On every team there is usually one athlete who is considered the best at what they do. At certain moments in practice, and at certain moments during the game, this player usually steps up to the challenge and is able to overcome exhaustion and produce results that no one else on the team is able to make happen.
Recently, Kevin Durant and his teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder just found out that he has a fracture in his foot that is going to keep him out of action for a number of weeks. This is a big blow to a team which is expected to be very good, especially with a new season beginning and the momentum and high hopes which are present from trying to get off to a fast start.
If you belong to a team where one of the main rotation players gets hurt, what can you do to help the team?
One of the few bright spots which arises from when a top player gets injured is that it opens the door for other players on the team to step up and showcase their talent. Why can’t one of those players be you? When it comes to basketball, two major ingredients to a successful player is confidence and repetition. Take the added minutes you will get to convince yourself, your teammates, and your coaching staff that you are able to pick up the slack and contribute at a high level. Being able to take over the game on the offensive and defensive ends takes a lot of practice, and repletion to believe that you are capable of doing it.
If you are able to take advantage of the situation, use valuable practice time and in-game experience to build your confidence. This is the time to do it!!!
When one of the top players on a team goes down with an injury, some of the other members of the team bond together. This creates team spirit. Maybe the team can get shirts made which support the player and you can wear them on the bench. A small gesture like this makes the player feel like they are still part of the team.
Don’t forget about how the top player has carried the team in the past. Just because they are hurt now, doesn’t mean the team should neglect them. Include them in practice, while watching film, and on the team bus. If you were in their situation, you would want others to do the same thing for you.
Depending on how much talent you have on your team, sometimes the best thing you can offer is competing with a 500 record until the injured player returns. If you can do this, and when the injured player returns, you can surprise some teams who might have already counted you out.
Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people. Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.