Many players think that they are soaking up all the information they hear at practice or during training. The reality is that the majority of players are simple “Hearing” instead of “Listening”. This tiny change in habit could be the change between becoming a great player and one who is easily forgotten.
Definition of hearing: The faculty of perceiving sounds.
So hearing is not synthesizing and processing what you hear. Many players hear a coach speak but are thinking about other things. Previous plays, getting water, and zoning out are all things player do while hearing.
Definition of Listening: Give one’s attention to a sound.
The key word is attention, it is the difference between receiving vital information that a coach has relayed. Countless times I have given instructions in a huddle, only to have a player go directly onto the floor and do the opposite. Most of the time those players do not see the floor in crunch time. Many people believe that a player get their playing time strictly on ability but I (and most coaches I know) always have players that create their own time by listening instead of hearing. Mastering this key concept is vital if you want to become a dependable player. The game of basketball is flooded with information that you have to hear/see and interoperate in split seconds. If you are too busy to listen you may miss something that can drastically change the game.
Listening is one of the few traits that every player is capable of, but is surprising how many do not.