In order for you to advance successfully into competitive basketball’s upper levels and get the amount of playing time you want, you must somehow excel in at least one aspect of the game that no one else is. The skill could be just about anything: having a quick release on your three-point shot, aggressive glass work or lock down defense.

A player who is able to provide excellent playing skills in one aspect of the game will most likely get playing time. However, locating and developing a specific niche is not always the easiest thing to do. It can involve any of the following things:

– Having self-awareness out on the basketball floor, and knowing what skills you bring to the team that other players don’t.
– Knowing what you’re good at or like doing, and then working tirelessly in order to perfect this aspect of your game.
– Understanding what the needs of your team are, and working hard to fill that void.

If you love to play basketball and are looking to get more playing time, you should try to find your own niche within the game. In this article I’ll share some ideas on how to achieve this goal.

What “Finding your Niche” means
Basketball really values specialization these days. A player who goes into the game and can slow a hot scorer down or dominate the glass is something that is very valuable for coaches. A player like this is sure to find playing time.

There are many players that are able to impress coaches with their athleticism or individual moves, and most teams do have room on their roster for these skills. However, when a player has specialized skills, a coach is forced to ask himself if this skill is needed on the team. Players that have great offensive moves are not always needed by coaches, still they frequently need long-range shooting, defense and rebounding, along with other niche basketball skills that some players can offer.

This ability to focus on one aspect of your game and develop it until you excel at it is what your niche is, and this is how you can make yourself stand out from the other players on the court. Maybe you like to make twenty-foot jumpers, trap on defense or love to pass. Work on the aspect of your game that you really love to make it your special niche.

Team Needs
Another way you can develop your own niche is to figure out what your team needs. Maybe your team needs a player who is able to defend down in the low post or needs a shooter who can knock down three-point shots. If so, dedicate yourself to improving and perfecting this aspect of your game.

You can always talk to your coaches and teammates if you are having a hard time figuring out what your team really needs or filling that role. Allow your coaches to help you with establishing and tracking your goals. That way you will be able to record your progress along the way and also create new goals.

Any player who wants to have more playing time, shouldn’t hesitate in asking the coach what he should do to earn time on the court. Listen to what your coaches tell you and follow their advice on what you can do to help your team.

The Off-Season: Make good use of it
Use your off-season workouts for discovering your niche and developing it. Find that aspect of your game that you are most passionate about or best at. Then work on improving it. For example, maybe you have a quick stroke, excellent speed or great height. Take full advantage of your asset and center your game around it.

The off-season is a fantastic time for combining scrimmages and practice time. An effective workout program in the off-season emphasizes strength training, conditioning and honing the skills you most want to improve. One great technique for building your skills is to practice a specific aspect of your game in the morning and then taking what you’ve worked on in practice out to the floor for games in the afternoon.

Become An All-Star
Another important aspect of improving your game is to work on your weaknesses. However, a player that has one area that he excels in will give the opposing coach fits when he enters the game. Concentrate on what your strengths are until you are dominant. Then over time, you can develop your abilities overall on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court.