If you’re not getting playing time on your basketball team (or a team in any sport, for that matter), the reason is one of the following:
- You’re not good enough to help the team more than those who play ahead of you. They are better players than you are.
- You may be highly skilled, but the players ahead of you in playing time have performed better than you in games/practices/classroom, thus they have earned more time than you even though you may be better in overall talent.
- The coach personally hates you or has some vendetta against you, and only you, for some strange reason that you cannot possibly figure out. So instead of savagely killing you or spitting in your face, he gets revenge by having you on his team, but keeping you on the bench. Sweet, sweet revenge.
But when I hear from players who choose to complain to me about their playing time issues, their probability scale of the aforementioned issues go this way:
I could end this post here and my point is made. But since these complaining payers usually would rather rationalize their issues and ask countless questions as a crutch for action, instead of facing the cold reality, I’ll elaborate and keep talking, addressing each case as Dre-Baldwin-ly as possible.
- If you are not playing, the issue usually is that you are not that good compared to the other options (your teammates). Period. And you fucking know it. So why pretend that this is not the reason you’re on the bench? When you come to me with the ‘this-is-my-bad-circumstance-and-I-have-no-idea-whatsoever-why’ spiel, I know you’re lying. The weakest players are always in the market for the most advice when I told you what to do in 2008. Further, you should know that I cannot explain your life to you better than you could explain it to me. So if you don’t know why you’re on the bench, I sure as hell don’t know either. But I can presume that, most of the time, it’s the bolded sentence at the start of this paragraph that you don’t wish to face. So you can lie to yourself for the rest of what’s left of your basketball career and tell your great-grandkids that some coach ended your career by benching you and you never understood why — poor you. Stop reading this post and watch this.
- Players who are not playing due to school issues or bad practice habits or some other non-skill issue seem to be the most realistic about their predicaments. These are the players whom I hear from the least, because they know what the deal is and they know that simple changes will change the situation. I went through this exact situation in college — discussed in detail in my book. I knew exactly why I wasn’t playing and when I changed that one variable, I earned more playing time.
- The coach does not hate you — she hates your weak-ass game. If I am a coach and I hate a player personally, you’re not making it past the first day of tryouts — actually, I’d get the message to you to not even come to tryouts. And if this were such a great travesty because you are such an amazing player, you won’t have trouble finding a new school/team to join. But, since you’re still here, you’re not that great. And If you are that good, but you’re stuck there and can’t switch schools/team/neighborhoods, you’ll take your game to the next level, and pick right up where you left off. I did, with no YouTube, and no one to email about my problems. So what’s your excuse?
So, as usual, the answer to your problems is the answer to every problem addressed on this site: Work On Your Game.