So You Want to be a Player?

Back when I use to be a Head Coach, I made sure that I had a set of core values that I didn’t deviate from all season or from player to player. I made these values very clear to each player & staff from the get go. It’s important to hold coaches & teammates accountable in order to have the most successful season. All pieces of the puzzle have to be on the same page. 

Core Values for Coaches:

  • Rarely is the player who plays with their head as well as their heart, comes in 2nd
  • Players should not complain about playing time but rather do something about it. Their job is to play so well in practice that the coach can’t sit them. It would hurt the team too much.


  • No pouting when they are taken out of the game (BODY LANGUAGE)
  • Cheer when you are on the bench
  • Meeting teammates when they come to the beach or huddle
  • Be engaged in timeouts even if they aren’t in the game
  • Jog to locker room or out of game
  • Eye contact with coaches
  • No yawning in practice or games (BODY LANGUAGE)
  • 100 Made FT’s a day and recorded by each player

If players don’t follow these non-negotiable, come up with a consequence for that player individually or collectively as a team.  

This is an epidemic in all sports at all levels with most teams. Coaches have to condition them early and coaches can’t tolerate it early. As a staff, there needs to be consistency from the very beginning.

Team Thoughts:

  • Be mentally tough to fill your role. Don’t worry about your role, just be great at whatever roll are given.
  • Play every possession as its own entity, making that given possession the most important of the game, the season, of your career.
  • KYP (Keep your poise)
  • Use time on the bench to prepare for your next moment, or help a teammate prepare
  • Physical toughness: Are you physically tough enough to defend every possession, sprint to spots, make violent cuts, make the extra effort to deflect passes or win 50/50 balls?
  • Basketball IQ: Are you smart enough to KYP (know your personnel)? Play to your strengths and encourage your teammates to play to theirs.
  • KYP (Keep your Poise) – make good decisions under duress
  • Find solutions, not excuses
  • Communication: Are you communicating enough to ensure that your teammate knows you have their back? Ensure that everyone is on the same page, offensively and defensively? Point out mis-matches or possible opportunities to teammates and coaches in a respectful manner?Ensure that you are locked in every possession, because every possession matters?
  • Killer Instinct: Do you have what is necessary to push a 5 point lead to 10 and then 15, by valuing every possession and not allowing your opponent to gain momentum when they are up against the wall. Turn a 5 or 10 point deficit into an advantage, but continuing to stay the course and do the little things that, possession by possession add up?
  • Treat the next game as the most important of your career because it’s the next.

I have confidence that if you are reading this, you can take at least one thing from it and take it back to your team!


Ganon Baker
Basketball Curriculum is

This new comprehensive basketball curriculum will change how people learn the game of basketball worldwide. It is perfect for players and coaches from the beginner all the way through to professionals. Not only do we show players how to train, but we show coaches and trainers how to teach!

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