Accept Your Role …. Then Work to Change It
In Jay Bilas’s book Toughness there is a great quote by former NFL player and coach, and now ESPN football analyst, Herm Edwards about a player’s role on the team. The quote is “your role may be defined, but don’t let your role define you”. As a player development coach I loved that quote and I use it with my players often.
To me, there are two messages here. The first is that you will have a specific role that you play for your team. Some coaches are better communicating your role than others. Sometimes you have to figure it out for yourself. You may be one of the top scorers or you may be the one getting them the ball. Your role may be to rebound, defend and set screens and only shoot if you get an offensive rebound stick-back. Your role may be to be the floor general, providing vocal leadership and the intangibles that are necessary for success. Your role also may be to come in off the bench and provide a spark, even if it’s just for a minute or two until the starter returns. Or, your role may be to work your butt off in practice even though you know you’ll probably not get in the game unless its a blowout.
My point is you will have a role, and while you may not like it, you will have to accept it. That’s what being a great teammate is all about. But it doesn’t mean you can’t work to change it. During the season you have to prove that you are deserving of an expanded role. There is a saying “basketball is not an equal opportunity sport, the better shooters get to take the most shots”. So if you want more shots, become a better shooter. If you are more of the point guard type protect the basketball and get it into the right peoples hands. Your effectiveness is not defined by points but assist-to-turnover ratio. One of my favorite stats for judging a players effectiveness – and I don’t know how much it is tracked at the high school level – is what is your team’s +/- when you’re in the game. If you are only playing a minute or two this number may not be very relevant, but if you are getting significant minutes it is.
Still, there are only so many ways that you can prove that you deserve an expanded role during the season. But in the off-season that should be your primary objective. And that’s what we help you do at Next Level. We don’t pigeon-hole you into a defined box but rather look at how we can expand your game so you can expand your role. We don’t even like to assign labels to you as point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, stretch four, or center. We look at you as a basketball player not a position and worse yet not a number 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. Then we make a plan and get to work.
So as the season approaches understand your role, accept your role, and perform your role to the best of your abilities – then work like hell to change it!!