You can get a more in-depth rundown of my one year of varsity ball here. This post addresses the challenges I faced in getting playing time, what I did with the little time I got, and how you can take action to avoid these issues.
- Even before the games began on our schedule, there was a clear pecking order within the team based on who had been on the team already. Being a senior that had only just made it that year, my spot was low and I stayed in my place when there was clearly playing time there for the taking.
FIX: People take you for the way you project yourself. If you make yourself small, you’re small to the people around you. First impressions are hard to break — you get placed in a certain space and you’re stuck there.
- There is no substitute for big-game/ hostile environment experience. I had none.
FIX: Play in games — pickup ball at other parks/gyms, rec leagues etc. every player is comfortable on their home court (your school, your local park/gym, amongst your friends, people you play with regularly). Play some road games.
- I played not to mess up, and made no use I the skills that could separate me from other players.
FIX: Confidence is everything. In the long run, there are very few things I regret — on or off the court — that I did. Almost every regret is something I didn’t do. If you take a risk and mess up, at least you did it. If you do nothing and succeed at doing nothing, that empty feeling eats at you forever. Like Nike says: Just Do It.