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Skilled But Passive In Games

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"My son is one of three 7th-graders on the school's basketball team and the only one who gets playing time, mostly due to his ball-handling skills. Even though coach keeps increasing our son's time, he is reluctant to dribble, control the offense and take a leadership role. He is passive when he enters the game and yields to teammates' instructions. The 8th-graders do not pass to him much and are quick to criticize his mistakes. Is this just part of an adjustment period or is he losing confidence and his love of the game?"

PCA Response by Joe Scally, PCA Trainer
Your description of your son's situation reminded me of Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls All-Star point guard. As you may know, his high school team won two state championships, he led his University of Memphis team to the NCAA championship game as a freshman, and he was Rookie of the Year with the Bulls. Yet, in his first year with the Bulls he seemed reluctant to take charge or assume the role of "go to player." He often was on the bench in the fourth quarter. Now in his third year he is the acknowledged team leader who worked hard over the last two years to develop an outside shot to go with his already excellent passing and driving ability.

It is a frequent scenario in sports where a talented younger player comes to a veteran team and needs time to acclimate to the team dynamics and the higher level of competition. The younger player may need to develop skills that were not required at lower levels.

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