How to Get More Playing Time on Your Basketball Team

As a basketball player, there’s nothing worse than playing on the bench. You put in the hard work, you show up to practice every day, but the stats just never reflect it. That’s why we’ve put together this post about “How to Get More Playing Time on Your Basketball Team: Proven Strategies to Increase Your Court Time”. No more sitting the game out – from perfecting your skills on the court to showcasing them in practice, these are the strategies to get you noticed and onto the starting lineup. Read on to discover how you can get more playing time and make the most of your basketball talent.

Understand the Coach’s Needs

Making yourself valuable to the coach is part of your job as a team member and playing more often is one of the ways to achieve that. It’s important to understand the specific needs of the coach to do this. Different coaches have different approaches and philosophies, so understanding what they need may be as simple as asking questions or observing their coaching tactics during practice or games.

It’s also helpful to ask your teammates what they think. Ask them what they think the coach wants from each individual to excel on the court. Perhaps the coach rewards those who hustle, pass quickly, and remain committed to defense. Maybe he or she shows favoritism towards certain players because they are taller or better shooters.

It’s not all about appeasing the coach’s wants – you still should stay true to yourself and focus on your own skills, talent and potential for growth. Don’t forget to develop yourself as an individual and become a good team player. As long as you can actively demonstrate that you are capable of applying both approaches and adapting them collaboratively, you are demonstrating value to your team and coach.

The best way to explore these needs is by taking the time to talk with your coach – whether that’s in private or among the whole team – and ask questions to learn more about his/her approaches and insights into how you could improve your game and exhibit greater value. Taking the time to talk with your coach will give you greater insight into what specifically needs to be accomplished both by yourself and by the team overall for everybody to meet their goals.

According to an analysis conducted by, sleep and nutrition are key factors in gaining a competitive edge on the court. Players who reported getting 7+ hours of sleep and eating healthy meals resulted in improved mental and physical performance during games.

A survey of NCAA coaches revealed that players who display hustle and put forth consistent effort during practice sessions have a higher chance of being rewarded with more playing time in competitive games.

Take the Time to Talk to the Coach

Talking to the coach can be an effective strategy for increasing playing time on your basketball team; however, it is important to approach the conversation in a respectful and professional manner. You are not recommended to confront the coach directly or demand more playing time, as this could damage your relationship with them. Instead, you should express your desire to contribute more to the team and inquire about what steps you could take to help earn additional playing time. Be sure to listen carefully to any advice or suggestions the coach offers, as this can help you identify areas of improvement and how you can help your team win.

If there are extenuating circumstances that have prevented you from getting more playing time in the past, consider having an honest conversation with the coach about these issues in a constructive way. For example, if certain teammates on the court are blocking your shots or taking away opportunities for you to get involved in plays, politely bring up these scenarios and work collaboratively with the coach on strategies that they could impose during practices/games so that your overall playtime increases.

Make sure that you follow through with any suggestions given by your coach and demonstrate good team spirit at all times. Once your heightened level of commitment is evident, it will be difficult for the coach not to take notice and reward you with additional court time.

Working Hard on the Court

Working hard on the court can be key to getting more playing time and furthering your basketball career. Showing up for practice and giving a hundred percent can demonstrate to coaches that you are committed, and this kind of effort is often rewarded with more playing time.

When it comes to working hard on the court, there are two perspectives: those who believe that natural talent is enough, and those who believe in putting in extra hours and effort to improve their skillset. Some people may agree that natural talent is enough, given that some basketball players may have innate abilities that don’t necessarily require extra effort. Nevertheless, playing hard and pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone can take a player’s game to the next level. Players willing to put in the extra work can have an edge over their competition due to improved skills such as increased confidence, better decision making and muscle memory.

Working hard can lay the foundation for improving your game and being more competitive on the court. As an aspiring basketball player, knowing how to allocate more time towards developing specific aspects of your game such as shooting and dribbling can be extremely beneficial during games. Leading by example in practices and demonstrating a strong work ethic could also make a lasting impression on coaches and peers alike. Hustle really does pay off if players go the extra mile

By executing practice drills fundamentally and further developing existing skill sets, players can maximize their playing time on any team.

Execute Your Practice Drills Fundamentally

Executing your practice drills correctly and with fundamentals is vital to getting more playing time on your basketball team. Every coach looks for players who not only attend practice, but also work hard and demonstrate mastery of the skill sets they are working on in the drills. Practicing your ball handling, shooting, defensive movements, and other fundamental drills will not only improve your skills, but also show your coaches that you are serious about improving as a player.

When perfecting your fundamental drills at practice, there is no substitute for repetition and hard work. Players need to commit themselves to excellence and stay focused throughout practice sessions. This means mastering footwork and other details that go into developing the basic skills necessary for successful play. It also involves understanding when it’s time to be aggressive and push oneself, versus understanding when a slower pace is required to focus on the fundamentals.

Identifying where improvements can be made and focusing on them during practice can help reinforce the fundamentals needed for a successful game. Repetition of these drills will lead to improving current skills while developing new ones which can all contribute to securing more playing time with the team.

It becomes important to perform these fundamental drills with proper execution among teammates with similar or higher skill levels. This helps develop various teamwork advantages such as increased efficiency with passing, cutting and screen setting which otherwise may be difficult or even impossible to achieve without adequate teammate competition in practice.

As with any area of basketball development, executing your practice drills fundamentally requires commitment, hard work and disciplined practice. Now that we understand why executing our practice drills correctly is paramount, let’s explore how we can identify what you need to improve upon to get more playing time on the court.

Identifying what You Need to Improve

Growing as a player means understanding the basics of playing and finding areas that you need to improve. Self-improvement is key when it comes to getting more on-court time. Some find it difficult to identify where their skills are lacking, but asking for honest feedback from your coach or a teammate can make this task easier. It’s important to take note of the types of skills the coach is looking for in his players and to focus on improving any deficits in your game accordingly. Ultimately, you should strive to be a complete player while also having an area of expertise that teams can use to their advantage.

Some may argue that specializing in an area of the game may be best to get more playing time, focusing solely on certain skill sets and developing them to perfection. On the other hand, many coaches tend to prefer players who have an all-around solid understanding of the game and can contribute well in different aspects. Although specialization might help you perfect your craft to stand out from the crowd, being able to handle yourself across the court gives you much greater value as a team player overall.

The first step in improving your skills involves understanding what you do well and then pinpointing where there’s room for improvement. Identifying exactly which skills you need work on will help keep you impatiently striving for greatness. Now that your potential improvements have been identified, it’s time move onto the next step: setting and achieving realistic goals. What Are the Coaches Expectations from You? The successful basketball player needs to understand a coach’s expectations and standards for each position. Knowing how coaches want their players to behave both on and off court and what their expectations are with regards to strategy is essential when wishing for more playing time.

What Are the Coaches Expectations from You?

When it comes to increasing your playing time on your basketball team, it is essential to understand what coaches expect from you. It is no secret that coaches have a lot of influence when determining who gets more playing time and who stays on the bench, so it is important that players pay attention to their coach’s expectations.

Coaches generally look for players who are willing to be coached, excel academically, and display good sportsmanship and strong teamwork skills. This means that a player must keep their head up during practice, work hard in all aspects of the game, and not badmouth or argue with other players or referees. Coaches also expect players to be dedicated and focused on increasing their skills and understanding of the game. Players should be conscientious about studying up on their opponents before each game, doing extra work in practice, and using their spare time to refine fundamentals such as dribbling, shooting and defensive moves.

On the opposite side of the coach’s expectations, there are some areas players should avoid if they want to increase their playing time. One poor decision can cause problems with coaches, teammates and trainers alike so it is best for players to stay away from any sort of misconduct or rule violations that could lead to significant disciplinary action. In addition, players should try not to coast during practices as this lack of effort will not go unnoticed by coaches.

Uniting these two perspectives together is key for any basketball player looking for increased court time; abide by all guidelines your coach has set out for you but also be sure push yourself further than your comfort zone to improve your skills beyond that of your peers. That way you can prove yourself worthy of additional playing time by demonstrating total preparedness on both ends – working hard and abiding by the rules.

Your Attitude on the Court

Your attitude on the court can have a huge impact in determining whether or not you get more playing time. In some cases, even if you don’t perform on the court, you can still earn extra minutes if you have a good attitude and coachability. When coaches observe the way you interact with your teammates, your willingness to keep an optimistic spirit and your commitment to pushing yourself to improve, no matter how small the effort may be – they will certainly factor such behavior into their decision-making when it comes to playing time.

Having a poor attitude on the court can cost you in terms of getting more minutes. It is important to understand that coaches take notice of how players show good sportsmanship, their passion for the game, and their ability to stay in the present moment and take constructive criticism without letting negative emotions get in their way. So if you find yourself frequently complaining during games or having emotional outbursts when comments are made by coaches or teammates, you need to work on keeping those reactions in check if you want to increase your chances of getting significant playing time this season.

Playing Your Position Right

Playing your position right is critical for getting more playing time on a basketball team. It’s not just about scoring points; coaches want players who cost their teams less points by taking fewer risks and making the correct decisions that lead to success. A point guard who consistently dishes the ball off instead of trying to make difficult shots, or a center who uses proper block-outs instead of gambling on steals will be favored over those who don’t.

Penalties for misthrow passes, stepping out of bounds, or other costly mistakes can also mean losing playing time. You must take responsibility and focus while playing as any small mistake can have negative consequences. The key is to avoid the costly mistakes—not just score—to secure playing time.

Playing with confidence and taking calculated risks can benefit you. Players who take open shots, drive when they see an opening, and even take chances while calling out defensive plays can demonstrate their value to the team. Overly cautious players are typically seen as timid and are at risk of being benched in favor of others willing to put in extra effort for the win.

The key is knowing how and when to balance confidence with appropriate caution in order to maintain your playing time without sacrificing too many points for the opposing team.

Be Aggressive on Offense and Defense

To get more playing time on a basketball team, it is important to be aggressive on both offense and defense. Being aggressive involves playing hard and making the most of the opportunities that are presented. Aggressive players often show leadership, determination, and hustle. These qualities can help set them apart from other players, thus increasing their chances of getting more time on the court.

On offense, aggressive players don’t shy away from making bold moves such as taking difficult shots or driving to the basket in traffic. They do not hesitate when it comes to taking initiative and making plays that may lead to scoring opportunities for themselves or for their teammates. Being aggressive on offense also means being willing to make errors and learning from them; making mistakes is part of the process of becoming a more effective offensive player.

On defense, aggressive players put pressure on their opponents by staying in front of them, keeping their hands up, and using active body positioning. This kind of defensive intensity helps slow down the offense and force them into difficult or unwise shots. It also sends a strong message throughout the entire team that everyone is committed to maintaining a high level of defensive intensity throughout each game.

Although some may argue that being overly aggressive can lead to turnovers and fouls, these risks can ultimately be mitigated by playing within one’s abilities and taking calculated chances rather than forcing unnecessary passes or making contact with the ballhandler. While it is important to stay disciplined and mindful at all times, it is equally important to display aggression when necessary to increase playing time.

By being aggressive on both offense and defense, you can demonstrate your commitment to winning as well as your versatility as a player. This can lead to more minutes on the court for you in key situations, which allows you to gain more experience and grow as an overall player.

Increasing Your Basketball IQ

Increasing your basketball IQ is a key step to getting more playing time on your basketball team. As with any sport, strong knowledge of the game is essential to get more court time. There are several ways in which an athlete can increase their basketball IQ, ranging from reading tactical and analytical books to watching games closely and learning the strategies of the opposing team.

Those serious about boosting their basketball IQ should spend as much time as possible studying the fundamentals of the game. This includes understanding basic formations, how to read and break down a given situation, as well as learning how to make decisions quickly when on the court. To gain a better understanding of plays and matchups, watching videos or coaching sessions on the sport can be a valuable resource. Talking with coaches or other players may help by exposing athletes to different points of view and strategies used by successful teams that could be applied to one’s own team or individual performance.

While understanding plays and basketball is key to increasing your basketball IQ, it is just as important to focus on yourself and what you can bring to the court. A thorough evaluation of strengths and weaknesses can help an athlete identify areas for improvement and help them focus on becoming an all-around threat for their team. Fundamental skills such as passing, shooting, ball-handling, dribbling, post moves, spacing techniques and more must become second nature for an athlete to truly increase their value on their team. This includes conditioning drills both on and off the court that will further improve on-court performance.

Increasing your basketball IQ is essential in getting more playing time on your basketball team; however, learning certain fundamentals is necessary to maximize success while playing at higher levels.

Learn the Fundamentals of Each Position

It is important that players understand the fundamentals of each position when attempting to get more playing time. Learning the fundamentals of each position will help to increase court time, as coaches want players who understand the basics of each position and are able to play multiple positions if need be. Being able to play multiple positions makes it easier for a coach to rotate in or out players during a game in order maximize an advantage. Knowing the different skills required for each position also allows a player to practice and excel at specific skills, which can ultimately increase playing time on the court.

While understanding the fundamentals of each position, it is important that a player has a knowledge of their opponents to best understand how they should play. For instance, a guard may understand the strengths and weaknesses of their defender and be able to take advantage of those attributes. Being aware of opposing players tactics and strategies allows for greater basketball intelligence as well as increased trust from coaches for playing time.

There are arguments against investing time into learning all five positions on the court. Some may view this as increasing a player’s existing skill set at one particular spot instead of spreading the net too wide. Despite these arguments, having the ability to switch between positions can have positive impacts on gaining more opportunities from coaches – ultimately leading to increased playing time on the court.

It is worthwhile for a player looking for more playing time to not only learn but also master their own position along with learning the basics of other positions as well – as this will allow them to become invaluable assets within their team due to their increased versatility on the court. In addition, learning opposing players attributes can further enhance knowledge and comprehension while being watchful on defense.

Utilizing Individual Skills

A major contributor to gaining more playing time on your basketball team is mastering individual skills. This can include agility and speed drills, perfecting a shooting form, and improving dribbling techniques. Being able to execute these basic skills quickly and effectively can signal to your coach that you are emotionally connected with the game, as well as physically talented at it.

When it comes to developing individual skills for basketball, there are two different schools of thought: technique-focused vs. physical-focused. Those who take the technique-focused approach believe that a player must master one skill first before attempting to advance to another. The physical-focused approach dictates that players should work on multiple drills and skills simultaneously to gain proficiency in all areas at once.

It is up to the individual player and which strategy they choose to employ when honing their skills. The important takeaway here is that consistent practice and attention to detail can pay dividends when it comes to earning more court time. Although the end goal should be improving performance in all aspects of the game, recognizing progress made with even just one skill can mean bigger strides within a team context.

Both approaches have their own merits, but dedicated practice time is absolutely essential for any aspiring basketball player desiring more playing time. By utilizing individual skills and paying attention to the finer details of key fundamentals like shooting form or dribbling drills, players can hope to make advances towards achieving their overall basketball goals.

Focus on developing your offensive and defensive moves next – physicality is critical for excelling in both categories.

Developing Your Offensive and Defensive Moves

Developing your offensive and defensive moves is essential to getting more playing time on the basketball court. An effective offense can be created by honing skills such as shooting, passing, dribbling, footwork, and reading the defense. When shooting, focus on technique, consistency and proper form. To improve your passing accuracy, practice moving without the ball, finding passing angles and quickly recognizing situational matchups. Dribbling drills will help you maintain ball control as you move up or down the court. After mastering these fundamental skills, you must learn how to use them in game scenarios like pick and rolls, drives to the basket and passes off of screens.

On the defensive side of the court, learning footwork and proper body positioning is essential for mastering defensive techniques like slide and recover. Footwork drills involve quick pivoting, shuffling and back-pedaling with an emphasis on staying low. Establishing proper body positioning often requires keeping one’s distance from an opponent while awareness dictates when to go into a close out position. Fundamentals like blocking out opponents within shot circles and being aware of defensive rotations are also key components of successful defense.

Developing skills that are applicable both offensively and defensively can greatly increase your playing time. This means working hard not just at practice but also during off-hours to develop proficiency in all areas of the game. With masterful execution of these tactics on both sides of the ball– paired with self confidence– you’ll certainly have more opportunities to showcase your talents from the court.


Getting more playing time on a basketball team is not something that happens overnight. It requires dedication, hard work, and an understanding of how to make the most of your opportunities on the court. Every season brings a new set of challenges and opportunities, so staying focused on improving your skills and game knowledge may be the best way to give yourself a better chance of earning extra minutes.

Although playing time is ultimately determined by the coach, there are strategies that players can employ to increase their court time. Take advantage of practice times, attend open gyms or shootarounds when available, and focus on developing as much basketball skill as possible. Take every opportunity you have during games and always strive to be a positive contributor to your team’s success.

While it is certainly possible for players to create even more opportunities for themselves with smart decisions, courtside behavior, and communication with coaches, ultimately it is up to the coaches’ discretion on how much playing time each player is awarded. Therefore, even through all the hard work and preparation put in place by players it will still be uncertain if more court time will be rewarded but greater effort in improving their skill sets and game awareness from each individual should lead them in the right direction towards getting more playing time on the team.