Role resentment is the permafrost of players...hard to see, harder to change. Unhappy players feel angry, devalued, worthless. Minutes, "involvement" and especially appreciation count. Dean Smith scored points by publicly recognizing reserves making key contributions. In Monday Morning Leadership, David Cottrell writes, "People don't quit jobs; people quit people."
Even in the NBA, most players are role players. And in the NBA, role players, former stars (Carmelo Anthony) or rising stars (Boston Celtics 2018-19), have trouble accepting reality. Big paychecks don't equal high performance.
Execution demands knowing your role. There are no dumb questions. If your opinion diverges from the coaches, unhappiness is inevitable. It's a zero-sum game; player A gets more minutes, player B gets fewer. Player C gets more shots, another takes less. What if you get your chance and you're not ready? That's on you.
A men's team scrimmages the UCONN women daily. They simulate future opponents, play hard, and don't dish out physical punishment. They're not understudies but more than practice dummies. They accept the obscurity coming with their job.
Excel in your role while striving to overcome. Practice well and you have a chance to rise. Dissatisfied? Ask coaches how specifically to contribute more. Do not bring snowplow parents into the equation. Kevin Eastman says, "you own your paycheck."
Feel trapped? We can't change size, but control athleticism, skill, and attitude. What is your plan TODAY to grow your athleticism and skill? Did you do the work of extreme ownership to earn a bigger role?
The world judges us not by words but by actions. "Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear you speak." Preach sportsmanship, opportunity, and fairness and practice hypocrisy and phone cams and social media will call us out. And they'll be right. No truth. No trust. No loyalty.
We can't make everyone happy. Communicate better, define roles, and show players that we value them.
Lagniappe: Ask better questions when assigning roles.
Excerpt:Ask these 25 questions to help define your players' roles https://t.co/ibFzXzofWn— Brian Williams (@BrianWWilliams) July 28, 2019
What projected playing time box should each player check? The playing time box is a form that I use at the beginning of the season so that I know where each player thinks he stands–1) Start and play regularly 2) Be in the regular rotation, be on the team–no guarantee of playing time.