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How to Make the Basketball Team at School

Updated on May 11, 2015

How to Play Basketball as a Team Player

This article will focus on things you need to do to learn how to play basketball as a team player. A team player may be a concept hard to imagine in this day in time. I see so much emphasis on scoring points and players worried about what they did as opposed to how they helped their team. I am an experienced junior high school basketball coach and my AAU team is considered to be one of the better teams in our age group across the state of Louisiana. Getting young players to learn how to play team basketball is one of the most important things I have to do in order to have success and get wins. Let’s take a look at some of these things here in more detail.

Play Basketball as a Team Player

My son #33 and his teammate work together to deny this post player a good shot.
My son #33 and his teammate work together to deny this post player a good shot.

Star Player Wants His Points

One of the problems I encountered this year in school ball was that one of the better players from my AAU team decided that he needed to do it all himself in school ball this season. He was taking lots of bad shots and his shooting percentage was low. I noticed that he was trying to do too much and that it looked like he did not have confidence in his teammates. I also noticed that he was bragging about how many points he scored. This was not good. I first had to make him realize that he could not do it all by himself and that he needed to trust his teammates. I also told all the guys that I did not want to hear anyone bragging about how many points they had scored. It seemed to finally seek in as this player really began to focus on passing the ball more and it made a big difference for the team. Young players, I can assure you that your coaches will notice you more if you make regular good passes and will be very happy to leave you out on the court. Your coach does not want you on the court just to jack up bad shots even if you are fortunate to make a few of them every once in a while. If you are a great player, your points will come to you through the course of the game. If your team needs your scoring to be successful then that is just fine. Don’t force things, let the game come to you and it will happen. Even Kobe Bryant has to be careful not to try to do it all himself for the Los Angeles Lakers. He has to make sure his big guys like Dwight Howard get their looks and their touches to get their confidence up to help the team. If Kobe worried about scoring over 40 points every night, I think he would be the first to agree that his team will not be very successful. Let the game come to you and take good shots and trust your teammates. Take pride in a good pass as much or more than a made basket and you are well on your way learning how to play basketball as a team player.

8th Grade Champs

Here my son and I celebrate a big 8th grade tournament win for out school team.
Here my son and I celebrate a big 8th grade tournament win for out school team.

The Art of the Assist

I just mentioned above how great it was to see one of my players start passing the ball and making assists on a more regular basis. There have been some great players in the NBA that really knew how to distribute the ball to their teammates. Some of the greatest passers in the NBA were players like John Stockton, Magic Johnson and even a big man like Shaquille O’Neal was a great passer. These guys knew that their teammates were counting on them to be great teammates and distribute the ball and lead the offense. Guys still playing today are guys like the old man of the NBA, Jason Kidd and even the younger Rajon Rando are great passers and great team basketball players. Remember, just because you are a ball hog out on the playground with your friends does not mean that sort of play will transfer over well onto the court at school or for your AAU team

Magic Johnson Greatest Assists Highlights

Hustle and Encourage Your Teammates

What if you are not the best player on your team but an important role player? You can certainly be a team player in this situation. One thing you could do is to make sure that you are giving your very best effort when you are on the court. Are you hustling and giving all your effort? Are you dogging it and not hustling back on defense? Are your teammates having to pick up the slack for you defensively? If so, these things would not be considered being a good team basketball player. Are you criticizing your teammates when they make a mistake? If you are, put yourself in their shoes. Do you think they want to hear that from you? More than likely they are going to get an earful already from the coach. You need to be encouraging your teammates and lifting them up, not tearing them down when they mess up. I really feel that this is a very important part of learning how to play as a team player in the sport of basketball. Wouldn’t you want your teammates to look up to you or appreciate your words of encouragement? Keep your cool on the court too. Do you think getting technical fouls are going to help your team? No indeed, they will hurt your team and maybe even cause them to lose. Keep your cool on the court and keep your mouth shut and be respectful of the referees.

It’s the Little Things...

Our girls basketball coach here at my school has been coaching here for about 15 years. Currently, her 8th grade team is working on an undefeated season. It is interesting to note that her motto on her team tee shirts that the girls wear says, “It’s the little things.” What this coach is trying to stress that little things like being prepared for practice, taking care of your schoolwork, setting good picks, making good passes, hustling are all things that may seem little but all contribute and add up to having a successful basketball team and being a team player for your team.

Steve Nash could "dish the rock."

Steve Nash is another example of a great team player. He started his career playing with the Dallas Mavericks. He then moved on to the Phoenix Suns where this little point guard originally from Canada was good enough to earn two consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player Awards. Nash recently retired as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Steve Nash is most notably known for his great ability to lead his team as a floor general and make great passes to his teammates to help his team score. Steve Nash was a great example of how to be a good team player in basketball.


There’s No I in Team

This is an old cliché but still rings true. There are five players on the basketball court from one team at a time and all players should do their part to make a team be successful. If you learn how to play basketball as a team player for your team then you are doing all you can to help your team succeed. Your teammates will notice the things you do and so will your coach. He will be happy to have you on the team and will appreciate what you do for the team whether or not he tells you this. It is essential for all young basketball players regardless of skill level to appreciate this concept and learn how to play basketball as a team player. Good luck on your team and thanks for taking the time to read this article. I hope you found it helpful in learning to be a good team player in basketball.

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    • Miller2232 profile image

      Sinclair Miller III 5 years ago from Florida

      Your welcome, its an awesome Hub you have written.

    • hoov45 profile image

      hoov45 5 years ago from Denham Springs, Louisiana

      I tried to Miller. I appreciate your comments and taking the time to read my work.

    • Miller2232 profile image

      Sinclair Miller III 5 years ago from Florida

      You pointed them out on how to be team player, be an unselfish player, treat every player the same, support your teammates, and appreciate every teammate.