One of the absolute joys I am having as an assistant coach at UCF is to be able to daily discuss basketball with our Associate Head Coach Greg Brown. As I've mentioned before, Greg has a great mind and certainly a great pedigree having worked for Don Meyer and Pat Summitt.
One of the things that we were discussing today were the roles of our players. And has been the case, we were able to branch off and discuss philosophy.
Some of our thoughts were that it was impossible for your team to perform at their maximum ability unless you define those roles to each player. I believe it is imperative that you sit players down individually and discuss their roles with them on more than one occasion during the season. Don't just tell them what their role entails -- tell them why that is their role and, more importantly, explain why it will help your team succeed. If they are interested in an expanded role, talk to them about the means they must take to grow their game so that they can have a bigger role. Give them a game plan so that they can do more, but make sure they understand that they must put in the work and demonstrate on a consistent basis in practice.
And the other thing that it very important is that ALL players have roles. Media or coaches that call a player "a role player" can make that sound somewhat demeaning. Every player on your team has a role. Each role is important to the success of your team. All roles overlap each other and are reliant on each other if a "team" is to perform at their highest level.
A shooter has a role just as a screener or a passer. The role of the shooter is to work hard to get open...run the floor and spot up...execute cuts off of a screen...hands ready to shoot. If player's role is to shoot and you pass up a good shot, a player is failing as a role player just the screener who doesn't feel like screening.
Another important thing for a coach to do is add value to each role and make sure each player knows why that role is important. I keep coming back to "why." It's an important part of coaching today. Along these lines I believe it is not only important that each player know their own role but those of their teammates.
And finally, role development is a daily job. It requires maintenance in practice, in the film room and in team meetings. You must never allow a player to veer from what her role is defined.