If you have a good coach and you are a good basketball player, most likely you have already learned that the only intelligent response to criticism from your coach is to accept it, keep your mouth shut and try to learn from it. No one, especially tough competitors, can ever be expected to like criticism, but you certainly must be able to take it and learn from it.
If your natural spirit of rebellion prevents you from learning while you are being criticized, you might try getting a student manager to jot down the negative things that are said to you during a practice. You will probably be surprised to find out, an hour after practice when you are showered and gone from the gym, that even a coach you don’t like has said some things you can benefit from, even if one time he said the guy was your man and it wasn’t. So someone scored, and the coach said it was your man, and you know it wasn’t. Big deal. Could you have gotten him? Would a better player than you have switched off and taken that man anyway, even though it wasn’t his man?
This is not to say that a coach’s criticism is never wrong, but it is to say that you can probably learn from just about every criticism even when one is wrong in a particular instance.
A good basketball player can go a step beyond that. When was the last time (this is if you are already out of the complaining, rebellious stage yourself) you told a teammate who argued or frowned at the coach to quit acting and play ball? When was the last time you told someone, “Don’t worry about it” or “Don’t take it so personally. Keep doing your best.” Sometimes you need to be firm, sometimes you need to be encouraging. It depends on the situation and also on whether you are the toughest guy on the team, a senior the others look up to or a frail sophomore who shoots every time you get the ball.
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Regardless of what your situation is, criticism is going to be a large part of any basketball experience if the goals are excellence and winning. If you haven’t gotten accustomed to criticism enough to have already developed a useful response it is time you start making some giant steps toward changing and finding one.
No one ever said you have to like criticism. You merely have to learn from it with your mouth shut. There isn’t enough practice time to allow for your various explanations and refutations. “Suck it up” as the saying goes—it’s part of the game.
—Excerpted from the book, “Stuff! Good Players Should Know.”
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PGC Basketball provides intense, no-nonsense basketball training for players and coaches. Our basketball camps are designed to teach players of all positions to play smart basketball, be coaches on the court, and be leaders in practices, games and in everyday life.
We combine our unique PGC culture with a variety of teaching methods and learning environments to maximize the learning potential of those that attend our sessions. In addition to spending 6-7 hours on the court each day, lessons will be reinforced through classroom sessions and video analysis.
Our goal at PGC is to empower you with the tools to fulfill your basketball dreams, while also assisting you in experiencing the joy of the journey.