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My Coach Doesn't Have Confidence in Me

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Some time ago our team was involved in a very close game where it seemed that every single possession was even more important than usual.

During one particular stretch in the second half one of our players came off the bench and missed three straight three point shots on three straight possessions. (One of the shots was wide open and two were semi contested.)

Not willing to risk a fourth straight miss, I sent another player into the game almost immediately after the third shot clanked off the rim.

The next day when we talked about shot selection and managing the clock during practice, the player who had missed three straight shots spoke up and said, "It's hard for me to shoot well when I know you don't have confidence in me."

Now I know that "My coach doesn't have confidence in me" might be the most widely used excuse in the history of organized sports, but I decided to play along anyway. "What do you mean?" I asked.

"Instead of encouraging me after my third miss, you took me out of the game. If you had encouraged me I probably would have made the next one."

"What if I didn't think you would make the next one?'

"You could have and should have told me anyway."

I then told the entire team that in order to increase our mental and physical toughness we were all going up to the third floor of the athletic complex and one by one jump off the roof and land on the concrete walkway. I told them I was pretty confident that no one would get hurt and assured everyone that I would enthusiastically encourage them all the way down.

One player, thinking that I was serious, asked if I ever had a team do that before and of course I said no. Then he asked the million dollar question. "So how can you be confident that we won't get hurt?"

Exactly! I could hope they wouldn't get hurt. I could even pray they wouldn't get hurt. But I couldn't be confident that they would each land safely. Why? Because I had never seen them, or anyone else for that matter, jump 30 feet onto concrete without getting hurt.

Now back to the original shooter. I'd never seen him come in early or stay after practice to work on his shot. I never saw him in the gym over the summer or before he went to class in the Fall. As a result I had never seen him miss three in a row and then suddenly get hot. I guess I could have hoped or prayed that his next shot would go in, but it's hard to be confident in something that's never happened before!

See, the lesson here is that confidence is based on performance not wishful thinking!

In other words if you want your coach to have confidence in you then show him what you can do. Want him to have confidence in your shooting? Then put in some extra gym time. Better yet, put in some extra gym time and get him to rebound for you. Once he sees that you can consistently get on a roll and make eight, nine, or 10 in a row then a couple misses aren't going to bother him. He'll know that the next shot might be the start of a long hot streak.

If you want him to have confidence in your ballhandling then value every possession in practice and concentrate on never turning the ball over. The same idea can be applied to rebounding, defense, and running in transition.

It's time for players everywhere to trash the "My coach doesn't have confidence in me" excuse and replace it with the much more realistic and productive "I haven't given my coach a reason to have confidence in me yet." The key word is YET!

Remember, seeing is believing. As soon as your coach sees what you can do, he will believe that you can do it all the time.

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