Breakthrough Basketball Newsletter:
Playing Time Article We Sent to Parents and Players

January 10th, 2022

Hey, Coaches, just wanted to let you know that we sent an email to parents and players with proactive tips to get more playing time.

We thought you might want to take a look at the email we sent...

Maybe you'll get some ideas from it, or maybe you'll want to share it...we're good either way!

The player version is below...

Playing Time.

I bet those two words made you feel either Joy...or Indifference...or Frustration.

Of course, it all depends on how much time you're sitting on the bench.

And if you're not getting as much playing time as you'd like, I want to help.

Quite simply, I'm a problem solver and want to help out in a positive manner (because we all know complaining or quitting doesn't fix anything)...

In other words, how do you move forward?

If you are under the age of 14, I suggest this article about why I recommend fairly equal playing time for that age group - and situations for when it might not be equal: Youth Basketball and The Playing Time Issue. The rest of this email won't apply to you.

But if you're 15 and older, keep reading...

Here are some proactive tips to help you earn you more playing time:


If you can become the best at one particular aspect, the coach will notice, and your playing time will increase. The coach needs players to fill roles

So where do you start?

You might be able to figure out what the team is missing on your own. If you're not sure, just ask your coach politely (first ask him/her when is a good time to talk to them)...

"What can I do to help the team in order to get more playing time? What does our team need?"

And I bet your coach's response will fall into 1 or more of these categories:

Offense - Coaches need players who...

  • Knock down the open jumper and stretch the defense (3-point specialist)
  • Slash to the basket and score around the basket
  • Handle the ball against pressure and make high IQ decisions
  • Pound the paint and score some easy baskets in the post

Defense - Coaches need players who...

  • Play tenacious D and shut down opposing scorers
  • Communicate on defense

Boxing Out/Rebounding - Coaches need players who...

  • Dominate the boards and limit your opponent's offensive rebounds
  • Block out on every single shot
  • Create tons of 2nd chance points by sneaking in and grabbing offensive rebounds

Hustle/Aggressiveness/Energy - Coaches need players who...

  • Hustle back on defense
  • Dive for and grab loose balls
  • Bring a sense positivity and lift the team's energy - give the team a spurt when needed

If you can fill one of those roles and do it well, the coach will notice - resulting in more playing time.

Tip: Figure out what you're already fairly good at - and focus on improving that skill.


One of the biggest misconceptions is that skill level will get better during the basketball season.

In fact, if you have a coach who spends little time on shooting, ball handling, and other scoring moves (of which there are many), your skills can actually GET WORSE during the season!

And if you combine that with a lack of playing time, this can create a bigger gap between you and the players who get playing time.

So a great way to make progress and even surpass players is to do mini-skill workouts 3 to 5 times a week. This gives you a chance to get better than those players who might've been a little better than you at the beginning of the season.

They could do 20-to-30 minute mini workouts. Even 5 minutes a day is better than nothing!


Everyone knows the importance of athletic development and strength training during the offseason...

However, you should continue to do this during the season.

Why not get stronger and more athletic during the season, so you can:

  • Jump higher & faster to get more rebounds, blocks, and finishes at the rim
  • Increase durability and resiliency in their hips, knees & ankles
  • Improve jumping mechanics to reduce the risk of overuse injury
  • Increase explosiveness in all aspects of the game... running, cutting, accelerating, etc.

At the very least, you should at least workout once or twice a week for 15 to 20 minutes per workout to maintain the gains you made during the offseason!

This is especially important for female players to do during the season as they tend to lose strength more quickly during the season, which can in turn cause more knee/leg injuries (Brian McCormick, Ph.D.).

And once you get strong, you'll notice improvements in other parts of your game.


The old saying, "Players are made in the off-season" is 100% true.

Right now, you should be monitoring areas of strengths and weaknesses during games. That way, you or somebody else can create workouts that give you the best chance to succeed.

You should be monitoring...

  • Where your shots come within the offense. You'll obviously want to master these shots. If you're not playing much, watch where other players have opportunities within the offense.

  • What moves work and which ones don't. You will want to make your effective moves better and create complementary moves to them. Even ask your coach which moves they think you should practice.

Continue to improve your skills and strength. You should hit the weights or use a workout program at home.

If it works for your family, make sure you participate in leagues, camps, or both. Go to any open gyms that are available. This keeps a ball in your hands and allows you to continue progress and get specialized coaching.

Honestly, some of these things are going to take time to improve. You just can't turn things around overnight...these skills require an investment of months. Especially if you don't currently have as much experience as other players.

There's never any time like the present - so start now! Getting better will require dedication and an investment of time.

And I believe there is no "end" point. You must always strive to improve, continually putting in the time and effort year-round.

The bottom line is that lack of playing time is not fun for anyone, but taking proactive steps will bring improvement...

And make the coach notice you - thankful that you can fill an important role on the team.

Just stay positive and support the team no matter what...but in the meantime, make a plan to earn more playing time!

Here's a link to the article if you want to share:

Proactive Tips to Get More Playing Time


-Joe Haefner
Breakthrough Basketball