Playing for a tough coach or with a difficult teammate

You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can't always pick your teammates or coach. Or something like that.

If you have played a sport for any length of time, you have likely already encountered either a tough coach or teammate. Teams consist of many different styles, attitudes, and demeanors. In some ways, this is what makes team sports special. Sometimes though, it can be really hard to adjust to.

You will have teammates over the years that will not play hard. Some may not even have any desire to play at all. Some will hog the ball, others may pick on you at practice. These things will seem very difficult to get over in the moment, but in the long term, you will be better for it. Not only as a player, but as a person.

These people will not be limited to sports, but all aspects of life. You will experience many of the same personality traits someday at work, or in social situations. Learning to roll with the punches and taking the high road is not easy, but it is a key part of growth.

Ask not what your teammates can do for you, ask what you can do for your teammates.
— Magic Johnson

Not meshing with your coach

Not always getting along with teammates is one thing. Those are your peers that you share many of the same circumstances with. Even more difficult is experiencing a coach that rubs you the wrong way or that you do not see eye-to-eye with.

It is easier said than done, but this situation must be treated similarly to the teammate issue above. Taking the high road in a situation where you are the subordinate is a very backwards-feeling scenario.

If your coach is on you for no reason, stand tall and do not let him/her get a rise out of you. If you are not getting minutes or situations that you deserve, keep grinding until everyone in the gym can clearly see the mistake. Learning to turn the other cheek to those in positions of authority will pay off exponentially as far as your growth as a person.

Know when things have gone too far

Standing tall and not retaliating is the go-to response when you encounter these tough situations. That does not mean that you should just allow yourself to be bullied or harassed. If you feel that things have gone to far with a teammate, bring it up to them. If that does not resolve the issue, it may be time to approach the coach.

If the coach is the problem, discuss it with someone that you trust. A lot of coaches are intense people, and it may just be that they get a bit too passionate about the sport or getting the most out of their players. If it is going beyond that or becoming personal, it may be time to voice your concerns to someone with the ability to resolve the situation.

For examples of great coaches, a player-first atmosphere, and a true team mentality, you are in the right place and Robert Yanders is your man. Contact us at to get involved in our program!

Focus on strengths - Insulate weaknesses

You know what you are good at and you know what needs work. Which is more deserving of attention?

As a player, unless you are blinded by supreme confidence, you are aware that you are not perfect. Perhaps you have never been the best shooter or maybe you are an undersized post-player. You also know where you shine on the court or in the locker room.

With something like the sport of basketball, it is easy to get caught up in the areas that need improvement. This is not always a bad thing, there are always opportunities to elevate skill level, but do not forget also to focus on your strengths that set you apart.

Players like Shaquille O'neal and DeAndre Jordan have been mercilessly criticized for their free throw shooting woes. They are also heavily applauded - Shaq was an NBA MVP and DeAndre Jordan was 1st team all-NBA last year. You see where we are headed with this?

Focus on what sets you apart

Shaq was not a great free throw shooter, but it did not matter because he was so dominant in other facets of the game.

If you are a great shooter, keep working on shooting. Never fully ignore any one aspect of the sport, but stay sharp and keep improving even your best qualities. The all-time great shooters were not content with being decent. They still practiced shooting every single day. 

Even if you are hyper-focused on strengths, do not forget:

Insulate weaknesses to make sure you do not fall behind

Just because you are focused on what sets you apart does not mean you can ignore the other aspects of the game. You can become a great shooter, but coaches will be hesitant to play you if you never bothered to work on defense.

Not everyone can be fast. Stay in shape and keep your conditioning at the best level you can, but do not sweat it too much if you are struggling to improve foot speed. Focus instead on foot work and body positioning to insulate this weakness. Then, get right back to focusing on what sets you apart.

Great rebounders practice rebounding. Glue guys focus on defense and ball-movement. Shooters get up hundreds of shots. Be a well rounded player, but make sure your best skills are kept the sharpest for your team.

Love the game

It’s Valentine’s Day, so Yanders Law wants to remind you to love what you do - especially basketball!

Keeping a love of the game of basketball is very important when striving to become a great player. Loving what you do does not have to only apply to basketball or other sports - it is important to love your job, your life, or whatever motivates you to be great.

We hear from the pros all the time about their love for the game or occasionally how they fall out of love and drift away from the sport. Love for the game is a common theme from the top-tier athletes.

Almost everyone likes sports, but it takes true passion to be in the gym for hours each day perfecting your craft.

The game of basketball has been everything to me. My place of refuge, place I’ve always gone where I needed comfort and peace. It’s been the site of intense pain and the most intense feelings of joy and satisfaction. It’s a relationship that has evolved over time, given me the greatest respect and love for the game.
— Michael Jordan

Do not be afraid to pour your heart into something like basketball. Even when your days as a player are over, the game gives back in unexpected ways. You can love watching the game, coaching the game, writing about the game (a personal favorite), and much more.

This Valentine's Day, cherish what you love. Have a little chocolate if you must, but don't forget to put down the box and get some free throws up too.

Happy Valentine's Day from Yanders Law!

Never be ashamed of where you are from

Towns no one has heard of, cities where it is tough to stand out from the crowd; everyone is from somewhere. Embrace your journey.

Everyone has a story. Guys and girls from all over may share passions for things like basketball, but no one is quite the same as you. Embracing yourself as a person or player means you must own every part of your life. Never be ashamed of where you come from.

For better or for worse, you are the culmination of all of your experiences in life. Some of them were great experiences that you could see making you stronger right in front of your eyes. Some experiences really hurt at the time, but they still altered your path to make you the unique individual you are today.

Be the best version of yourself in anything that you do. You don’t have to live anybody else’s story.
— Stephen Curry

Look back at the toughest times that you have had in your life. In the end, they made you much stronger in many ways, right? The best parts of your story couldn't have happened without the early chapters.

On the court, you are not the only player that wants to win and dominate the competition. You will often have to bring your very best to achieve your goals. Your very best means drawing on experiences, hard work, and an understanding of what makes you uniquely you.

Embrace your personal history, even if there are things you would rather forget. You do not have to dwell on those things, but do not be afraid to think back and recognize the ways that it made you a stronger person. Even if you have been lucky enough to avoid major hardships, there are always experiences to reflect back on when striving to be great.

Yanders Law aims to push players and people at all levels to be the very best they can be. Do not be afraid to approach our coaches or anyone else with any tough times you are going through. Just remember, it is all another chapter in the story of your greatness.