Players: Improve Your “Approach” and Improve Your Game Significantly

I’m fairly sure that a lot of players don’t really understand the word “approach” as it pertains to them and their games.  I believe that if they did, they could more easily focus and improve more quickly than if they didn’t understand the concept.

The word is generally used at higher levels by coaches and scouts to describe the way a player goes about his or her basketball business.

It’s usually used like this, “I really like James’ approach to the game.”

It applies to any human endeavor-school, work, family interaction, social interaction etc.

The word can mean a lot of different things and good players can have many different effective approaches.  While many may have difficulty defining the term, coaches know a good approach when they see it.

Generally, I would say that a good approach is a mature one.

But, let’s examine some specific characteristics of good approaches:

  • Enjoyment of the game.  Players who enjoy going to practice, workouts, video sessions and other related basketball activities will have an advantage over players who go through the motions or worse yet, fight the process. 
  • Work ethic.  Working hard is important but working hard with a focus is more important.  An example would be a ballhandling drill with obstacles like cones or chairs.  Getting through the course fast but sloppy reinforces fast, sloppy play.
  • Consistency.  Avoiding lows is the key.  Coaches love knowing what to expect from their players on a daily basis.
  • Desire to learn.  One of my pet peeves over the years, whether at my or other coaches’ practices or instructional camps is witnessing players tuning out because they believe themselves to be “above” a teaching point of any kind.  There is always something to learn, and in the case of repetition, something to review.
  • Being part of the team.  It sounds so simple, but many players isolate themselves for various reasons and don’t buy in.  Buying in is investing.  The more the investment, the greater the opportunity for reward.
  • Next possession, next practice, next game frame of mind.  The next possession, practice or game are all new opportunities.  Players with great approaches know and conduct their business with that in mind, above all. 

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