Understanding Your Role: “Do Your Job”

How would you define your role on your team? Are you the primary ball handler, spot up shooter, lock down defender, hustle player, or the team leader? Everyone has a role that is extremely valuable in the success of their team. Once you figure out what that role is, it is your responsibility to accept it and embrace it. As a player, owning your role means constantly looking for ways to improve your game, being coachable, and working hard toward your goals. Coaches want players who are disciplined, accountable, and great teammates. There is tremendous value in a player who is always in the right position, who is engaged in the game at all times, and who responds in the right way.

“Do your job.” A phrase used a lot by Coach Holtmann and the coaching staff at Ohio State. These three words, simple, but effective in getting the message across that you should focus on only what you can control and do whatever it takes to help your team win. Doing your job means being prepared for when your name is called, paying attention to the little details and putting the team first. Winning is a result of one side executing better than the other and when everyone on a team is connected, bought-in and understanding of their role, it puts the team in a good position to do just that.

In my experience, I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of some very successful teams that shared great chemistry and common goals. My role within each team may have changed each year, but the quality of my effort, attitude and confidence stayed the same every time I stepped onto the floor. In high school, having made it to two State Championships my role on the court was significant in being a leader by example, helping my team win whether it was on the offensive or defensive end. At Ohio State, my role had changed. Understanding that now it wasn’t about playing time or scoring, it was more about the experiences and being a part of something bigger than myself. Ranging from pushing the starters around in practice to help prepare them for games to cheering them on from the sidelines whether we were winning or losing. Having positive body language throughout all the ebbs and flows of a season is contagious and is what helped contribute to our success as a team.

In the video above, Geno Auriemma talks about body language and the type of player he looks for on his team. I suggest you watch it and think about how you are impacting your team, not only from a playing aspect but also as a teammate. As the legendary coach John Wooden puts it, “when no one worries about who will receive the credit, far more can be accomplished.”

Ask Yourself Why?

“I think the biggest thing for young players now is to ask, “why”?”- Kobe Bryant 

This was Kobe’s answer when he was asked about air-balling four shots in a row during overtime in a playoff game. He explained that he asked himself why he air-balled those four shots. The answer to his “why” was “my legs were tired”. He didn’t make excuses like “it wasn’t my day” or “ I just couldn’t shoot  today” , instead he figured out what he needed to improve on. That off-season, Kobe worked on his leg strength and conditioning so that next year he could make those shots. 

The last few weeks you may have participated in tryouts for your school’s basketball team. If you didn’t make the team ask yourself “why?” If you know what your “why” was, you know what you need to work on to improve your chances of making the team next year. If you don’t know what your “why” was I know someone who does… the coach! If you are serious about wanting to make the basketball team next year, ask the coach why you didn’t make the team this year and what you can do to improve. One of the keys to improving is knowing what you need to improve on. You can improve all of your skills, but it is important to improve your weaknesses first. That way your weaknesses can catch up with your strengths. 

Daily Vitamins – the daily nourishment that your game needs

Skill development requires a devotion to habits that create precision. Skill is developed through repetition and a blend of learning and reflection. The seed of every habit is a tiny, single decision.

We should be engaging in reflection after a game. By reexamining what occurred during the game once we are outside of it, our workouts acquire an element of intentionality and purposefulness.

It is paramount that players work on specific game movements and positional concepts to enhance their development. Increase the return on your investment by working on shots that most often show up in the games. Watch a game at your age level and evaluate shot selection + quality.

How many shots were stationary off the catch? Off lateral slides rotating on the perimeter? Straight line cuts? Uphill or downhill movements? How many dribbles took place before the shot? How many were assisted vs self-created?

Why invest your off-season workouts to situations + shots that present themselves infrequently?

At Just Hoops, we believe firmly in devoting your time on skills that translate to live play situations. Player have access to our 250 Shot Daily Vitamin tracking sheet so they can make progress in game shots from game spots with individualized precision in mind. The 250 shots are broken down into form shooting, catch + shoot, lateral slides, 1-dribble pull-ups, and free throws. With creating shots off the dribble, we believe the most effective ways to set up your drive is utilizing your shot fake and jabs while attacking a closeout.

Develop a shooting routine that is intentional and work on it consistently. Enter the gym with a plan, be purposeful, and stay committed to the task through the ups and downs. Hold yourself accountable to a new habit, and chase improvement rather than a number.

Dealing Hope

WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE POINT GUARD? – Sherri Coale, Oklahoma Women’s Basketball Head Coach

“Deal Hope!”

  • When you go negative, it gets better 0% of the time.

When a player messes up = they look around

  • “the most important 3 seconds.”
  • Coaches/Teammates can:
    • Confirm they messed up or
    • Build them up
  • 3 Steps to get your teammate back to positive:
    • Acknowledge your teammate who is struggling
    • Interrupt your teammates negative thought process
    • Replace your teammates thought with a good & useful thought

*Comes down to you getting to know what works for your teammates & delivering that message to them.

8/24 – Kobe Bryant Day

Lessons we can learn from The Mamba Mentality: How I Play


I had a constant craving, a yearning, to improve and be the best. I never needed any external forces to motivate me.

Over the years, my routine might have changed some, but my philosophy never did. If something has worked for other greats before you, and if something is working for you, why change it up and embrace some new fad? Stick with what works, even if it is unpopular.

Film study is all about detail. Some people enjoy looking at a watch; others are happier figuring out how the watch works.

I didn’t train only my body – I trained my mind, too. The only way I was able to pick up the details on the court, to be aware of the minutiae on the hardwood, was by training my mind to do that off the court and focusing on every detail in my daily life.

I always started off my routine close to the basket. I would start off short and work on my touch. Always. Always. Always

The Mamba Mentality isn’t about seeking a result – it’s more about the process of getting to that result. It’s about the journey and the approach. It’s a way of life.


Footwork is about efficiency. I needed to be able to get to my attack spots in one or two dribbles. The key was knowing how to move the defense with just my feet and my eyes and the positioning of my body, by knowing how to manipulate them left or right without having to put the ball on the floor.

During my early years in the NBA, I was surprised to learn that I took a different, more fundamental and serous, approach to footwork than a lot of players. A lot of players solely focused on improving off the dribble, but I also always placed added emphasis on playing off the catch. Only after mastering pivots – reverse pivots, inside reverse pivots, outside reverse pivots – did I work on the sexier between-the-legs, behind-the-backs, and crossovers.

God gave us two hands. Whether dribbling, pivoting, or spinning; it was important to me that I felt comfortable with either hand.

I never shied away from contact. Understanding the importance of contact and physicality is only half the battle. You have to love it, and I did.

When fundamentals are no longer fundamental. It’s weird, actually – fundamentals aren’t really fundamental anymore. A lot of players don’t understand the game or the importance of footwork, spacing. It’s to the point where if you know the basics, you have an advantage on the majority of players.

I took boxing out a big man as a personal challenge. You want to, obviously, establish a good base and get your body in front of the opposition. But you also want to make sure you get lower than their hips so you can move them and alter their positioning. If you try doing that at the shoulders, it won’t work because they are stronger at the top. When most players look at basketball, as a competition, they consider scoring and defending. In truth, even this little aspect – boxing out – is a competition within the competition.

All about footwork. Footwork on the court is comparable to the way you use your head while riding a motorcycle. If you want to turn left or right, you have to start by looking and leaning your weight, starting with your head, in that direction. It’s the same thing with your feet on the basketball court.

I built my game to have no holes. Yes, you might have known I preferred to go one way. That didn’t ultimately matter, because I could just as easily go the other way. Yeah, you might have also thought you knew my cadence and rhythm, except – I didn’t have one. I made a point to adjust the pace of my attack to throw defenders off. In essence, the more you thought you knew about my game, the harder it would actually be to guard me.

What separates great players from all-time great players is their ability to self-assess, diagnose weaknesses, and turn those flaws into strengths.

Go Green!

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Your inner coach is someone who helps you out or breaks you down. Treat your inner coach like a traffic light:
Red = Negative Thought (“I can’t do this” or “I suck”)
Yellow = Wavering (“I don’t know if I can do this”)
Green = Positive Thought (“I got this”)

It’s human nature to doubt yourself when you are struggling. For most, our inner coach is quiet when things are good. It waits to show up & tell us when things are going bad. The goal should be to turn our inner coach into somebody who can guide us through the tough times by sending us messages that ensure our self-trust. Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts and then trust them!

3 steps to getting back to positive once doubt & negativity creeps in:
Acknowledge the thought (“I can’t do this”)
Interrupt the thought
Replace the thought (“I can do this”)

Go Green! All-in with thoughts that contain self-trust.

Decision Making – Ball-Screen Reads

3-man Ball-Screen action with the defense rotating out of the ball-side corner to take away the roll. The ball-handler coming off the ball-screen must:

1). Beat 1

2). Engage 2

3). See 3

Successful decision making is predicated on the ball-handlers ability to quickly “See 3” to counter the help-side rotations to hit the open player.

Identifying the Last Finger on the Release of the Basketball

The placement of your last finger to touch the ball on your release will dictate the direction of the basketball. In order to be a good shooter…you must become a STRAIGHT shooter 1st!

Identify if either your index or middle finger is the last point of contact as you release your shot. This finger should be on the middle “stripe” of the ball. Your goal as a shooter is to get your hand to the middle of the basketball as early as possible so you can push through the center of the ball.

“Middle of the ball = middle of the rim.”

How to Improve your Footwork – the Quick Hop

The Quick Hop is beneficial when the shooter is on the move. Pre-shot movement can be sliding laterally along the perimeter, uphill coming off an away screen or downhill off the dribble/curl.

With all footwork it is imperative that you do your work early. When the “Ball in the air = feet in the air.” Players will need to drive their toes into the ground on the catch.

The Quick Hop will assist your:
POP TIME (time elapsed from the catch to the release)

“The quality of your feet will determine the quality of your shot.”