Alan Stein’s “Great Players”

AlanHere is an awesome list compiled by Alan Stein who is one of the most respected teachers of the game in the entire country:

  • Great players… can pivot both ways off of either foot and can dribble, pass, and finish around the basket with either hand. They don’t have a ‘weak’ hand.
  • Great players… love and respect the game of basketball. They don’t play for money or fame; they play for love.
  • Great players… are unselfish passers. They hit open teammates. They know the goal is to get THE best shot; not THEIR best shot.
  • Great players… don’t commit stupid fouls.  They know their greatness is eliminated if they are on the bench in foul trouble.
  • Great players… are students of the game. They watch film. They study opponents. They study themselves.
  • Great players… value every possession.  They aren’t careless with ball.  They make smart passes and take high percentage shots.
  • Great players… don’t wait for the workout or practice or game to start… they prepare for it! They prepare mentally and physically.
  • Great players… are super competitive. They hate losing more than they enjoy winning. They compete in everything they do!
  • Great players… always know the time and score. They know how many time-outs they have as well as who is in foul trouble on both teams.
  • Great players… log the game in the mind. At any point in time, they can tell you exactly what happened, on both ends of the floor, the last 3 possessions.
  • Great players… are assertive with the ball, welcome contact when driving to the cup, and get to the free throw line.
  • Great players… immediately think ‘Next Play.’  They don’t dwell on mistakes (missed shot or TO)… they make up for it on the other end.
  • Great players… make plays, not excuses. They don’t care if the refs suck, if the floor is slippery, or if they have a cold. They get it done.
  • Great players… are the first ones in the gym… and the last ones to leave EVERY day.
  • Great players… don’t worry about getting exposure.  They focus more on never getting exposed!
  • Great players… elevate their teammates to become great players too!
  • Great players… know that their legacy will be judged on their ability to win championships.
  • Great players… would rather play ball than anything else.  They truly love to play.
  • Great players… are well rounded and have a complete game.  They can ‘hurt’ you in a variety of ways.
  • Great players… are top notch communicators.  They talk with a presence on both ends of the floor.
  • Great players… want the ball in their hands when the game is on the line because they know they have put in the work to DESERVE success.
  • Great players… train with a purpose. Their workouts are focused, intense, and progressive.  Nothing they do on the court is casual.
  • Great players… give back to their program and are humble and grateful for what basketball has done for them.
  • Great players… are responsible for tone and effort of the entire team… every workout, practice, and game.
  • Great players… are always thinking two plays ahead.
  • Great players… hold themselves, their teammates, and their coaches accountable. They believe in collective responsibility.
  • Great players… play in straight lines and sharp angles. They make hard basket cuts and set solid screens.
  • Great players… love playing and competing against other great players.
  • Great players… know that no detail is too small and that the smallest of details can make them even better.
  • Great players…have high values. They value their teammates, winning, and self improvement.
  • Great players… are never content and never complacent.

How many of these traits do you have?



One thought on “Alan Stein’s “Great Players”

  1. Derek Brown

    Alan, I don’t know if you could craft a better checklist than this one my man. On the court skills, work ethic, off the court attitude and leadership are all covered here and will be something I share to the youth I coach. Thank you for this!


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