You only get out of the game what you put into it.
It takes years of hard work to become a good player and it takes much more work on top of that to become a great player. I will help show you the way but it is up to you how good you will become.
Get acquainted with the ball. Make it your best friend and constant companion. Spend at least ten minutes a day just dribbling. Right hand, left hand. Between the legs. Behind the back. You must be as good with your left hand as you are with your right. The ball must feel like an extension of your fingers and hand. It should be like a Yo-yo. If you master ball handling there is always a place for you on a team. You have to work every day on handling the ball. If you do, you will see a huge improvement in your overall game.
You must be a scorer, a shooter, if you want minutes on a team. Coaches love shooters, kids who can put the ball in the hole. Shooting, like ball-handling can be done by yourself, in the driveway or at the gym. You just need a ball and a hoop.
Challenge yourself and shoot every day for a year. Everyday take a hundred shots. Imagine what kind of shooter you would be. If you do that, if you make that commitment you’ll be on your way to being a great shooter. Can you make that promise to yourself? If you want to be the best, if you want to stand out, if you want to see your name in the paper, if you want to hit clutch shots in front of a hundred college coaches, you must go the extra mile because: trust me; somebody else out there, probably someone on your own team will be putting in the time.
When you are on the court, always look to score points. A scorer is always attacking and always aggressive. It takes energy to hunt your shot so you need to be in incredible shape to be in the position to score.
Never defer to anyone else on the court. You must develop the confidence that when you step on the court you are the best player out there. How do you do that? By bringing to the court the best game you can bring. How does that happen? By your hard work and commitment. Don’t let anybody outwork you. Don’t let anybody be in better shape than you are. Be stronger than your opponent. Because next to skill and conditioning, strength is the most important attribute to possess.
After you reach a certain skill level, the game becomes a test, a battle of wills. Who, through the work he has put in possesses, the stronger will? You or your opponent? How strong mentally are you? If you miss six straight shots, will you have the guts to shoot it that seventh time, when the game is on the line? To be a great player you must be able to do that.
If the coach yells at you for making a bad pass or missing a shot, will you get down on yourself, mope around and become passive? Or will you mentally tell the coach to stick it in his ear and go make a spectacular play the next time down the court? Key phrase here: NEXT PLAY. Whether you do great or stink it up on any given trip down the court, forget about it and go to the next play. The last play, Good or Bad is gone. The only thing you can control now is how you perform on every single play. The final subject to talk about is heart. There is a common thread among all great players: THEY NEVER QUIT. WHETHER THEY ARE UP THIRTY OR DOWN THIRTY.
What is heart? Heart is never wanting to lose, never wanting to get beat by your opponent, whether in a practice, one trip down the court or the state championship game. If you do get beat make damn sure the NEXT PLAY you will beat them. Heart is getting on the floor for a loose ball, not when it suits you, but every time. You have to have the mindset that that ball on the floor is YOURS.
Basketball is a physical game. It hurts sometimes. You have to sacrifice your body when the situation demands it. Let me put it this way; if you are in fight for a starting position on a team and everything is equal between you and your competition, the coach will always choose the tougher kid, the kid who will fight harder because that’s a kid who will help him win. Coaches not only love a player who is physically tough but they value kids who have mental toughness, who are not afraid to take the last shot, who can take a tongue-lashing and not put their head down. Never, ever put your head down after missing a shot or making a turnover. Hustle back down and fight harder on the next play.
And always bring one thing to your workout: PASSION. It will take you a long way.