I had a member of the UnGuardable team hit me up with a question the otherday.
Harmanjot said, “I’m on an AAU team with some people from my high school basketball team. We haven’t been very successful this summer, only being 1-8 so far. I was wondering if you had an article explaining how to win games. Maybe somethign along the lines of how to increase our confidence, some key points, etc. We just need some help t get better and start winning some games.”
Thanks for the message Harmanjot. It’s players like you who make this site special and keep me doing what I do. I love seeing motivated young athletes search for ways to improve their lives, teams, and overall success in life.
Losing games can be tough to fix. I’ve been on teams that have struggled much like yours, and I’ve been on teams who’ve gone undefeated. While there is no simple answer to help the win comlumn, here are 10 tips that can help any team be more successful.
1) Believe in Yourself. Before you attempt to do anything else in life you must first believe. As cliche as it sounds, if you don’t believe in what you’re doing and who you are, it’s virtually impossible to succeed. Confidence is a very challnging trait to develop and to be honest, it’s a process. Give yourself time to improve your belief. Start by downloading my FREE report, UnLimited which is all about developing self-confidence and leadership in the game of basketball: http://theunguardables.com/unlimited/
2) Don’t workout, train. One of my biggest lessons I try to each my athletes is how to train. There is a difference between working out and training. Working out is going to the gym or weight room and working hard and breaking a sweat. There is no real rhyme or reason why you’re doing what you’re doing and you don’t know what you’ll be doing in a month or two, let alone tomorrow. Training is showing up to the gym or weight room with a structured plan that helps to progress you from point A to point B. There is a legitimate reason why you’re doing specific drills or exercises and they’re designed to help you improve yourself as a player.
3) Don’t take a single play off. The cliche about giving 110% is crap. It sounds good as a pump you up type of phrase and for some athletes saying that they give 110% all the time is cool and blah blah. But, yo, here’s the deal: it’s not possible! You cannot give anymore than everything you have – which would be 100%. Having said that, most players don’t even come close to giving 100% when they train or play in games. Don’t be one of those ppeople. Whether you’re down 20 points or up 20 points, give it your all on both ends of the court. You may not think it makes a difference in the short term, but I can PROMISE you that it will help develop you inot the player you want to be so that you can make the play(s) when it counts!
4) Communicate. When I was a high school coach I used to get on my players if they weren’t saying something all of the time. I laugh because my players used to say that the cheerleaders had trouble practicing in the next room over from us because we were so loud that they couldn’t hear each other. I’m sorry cheerleaders, but we were busy trying to create something great. At first I let my players get away with talking nonsense during drills and plays just as long as something was coming out of their mouths. Over time as they learned more and more I progressed them into more intelligent communicating that was going to help us succeed. Remember, communicating is about preventing bad things from happening as much as it is trying to help good things happen. If you remind a guy that he is supposed to box out after he gives up an offensive rebound it doesn’t do much good does it? That reminder was 2 points too late.
5) Get better shots. Winning basketball games comes down to who has the most points when the buzzer sounds at the end of the game. Most of the time that’s the team who got better shots. It’s very hard to break the habit of taking shots that you think you can make, versus shots that you should make. I try to make it as simple as possible: if you haven’t been practicing that exact shot in that exact situation (game speed, same spot on court, same dribble combination, etc.) should you really expect to make it in a game when the pressure is even higher? I don’t think so. Take shots that you shoot (and make) in practice and look for the spots to recreate those shots in games. After that it comes down to a matter of execution.
6) Look for opportunities to score easy buckets. This goes along with the last tip; I see at least 8-10 points everyday that a team can easily have if they are able to capitalize on opportunities where the other team makes a mistake. Sometimes it may be in the fast break where you can get an easy lay-up or shot for your best shooter; other times it may be a great cut or read by a teammate who ends up wide open for a deuce. No matter how you slice it, keeping your head up and having the ball ready just incase one of those opportunities presents itself it key to winning games.
7) Encourage teammates to succeed. So many young players struggle with encouraging their teammates and instead of critical of all of their plays and decisions. If you aren’t helping to solve the problem you are part of the problem. In particular it helps if you build them up versus tear them down. If they aren’t doing something they need to be doing, remind them that by doing “x” they will get more points, or help the team out. ”Sell them what they want to buy.” I had a kid who played for me at one point who loved to shoot threes. While he was a decent 3 point shooter, I wanted to see him work harder at getting open and making cuts. So rather than tell him not to shoot 3’s so much, I told him that by cutting more to the basket and continuing to move he’d have more open shots on the perimeter. Guess what…it worked. And, becuase he cut more and consquently got more open shots, his 3 point percentage went up; then his confidence went up; then it just kept building.
This list is just a start of what it takes to win more basketball games and improve your team. In order to ensure long term success, make sure that you are doing what you need to do on a daily basis to improve your game. Many of my successful athletes were training with me long before they earned a d-1 scholarship or won a state championship. I believe that this daily commitement is a big part of why they succeeded.