3 Reasons The Most Skilled Player May Not Be The Best Player

After college I was focused on making it to the NBA. I would get to the gym at 5:30a.m. for our workout. Not because the early bird gets the worm but because that was the only time we could get a free gym. There would be a small group of us, and we would go through drills and play one on one full court. Later in the day we would play pick up 5 on 5 basketball to 140 points. It was one particular player that really baffled me. He was 6’8 athletic strong, good handle, good shot and would look so impressive going through our morning drills. He would even win some of them and there were not any scrubs there. About half of the workout were NBA players. Guys like Earl Boykins, Ira Newble, and Derrick Dial to name a few. Back to this player, he would look very impressive in the morning drills workout but in the afternoon pick-up games he would often be the worst player on the court. I took a lot of time thinking about why that was and cme up with 3 reasons he could not play up to his skill level in a game. So here are my 3 reasons the most skilled player may not be the best player.


Confidence The first problem he had was confidence he would often make excuses for his bad play even before we started playing. He would say things like “i’m a little sore from our workout this morning”, Or “i’ve been off lately”. He would sike himself out before we even started playing. He was creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by thinking he was off he would live up to his thoughts of being off. Most of the time he played great in the morning and shot well. He should have been thinking I played great this morning and know I’m going to keep it rolling and dominate this pickup game. But he didn’t believe that about himself so he played passive and never tried anything to “risky”. So it was easy to check him because if you were set on defense he would never try to beat you. Confidence I feel is the biggest factor in being great as a basketball player, because confident players try to make things happen and they often do. Were a less confident player would pass the ball back out.


The second reason is instinct. No one can tell you a formula for how to be good, there is no move that will work every time. You can’t say if the defense does this then you do that and it will work everytime. Also If you have to think about what your going to do before you do it your usually going to be a step slower than everybody else. In the pickup games this player would try to do some of the moves we worked on in the morning. And if you watched him you could actually see him thinking about the move he was about to do. It never worked the defense would always beat him to the spot and he would not have a counter move. Someone operating of instinct is always going to be faster than someone who has to think before he reacts. That is why it is important to have as many tools in your toolbox as possible and be comfortable doing those moves. The more moves (tools) you have to choose from the more options you have to beat the defense and the more comfortable and confident you’ll be.

Basketball Is Art

The third is basketball is a art form. Something might work great for you but not so well for someone else basketball is not one size fits all. I see a lot of videos saying learn to do this move like this NBA player but you can never learn to do it like them because everyone is unique. You can come close but it will never be the same. At this point in time Allen Iverson was one of the biggest stars in the NBA and everyone was trying to do his crossover. This player would try the Iverson crossover and never beat anyone. Technically he was doing the move correctly but it was just a move that did not work for him. I suggest you find a few moves that work well for you and play to your strengths don’t try to make your weakness a strength. You can work to make it respectable but focus on your strength and try to be the best of the best at what you naturally do well.

Those are 3 reasons why someone my have a great skill level and a not so great game to go along with it. Hope you enjoyed the read and if you did checkout our videos on youtube and follow us on your favorite social media site byltraining.


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(Book Recommendations)

Old School Grit- The willpower to persevere with passion and a sense of purpose is what matters most in whether a person succeeds or fails, is what this book is all about.

COMPLETE CONDITIONING FOR BASKETBALL -This is a very comprehensive book on basketball-specific training schedules and methods.

How To Be Better At Basketball In 21 Days- This book has basketball drills that can help you develop basic skills, tips on how to increase your basketball shooting accuracy, and how to toughen your mental state so that you play with confidence, courage, and control.

 Audible- You can listen to them if you don't like to read

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