What’s up athletes,
Hope everything is going great your way. I wanted to write to you about something a lot of athletes are struggling with and that’s, not getting the playing time they think they deserve. This is something I struggled with heading into my Freshman year of college after being the “man” at a small highschool. I worked hard ALL summer and got minimal to no playing time in college. I made sure when I got in I averaged CRAZY stats…like 10 points in 3 minutes but I still got pulled out immediately. The more good I did the more the Coach benched me. So trust me when I say I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH AND I KNOW HOW TO HELP YOU FIX IT. For some of you it will be mentally helping you get tougher, and for others it will be me being honest, real, and authentic with you, even if it hurts your feelings.
First, let’s figure out what type of player you are. Because there are 3 types of players:
1. Ones who have practiced all summer, stopped practicing and aren’t getting play time.
2. Ones who never practiced all off-season and think they should get it.
3. Ones who practiced all summer, DESERVE the play time but aren’t getting it.
First, stop making excuses and just work. I made excuses. I said the Coach didn’t like me. There’s a Senior Point Guard in front of me. I’m a Freshman. I never took accountability and responsibility for my own actions. When you make excuses you’re coming from an emotional state of mind that usually makes you not see rationally what is going on, rationally meaning just realistically. For example, I was so into making excuses that I hated the Coach and started to resent him. If I had just stepped back and looked at myself and said, “What do I need to do.” I would have realized I was horrible defensively, not great under pressure, lacked mental toughness, and had a lousy attitude.
Next, focus on you not what’s outside of your control. This is maybe single-handily the most important concept you need to understand if you’re not getting the playing time you deserve. When you start to COUNT the minutes in the game instead of making the MINUTES in the game COUNT you are mentally getting to a place almost irreversible. When I started focusing on everything outside of my control I started to over-think, over-play, and over-do. I constantly tried to prove myself to the Coach. I tried to figure out how to get more minutes. I tried to figure out how to make him like me more. I had a ME attitude not a WE attitude. What I advise you to do is focus on giving 100%. Focus on doing whatever you can to lock up the opposing player. Focus on making all the right cuts, all the right reads, and stay AGGRESSIVE. HERE’S WHY! Your opportunity will come IF YOU STAY PREPARED MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY. If you start to over-do to get more playing time, your opportunity won’t come. Because when you over-think, over-play, and over-do you’ll play worse, the Coach will get even more upset with you, and the playing time will get even more limited. You’ll force shots, and just become more frustrated. Then there will be a cycle where you will get more mad, make more excuses, over-think more, and so on and so on. It’s TERRIBLE. I’ve been there. Now staying positive is almost the hardest thing to ever do when you’re not being rewarded but trust me you will get an opportunity and you WILL be big in that opportunity.
Lastly, if you’re a player that doesn’t work hard in the off-season, or stopped working hard after then you definitely don’t deserve to play. I wouldn’t play you. Why would you think you deserve playing time? “But Coach, everyone who starts ahead of me doesn’t play or practice so why do I have to.” BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT THEM. Stop making excuses. You might be different. You might have to work harder than others just to scratch and claw your way to get minutes, when they get a free ride to start. But guess what? It never works out in the end like that. Hard work beats TALENT when TALENT fails to WORK HARD. Here’s the secret though; the hard work just can’t quit when talent is beating them in the beginning. It’s a marathon not a 100 m dash. Things can change as fast as a day for you. I’ve seen it happen. The player who deserved the minutes focused on them, they stopped making excuses, and they stayed prepared and when talent got injured, failed off, got in foul trouble, guess who was there to be ready? HARD WORK was and they scored 15 points.
Want to know the ending of my story? I never saw more than 8 minutes in the first half of the semester. I was frustrated and I made excuses, I tried to get more playing time by scoring more, going in late nights to talk to the Coach, and nothing worked. I got less playing time and started to over think, become negative, and lost confidence. When I got into the game, I forced shots, turned the ball over, and I couldn’t find a rhythm because I was over-thinking. After Christmas I came back into the season with a new attitude. No matter what happened, I would give 100%. I would do all I could and I stayed in the gym and prepared. I had FAITH and TRUSTED God would provide a way. Three weeks later, we had 2 road games where our starting point guard couldn’t go due to grades. Guess who got the start and had season high averages? ME. But guess what? I go 0 minutes after that. Wait what? YES, 0 MINUTES. All the fans were asking why I wasn’t playing. Everyone was wondering what was going on. I kept faith. I stayed prepared and after the season the Coach let me go. He retracted my scholarship.
Want to know the irony of things? I stayed FAITHFUL and didn’t doubt. I made a highlight tape of the 2 games I started and was recruited by a Division 1 school.
Everything happens for a reason.