Basketball Trainer wants to know: Do you know what body language can tell us about your game?
Combining all the youth, high school, and college basketball games I watch live in a year I think it is safe to say I watch over 100 games a year. This allows me to not only watch what athletes do as basketball players but it allows me to see how they act before, during, and after the game. By just watching a players body language I how confident or unconfident they are, if they are a good teammate, if they are coachable, and if they a good kid in general. Like your game itself you need to work on your body language and use it to communicate to everyone in the gym who you are.
Why body language? Won’t my game just speak for itself? Honestly you probably need all the help you can get whether it is getting college scouts to notice you or just trying to get a starting spot as a freshman. I had a conversation with a college coach a few weeks ago and asked, “What is the first thing you look at when watching a specific player at a game?” He told me that the first thing he watches is how the kid warms up. He wants to see a kid with a focused “game face” on while at the same time having positive communication with coaches and teammates. Then he said I want to see what he does the first time he is subbed out of the game. Does he communicate with his teammate? Does he show disappointment if coming out after a mistake? Does high five his coaches and teammates on the bench? Then the coach told me he looks at how the kid comes back into the game. Do they pop up and hustle to the scorer’s table? Do they communicate and talk as soon as they step on the floor so they are on the same page defensively and offensively? Finally the coach said he wants to see a kid that has some fire in their personality to win, exudes confidence but cockiness, and is even keeled in pressure situations.
You see these body language skills when watching elite high school players, college games, and many NBA athletes. Another area that you will notice it is when watching Triple Crown horse racing events. You are probably thinking what can horse teach me about basketball? Horses are the best athletes there are in the animal kingdom so why not learn from them? Watch all of the horses before the race and then look at the winner after. They are usually calm, cool, and collected. These horses enjoy being in front of over 100,000 people and competing against other horses. People base million dollar decisions on how a horse carries himself to the starting gate. Just like how you should carry yourself with some swagger walking into a gym and warming up for the game.
So what can you do to improve your body language? Be aware of it in practice, ask your basketball trainer for feedback on your body language during your sessions, make an effort to carry yourself with confidence “swagger”, still be humble when you succeed, and attack every opportunity you have on a court because you never know who is watching.