You were born with 2 ears and 1 mouth. Coincidence? I think not. Unfortunately, so many players don’t operate with the right ratio. It’s often 1:2 and they end up talking way more than they listen. There is a big difference between hearing, (in one ear and out the other) and actively listening and absorbing what you hear.  

Listen to yourself.

Listen to your trainer.

Listen to your coach.

Listen to people who have the success you want.

Listen to podcasts, audiobooks, and music that causes you to take action towards being the person and player you want to be.

One of the biggest opportunities for you as a basketball player at any age is to learn how to ask intelligent questions. Your ability to ask specific questions and get information will sky rocket your game. Listening is an active sport and the better your questions combined with good eye contact, posture, and focus, the more results you’ll see. As you know, this article along with the others are designed to assist you in taking action. Put being an incredible listener at the top of your list for skills to acquire and then implement the new knowledge you now have.

Listening to yourself is so underrated and not talked about enough. You have instincts, DNA, specific brain wiring, unique experiences, and no one else is you. So listening to your “gut” or trusting your instincts is a must. You already know what needs to be done, you’ve just got to give yourself permission. Listen to your heart, block out the noise, and learn to stay in tune with your instincts. You are you and that is your power.

Listening to your trainer is paramount for your success. One thing I love to get from players is a little push back and some thoughtful questions. It lets me know that the player is engaged and has some fire. I want players to think the game and understand- so how is that accomplished? It’s accomplished through asking your trainer questions. And when you hear the answer, you apply it immediately. Your trainer has a unique perspective and knows where you are currently and also what you’re capable of, so getting their feedback and listening intently is the right move.  

Who Should I Hire? A Coach or a Basketball Trainer?

Listening to your coach is necessary and smart. Who controls your playing time? Your coach does, you are correct. So besides the necessity of needing to listen to your coach, why else? Your coach has an entirely different viewpoint and perspective than you. There are great coaches and there are some not so great coaches but no matter how you feel about your coach, there is something to learn. Ask, what can we do as a team to get better? Ask, how you can improve? If I did this… (insert an idea you have) how do you think that would help the team? Get creative and come up with questions for your coach and create dialogue. These questions help create a relationship between you and your coach and develops trust. This gives you the opportunity to win more games, have more fun, and support your coach and teammates.

Listening to the people who have the success you want is the most surefire way for you to achieve as well. Who you surround yourself with, you will ultimately become. When you surround yourself with the next level of basketball players, you will become that next level player. If you’re a senior in high school and you’re working out with college players and professional players, then where do you think you’ll end up? Exactly, at the next level you’re aiming for. Asking questions to pros and former pros when you’re in college is a must. If that’s where you want to be, listen to their advice, and learn from their mistakes. Listening to the people that have done it gives you the opportunity to learn the tried and true actions they took, that gave them success.

Listening to podcast, audiobooks, and uplifting music, is a fantastic way to continue to learn and grow as a person. Your mind is a powerful tool to say the least and the more you’re able to learn new information the more you’ll continue to develop your game. This doesn’t just have to be basketball related, but anything you’re interested in and causes your brain to activate. Garbage in garbage out is what one of my mentors told me often. The more thought provoking, decision improving, and brain growing information we can give ourselves the better.


“We’re only limited by our own imagination and hard work.” -Mark Hughes

Stay Relentless. Play The Optimum Way.

Article by Brandon Cochran

Co-Founder Optimum Basketball


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