With most high school seasons approaching the playoffs and NCAA March Madness right around the corner, I felt it appropriate to dust off an old list I made about the traits of great players.
You know my favorite part about this list? Nearly every trait is 100 percent controllable! They are characteristics that players choose to have! It doesn't say, "great players... are 6-foot-8" or "great players... can jump out of the gym."
This is a list of traits that any player can make the conscious choice to work on and improve in practice and in games.
If you want to be a great player, do as many of these things as possible, every time you take the court:
• 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!