“It’s political”. It’s something we hear so often.
“I didn’t make the team because of politics.”
“Coach doesn’t play me because it’s political.”
“I’m not getting recruited because of politics.”
Could it be that any of this is true? ABSOLUTELY. It is probably all true. The problem is that this puts the control of your success in the hands of someone else. From the way you’re talking, this person isn’t very concerned about your success. Does a high school coach really care that much about players 11-15 on the roster? If you’re 11-15, you’re probably not going to play anyway. So you’re going to be mad about that too. If you really think you’re going to outwork your way to the top, why haven’t you done that already?
So I have a question. If KD, or Steph, or Dame walked in the gym, would they make the team? Would they get to play? Would they get recruited? Of course, they would. Would that be political too?
Granted KD is basically 7’0″ tall so he’s a little different. But the other two aren’t. What’s keeping you from being that good? It has nothing to do with making the team. It’s not about playing time. It’s definitely not about who is recruiting you or who isn’t. It’s your level of commitment to the work. If you will own that you’re just not that good and you’re going to do everything it takes to be that good, it won’t be political anymore.
You’ll never have to worry about making the team, or playing time, or not getting recruited. The problem is that it’s so easy to say it’s political and it’s HARD to do the WORK every single day.
Is it true that the environment matters? Of course, it is. A player in one environment can look completely different in another environment. But then there are the players that will look good in any environment. In fact, not only does the environment not matter, they control the environment as much as the environment influences them. Isn’t that the kind of player you want to be?
This is yet another reason, we aren’t a fan of younger kids playing organized 5 on 5 basketball. A kid who starts playing basketball at 4 or 5 years old is going to be better at 8 years old than a kid who just started playing at 8. However, it doesn’t mean that an 8-year-old can’t be better than that same 4 or 5-year-old when they get older. Time matters. Age matters. Young kids shouldn’t be exposed to “politics.” They haven’t had time to put the work in to be that good.
At that age, it should be 100% about development. But instead, “it’s political” when a kid doesn’t get to play or whatever. Kids who transfer teams are all looking for the quick fix and this carries right on up through middle school and high school because “it’s political.”
I would never advocate that anyone stay in a situation that is abusive or negative. But not getting playing time isn’t negative. It’s a challenge to get better. Not getting recruited by a certain school isn’t negative. It’s a challenge to improve. It’s an opportunity to seriously evaluate yourself as a player and say what do I need to do differently. If you don’t know what you need to do, ask. And then really evaluate that answer. Have you heard it before? Have you been doing those things? Then maybe that’s not the answer. If you haven’t, maybe you should.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not easy. It’s really hard. Or it can just be political.