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Wisdoms Keys with Coach Joel

Be a difference maker.

One of the most common emphasis around youth sports these days in playing time. Most everyone on the team wants more. The starters don't want to come out and the subs can't wait to get in. In these series of posts I am going to cover a few things most coaches can agree on that parents and their players can review and discuss to improve their chances of getting increased playing time. I will use basketball in this example, but the principles are universal. This post will focus on being a a difference maker. We call these guys "back to back timeout" guys. What is a "back to back" timeout guy? It is a player who is so valuable to the team that if they request to be subbed out you call a timeout for them to give them a break and if they are still tired at the end of that timeout you call another to give them additional time to get back in the game.

Most people think that being a valuable contributor as a player is being a better scorer. But not so fast my friend. Players can be difference makers by simply being that-a difference maker. That is, the team and locker room should be much better when you are around. So, what things can you do to be a difference maker. Here are three ways to be just that.

Be an active rebounder. The fact is that most shots in a game are missed. Most teams shoot around 35-40% meaning that 6-7 out of every ten shots are missed. That means that there are tons of rebounds available every ball game. Now can you literally grab every rebound? Probably not, but you can have the mindset that you're going to grad everyone of them. People have studied rebounding and how to box out and how to grab the ball at a high point and so on and so on, but you know what I've found rebounding comes down to? Want to. That's right, the best rebounders simply want to grab the rebound more than everyone else. The best rebounders have a relentless desire to secure that basketball. Getting a rebound starts with believing that it's yours to start with. Notice that I said to be an active rebounder and not a great rebounder. Being a great rebounder starts with being active (moving around and toward the basketball when a shot is put up). You get rebounds you'll play.

Bring energy. Players fall into two main categories-energy suppliers or energy vampires. Energy suppliers energize the environment. Energy vampires suck the energy out of the room. Be a guy that plays with a high motor. What is a high motor? It is one who hustles his butt off. They go hard all the time. They give their best effort in everything they do. They outwork everyone for rebounds, set the best screens, talk on defense and offense, dive for loose ball. etc. Too many guys go just hard enough to get by.. There is too much loafing in the game. Make it your business to get every loose ball, For example, live balls that are on the floor with no owner are called 50/50 balls. Possessing these balls lead to extra possessions. Bring energy. You should play like every play is your last one. Enjoy every moment. Encourage others. Stand up for your teammates. Be rentless.

Know what you team prioritizes. Know how the coaches think. Be an extension of the coaching staff on the floor. What are their pet peeves? What are the things that they prioritize? Limit tournovers? Execute offense? Defensive intensity? Make free throws? You should know all the plays. Know not only your position. Know what everyone does on every play. When you are not in the game, know the number of timeouts that your team has, know whose possession arrow it is. Scout other teams. What does the other team run? Who is their best player? What does he do well? Watch film of your own team. What does our team do well? What things do we need to work on? Study. Study. Study.

Being a difference maker will get you into the game. Make a difference for your team today.


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