your reaction times on the floor exponentially! Your skills will grow and your communication on the floor will get better. If you want to be a leader get your team into the habit also.

Increase your Coachability
After watching game film with your coach, and realizing that they know the game, make a conscious effort to be more coachable. What that means is simply to listen then do. A mentor of mine put it this way: “Coachability – are you coachable to the speed of instruction or does it filter through some process that delays your success”. Act to the speed of instruction…increase the speed of response, decrease your delay.

Manage your physical fitness & skill development
If you have the mind that what your program does for you in the allotted time for practices is enough then you aren’t a competitor. You can’t perform at peak level if you aren’t fit. Take control of your nutrition, stamina, etc. You won’t perform at peak level if you don’t know that you know that your skills are automatic. When these two aren’t automatic for you, you play weighted down because you have to consciously remember movements and push through much more earlier than someone else who managed their business.

IF you follow these 3 TIPS you will be too busy to recognize your greatness…but you will be a contender for a championship.


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