Role Players: Part 1

    September 25th, 2014 BY COACH RAY SMITH

    Many, if not most basketball players would love to have the green
    light and shoot the basketball freely and at will. Given the adoration
    that "star" players on all levels are given in addition to the offensive
    freedom, it's totally understandable why players tend to desire this
    status. With this being said, a high achieving basketball team cannot
    consist of 12-15 athletes who all have this role. History has shown
    that the most successful teams usually have two or three players who
    take the majority of the shots. Typically, the rest of the team is
    comprised of individuals who fill a role or complement the players who
    take the most shots. A role player can be a starter who doesn't score
    much and whose primary role is to guard the other team's best player
    or someone who comes off the bench and gives the team an energy
    lift. In Part 2, we will discuss in more detail some of the different types
    of role players.

    One of the hardest things for numerous college freshman and NBA
    rookies is making the transition from someone used to dominating the
    ball and/or taking a relatively high amount of shots to someone that
    has to take on a lesser scoring role. The mature ones accept this
    change while the immature players often do not, leading to clashes
    with coaches, team mates, said player transferring colleges, etc.
    Everyone isn't going to be their team's version of Kevin Durant,
    Stephen Curry or Diana Taurasi. At some point in your career, you
    most likely will have to accept a lesser scoring role, obviously some
    players more than others. Even the great Michael Jordan played a
    year as a role player. As a freshman at the University of North
    Carolina, Jordan averaged about ten shot attempts a game. With
    other high level players around him, Jordan knew his role would be to
    defend, shoot open shots when he had them and keep the ball
    moving in legendary Coach Dean Smith's offense. Result?? A starting
    position and a  NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP as a freshman........Not
    bad! Even when the NBA's best get together to play for the national
    team, you will see many of the world's top players sacrifice their
    scoring for the betterment of the team. These guys are MULTI-
    MILLIONAIRES.....So if they can put aside their ego and do it...........
    why surely you can!

    Below are some tips on handling being a complimentary piece or
  • Embrace your role- If your coach feels you coming off the
    bench as a spark plug is best for  the team and that's what
    he/she is going to do, it makes no sense to act like a baby and
    sulk about it. Make EVERY minute and second of playing time
    count. Get out there and play your heart out and help your
    team win!

  • If you really feel that you desire an expanded role that also
    serves the team primarily............improve! Keep developing
    your skill set, IQ, strength and conditioning.

  • Don't let others whose best interest isn't the team try to
    convince you that the coach is wrong. Unfortunately I have
    seen this happen various times with players and the end result
    usually doesn't end up well for the player involved.

    Stay tuned for part 2...................And remember, it's a simple game!
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