The first step to being coached is becoming coachable. There are many times when talented players aren’t able to reach their full potential due to a lack of coachability. Having a great coach can be the difference between being successful and being unsuccessful as a basketball player. Fortunately, coachability is a trait that can be developed through diligence and a simple willingness to learn. Coachable players tend to have several things in common, all of which can be learned and put into practice by anyone willing to put in the work.
A willingness to learn and a strong work ethic are the most important attributes that a coach looks for in a player, both of which require a player to be humble. Humility opens you up to admitting that you don’t have all of the answers, which causes you to be more willing to learn what you don’t know from someone else. This type of player never rests on his laurels and is, therefore, more likely to put in the work necessary to improve. No other trait will help you if you are not humble enough to learn.
Equally important, is taking action on what you learn. If you won’t do anything with advice you are given, there is no point in getting advice in the first place. A lot of times, we hear something that we know might help us, but do absolutely nothing with it. When you learn something, work on it right away. Taking action will not only make you more coachable, but it will allow you to see the value in what you learn which will inherently cause you to work harder. The best coaching in the world will do you no good if you’re not willing to take what you learn and put it into practice.
Learn because you want to. Learn for the sake of personal enrichment.
If you don’t already love to learn, then learn to love it. If you don’t, you won’t absorb very much that your coach tells you and won’t get nearly as much as you should out of your experiences. Normally, a coach has been around the game for a long time and has seen a lot of what works and what does not work. Pull from that experience and knowledge as much as possible and use it to become a better player. With most coaches, if you’re ready and willing to learn, they will give you the best of what they have to offer.
Finally, you need to trust to be coachable. If you don’t have faith in what your coach says, you will not absorb much of what you are being taught. Sometimes, it’s hard for a player to see the benefit of what a coach is trying to communicate until well after the fact. Generally, a coach has the big picture in mind, not just the short-term. It is usually easy to look back and understand what a coach was trying to do after we see the results, but to be coachable, we need to have confidence that a coach is trying to lead us to success in the future. You will never see these results if you don’t have confidence in your coach’s plan.
While you should always be selective when looking for a coach or mentor, not being willing to be coached in the first place can have a much more negative effect than an ineffective coach could ever have. Be humble and always assume that there is something to learn from every coach you have. Ultimately, your coach has the same goal as you do, which is for you as an individual and the team as a whole to be as successful as possible.