top of page

5 tips To Get More Playing Time In Basketball

Updated: May 24, 2021

One of the most frustrating things as a player. You work all summer long honing in on your skills and basketball game just to ride the bench, and watch your teammates have the fun.

Now assuming you have some of the necessary talents to get playing time on your particular team I will be giving you some basic tips and methods you can use to get more playing time in basketball and be on the court more often.

1. Knowing What Your Team Needs

This can be a very hard conversation to have with some hoopers and others just do not want to admit it, but frankly what you want to do, and what your team needs you to do, are two completely different things a lot of the time. I know it can be difficult but the truth is if you want more playing time in basketball ,your not always going to be the player who is asked to score 20 points per game and take the most shots on your team.

Especially for you younger hoopers maybe trying to make your varsity team as an under class man, or if your a player playing on a really good travel ball team. For example if your a player that like to isolate and score the ball but your team already has two D1 recruits who score 20 plus a game do you really think your going to be taking the shots over him.

To be fair im not saying you should not be a scorer or a player that can get your team a bucket, but what I am saying is you should be a player who can adapt, and have multiple skills that your team can utilize.

Look at a majority of NBA players, they almost all were the main scorers on there high school or college teams, but if you have a teammate like Lebron James, or another NBA superstar, trying to take his role as the teams ball handler or scorer it is going to be very tough to get any playing time at all. Remember your competing against your teammates roles on the team for playing time not just overall ability.

2. Talk With Your Coach

I know this seems obvious to you but so many players do not want to do this, but frankly your couch will know better than anyone on why or why not, they have decided your role on the team.

I repeat when asking a couch how to get more playing do not ask a coach how to get more playing. Instead ask him "what skills or abilities do I need to have, or show to help improve this team." Asking the question like that will not only show that you are more team orientated, but that your mature, and want to help this team be the best that they can be.

Now to be fair I know we all had bad couches or a program that has a lot of politics in it, but at the end of the day you can only control what you can control, and doing the best you can is really all you can ask of yourself.

3. Win The Brownie Points

Frankly this section could be a whole article in its self but I think that we forget a lot of the times that coaches are people too, and winning those brownie points with coaches and showing your a good asset to the team won't only work in basketball but in life in general.

Examples Of Winning Brownie Points

Knowing Your Teams System- You got to realize most couches whether they admit it or not, have an ego to and they want to see that the system they spent hours on in the film room or studying will pay off and work in a game.

Think about it like this, if you ever had a strategy in place and everything goes as planned your going to be feeling really good about yourself, and the same goes with coaches with there programs and teams. Make sure to really know your coaches system and there game plans they set in place for each game.

Being The Squeaky wheel- "The squeaky wheel gets the grease". If you do not know what that means it basically means that the wheel that is squeaking is the one that is going to get the attention.

I want to emphasize this by saying do not be annoying or disruptive, but be on your coaches radar, coaches are humans too and if your not a player that is standing out then it is hard to get playing time. So after practice thank your coaches, or during practice ask him questions and be engaging, develop a relationship with your coach so he can trust you more and put you into the game and earn more playing time.

Be A Hustle Freak- Every coach seems to just go to heaven over this type of player. While I am not saying this is always effective and right, it is true that coaches will play this type of player more, even if his abilities might not be as good as some of the other players on a team.

A little pro tip: Taking charges in a game is almost one of the sure fire ways to get more playing time. Coaches go crazy for this play as it shows you are willing to sacrifice your body for your teams success, while also playing good defense which is another thing coaches go crazy over.

Being A Good Teammate- Again I want to emphasize this by saying that if your team likes you more, the more your team is going to want to see you succeed and get more playing time. This can be very very hard especially if you should be getting more playing time, but frankly it is one of your only options, if you want to change your situation on the team.

Being a good teammate could be simple things as encouraging your teammates when there down, or being loud and vocal on the bench, doing this your coach will also see that even when things aren't going your way you can still put your ego aside and do whats best for the team.

Doing The Basic Things- Guys this is so simple, but I see so many hoopers just destroying their playing time by not doing the basic life things. First, be on time for every practice, there is no better way to destroy your playing time then showing up late to practices or games. When your coach says you have to be there by a certain time, be there on time.

Second, be eligible, if your not someone your coach can rely on, game to to game then he is not going to want to waste practice time and resources on you, it is as simple as that.

Third, Listening to what they just said, like I said before your coaches are people too and if they just said something and the person didn't listen to a single word you said they are not going to want to play especially in crucial game scenarios. If your coach cannot trust you he is not going to play you

Going Above and Beyond- Look I get it we all have busy lives and most of the time as hoopers, just being a great player should grant you enough playing time on the court. But a lot of times that is not the case, for example if your coach has after school programs, summer workouts, or volunteer work, its a good idea to go to those. Showing your coach you put in work to be the best you can be is going to make it a lot harder for them not to give you more playing time.

4. Practices Are Now Just As Important As Games

Unfortunately, if you find yourself in this situation, practices are not just any run of the mill walk through anymore. If your not getting playing time in the games, well in practices, its basically a game at this point.

If your coach has decided that he is not going to play you, he is basically saying to you, that he thinks that guy playing over you is going to help them win better than you can. So in practices who ever that guy is you need to go after him, whether that is in scrimmages or drills.

I am not saying to be rude, or a bully, or even a bad teammate, but at the end of the day basketball is competition. He has something you want, now you have to get it over him. This doesn't mean you have to even be a better overall player than him, but what I am saying is that whatever skill the coaches think he has over you, show that you are better at that skill.

5. When You Are In The Game Be Aggressive

"Be so good that they have no choice but to play you." Since your in this spot of getting limited playing time when you are in the game you really have no choice other than to be more aggressive than you usually would be. Now while you should always be aggressive in games, all I'm saying is that you should be looking to score more often, get more rebounds, and do everything on the court.

When you do get those minutes you have to stand out on the court, whatever that skill set might be its time to show out, and take chances. Whats the worst that can happen, the coach decides to sit you, it was't like you were getting much playing time anyway. If you are a scorer look to score, if you are a rebounder, get every rebound, if you are a great defender lock up the other teams best player. This is your time to get more playing time leave it all out on the line.

Thanks for reading my hoopers, let me know if your struggling to get playing time right now, and what you did to overcome a coach not playing you more. Im curious to see how players handle these situations as it can be one of the most frustrating things a hooper can deal with on the court. Have a good day and keep hooping my friends!

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page