In team sports, communicating with other players is a positive player trait. But nothing says that you’re a beginner more than when you regularly stand still, wave your hands, and scream to your teammates “I’m open! I’m open!”
Anyone who's watched younger kids play recreational soccer or basketball knows this is typical behavior at the earliest ages. These young beginners' attention is centered on the action around the ball. They want the ball because that’s where the fun is.
Unfortunately, older players sometimes fall into this same behavior pattern. They may not yell, wave their hands, or run to the ball as often—but they still focus too much of their attention on the ball. Often, these players just stand around waiting until someone passes them the ball.
If you're guilty of this behavior, what should you do instead of waiting for someone to pass you the ball?
Help a TeammateStop shouting and do something—MOVE! Go set a screen. Clear out space. Consider what you can do to help a teammate NOW. As discussed in Stuff Happens Away from the Ball, focus some of your attention on the potential action and opportunities away from the ball
When you do something without the ball to help a teammate score, you’re also more likely to get a pass from that person. And when others on your team begin to play with this unselfish attitude and style, the passing and scoring opportunities increase, everyone is involved, and the fun really begins. You find yourself part of a ballet of movement and interactions that can lead to perfect moments of anticipation, execution, and improvisation.
When You Should Stay in One PlaceThere are times when you will want to stay in position—most typically when you’re part of a specific offensive set or play, or playing a position within a team defense. You may also individually decide to maintain a position to create space between yourself and other players. In some cases, your team’s needs and your offensive talent may dictate that you look to score more often than your teammates. But unless you have a specific responsibility, move without the ball and create opportunities for your teammates.
Your Coach is WatchingAlthough you may get a few more scoring opportunities when you stand around and yell for the ball, your coach will notice this behavior—and possibly judge you less favorably. To the opposite, your coach will also notice the positive actions you take when you don't have the ball. He or she will appreciate the screens you set to free a teammate, the backdoor cut you make to get open, and moving to clear out space.
So if you want to look like you know what you’re doing, and help your team succeed, move without the ball and do the other little things that create opportunities for you and your teammates. Don't stand around yelling "I'm Open!"
Copyright © 2013 Jeffrey S. Rhoads. All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2009-2012 Jeffrey S. Rhoads; All Rights Reserved