This post was written by Alan Stein of Stronger Team Blog. Alan is one of the premier Strength, Conditioning, and Sports Performance Coaches around. I encourage you to visit his site and follow him on Twitter!
Recently I posted a hurricane of Tweets on what great basketball players do. Here is the entire list… plus a ton of additional ones submitted by my followers:
- Great players… go after every rebound on both ends of the floor – they are crafty and aggressive.
- Great players… run the floor as fast as possible on fast breaks AND defensive transition.
- Great players… are defensive stoppers – they stop their man as well as help teammates. They do the things offensive players HATE!
- Great players… contest all shots. They don’t go for ball fakes or shot fakes. They deflect passes, bump cutters, and take charges.
- Great players… don’t gamble on offensive or defensive. They aim to make the RIGHT play; not the HIGHLIGHT play.
- Great players… are strong with the ball. They rip through hard on offense, ‘chin’ all rebounds, and don’t expose the ball when dribbling.
- Great players… play under control and play at different speeds. They know that playing slow can be VERY effective.
- Great players… practice just as hard as they play in games. They don’t have an ‘on and off switch’ – they are ALWAYS on!
- Great players… allow themselves to be coached. They make eye contact, listen, and welcome coaching. They crave getting better.
- Great players… are great teammates. They are supportive, high energy, and make their enthusiasm contagious.
- Great players… ‘Play Present.’ They focus on the process, not the outcome. They focus on what they can control. They don’t get distracted.
- Great players… take advantage of every opportunity to get better. Every workout, every practice, and every game is a chance to improve!
- Great players… are mentally and physically tough. They are comfortable being uncomfortable.
- Great players… can pivot both ways off of either foot and can dribble, pass, and finish around the basket with either hand. They don’t have a ‘weak’ hand.
- Great players… love and respect the game of basketball. They don’t play for money or fame; they play for love.
- Great players… are unselfish passers. They hit open teammates. They know the goal is to get THE best shot; not THEIR best shot.
- Great players… don’t commit stupid fouls. They know their greatness is eliminated if they are on the bench in foul trouble.
- Great players… are students of the game. They watch film. They study opponents. They study themselves.
- Great players… value every possession. They aren’t careless with ball. They make smart passes and take high percentage shots.
- Great players… don’t wait for the workout or practice or game to start… they prepare for it! They prepare mentally and physically.
- Great players… are super competitive. They hate losing more than they enjoy winning. They compete in everything they do!
- Great players… always know the time and score. They know how many time-outs they have as well as who is in foul trouble on both teams.
- Great players… log the game in the mind. At any point in time, they can tell you exactly what happened, on both ends of the floor, the last 3 possessions.
- Great players… are assertive with the ball, welcome contact when driving to the cup, and get to the free throw line.
- Great players… immediately think ‘Next Play.’ They don’t dwell on mistakes (missed shot or TO)… they make up for it on the other end.
- Great players… make plays, not excuses. They don’t care if the refs suck, if the floor is slippery, or if they have a cold. They get it done.
- Great players… are the first ones in the gym… and the last ones to leave EVERY day.
- Great players… don’t worry about getting exposure. They focus more on never getting exposed!
- Great players… elevate their teammates to become great players too!
- Great players… know that their legacy will be judged on their ability to win championships.
- Great players… would rather play ball than anything else. They truly love to play.
- Great players… are well rounded and have a complete game. They can ‘hurt’ you in a variety of ways.
- Great players… are top notch communicators. They talk with a presence on both ends of the floor.
- Great players… want the ball in their hands when the game is on the line because they know they have put in the work to DESERVE success.
- Great players… train with a purpose. Their workouts are focused, intense, and progressive. Nothing they do on the court is casual.
- Great players… give back to their program and are humble and grateful for what basketball has done for them.
- Great players… are responsible for tone and effort of the entire team… every workout, practice, and game.
- Great players… are always thinking two plays ahead.
- Great players… hold themselves, their teammates, and their coaches accountable. They believe in collective responsibility.
- Great players… play in straight lines and sharp angles. They make hard basket cuts and set solid screens.
- Great players… love playing and competing against other great players.
- Great players… know that no detail is too small and that the smallest of details can make them even better.
- Great players…have high values. They value their teammates, winning, and self improvement.
- Great players… are never content and never complacent.
You know my favorite part about this list? Nearly every trait on this list is 100% controllable! They are characteristics you choose to have! It doesn’t say, ‘great players… are 6’8”’ or ‘great players… can jump out of the gym’ – it lists things that you can make the conscious choice to work on and improve.
Are you up for the challenge? Are you ready to be a great player?
Click this link to see a follow up post on Great Scorers and Great Defenders.