How To Get More Playing Time
When one of the 5 out on the court is tired, fatigued, or in foul trouble, how can you make sure to be the one the coach thinks of when it’s time for a sub? Well, there are two things that you have to do: outwork everyone else in practice, and don’t do more than what you can do.
“When showing me what you can do, be careful not to show me what you can’t do.” - John Wooden (former coach at UCLA)
Outworking everyone else is just a decision. Make the decision to work hard. Earn the nickname Charlie Hustle and don’t let anyone out hustle you.
Secondly, take the time to talk with your coach and ask him what you can do to help the team. Ask your coach about your specific role so that you thoroughly understand his expectations. Then, work hard to become the best you can be at that job. If getting loose balls is important to the coach, then become the best rebounder on the team. And outwork everyone who has a similar role.
Coaches tend to play the players that they trust, and not necessarily the best players. When players have the coach’s confidence that they can perform and carry out the game plan, they’re the ones that will be on the court. However, if you’re a player that makes turnovers, doesn’t play aggressive defense, or fails to follow the game plan, there’s a good chance that you will not play very much.
You must realize that once the game begins, the coaches mind becomes so involved in the game that it’s difficult to keep track of who’s been in the game and for how long. The coach is strictly thinking about how to win the game and players may be literally forgotten about during a close or intense game.
However, when the coach looks down the bench to see which player needs to go in, it makes a huge difference if you’re the player who is always hustling at practice, always intent, enthusiastic, and eager. The player that is laid back, uninterested, and unfocused will probably be the one that’s forgotten.
Once you get in a game, it’s time to shine. How much you play will be determined by how well you do your job and what kind of success your team has while you’re in the game. Show your coach that you’ve accepted your role and let him know what he can expect while you’re on the court.
To get more playing time, you simply have to outwork everyone else on the team during practice, be eager, have an aggressive attitude, and gain the confidence of the coach. Do this, and you will see your playing time increase.