The ability to concentrate and listen is a skill set that is underrated and undervalued. As coaches, we consistently find that the most skilled players that we work with are the players who have the ability to concentrate and listen to the feedback that is given to them and immediately put that information into action. These players pay attention and are the “sponges” of basketball knowledge.
How does the ability to concentrate and listen translate to skill development? From a coaches perspective, it's the #1 intangible skill to being able to progress to the next level competitively.
The players who stagnate in their improvement usually have to be told the same things over and over again. If you have been working on a skill set for a couple weeks and you keep hearing the same words from your coach and you haven’t progressed to the next step or move, you should be honestly assessing yourself and your listening skills. The players who make it to the next level competitively, they are hungry for knowledge. Their body language when coaching them is very different than the player who is just “going through the motions”. The player who is actively listening, they have great eye contact and the amount of information that can be introduce to them is phenomenal in comparison to the player who is just “showing up”. If you are a player who is just “showing up”, you are treading water. At some point players will start passing you and coaches will get exhausted with coaching you. If you want to play competitive Division 1 basketball, you have to be able to concentrate when your coach is speaking and translate that information into action right away. The players who can’t concentrate for 2 hours (a typical Division 1 practice) will not play. Your coach will not be able to trust that you can execute in a live competitive situation with the game on the line if you cannot demonstrate that you are a good listener. Master the skill of concentrating and actively listening during a clinic or practice and you will have a coach who is very engaged with your development.