• Kevin and Brenita Jackson

The 5 Phases of Player Development

Updated: Jun 4, 2019

Sports are a great avenue for children and youth to explore and grow in their physical, mental and social development. The 5 development phases player development will highlight a process which can empower people to understand their team better.

We have enjoyed playing and coaching sports for years. Over time, have recognized that some people are in different phases than others but are not aware. We have even realized that our level of commitment and competitive drive was developed later on in our careers. Once reaching the elite status, it is hard to go back and play with players that are not committed to winning. You have a hard time connecting with those that are not as competitive as you. This breakdown of the 5 phases of player development through sport is our theory and could help bring some understanding to conflict within a team. Read this blog and let us know what phase you are in and if you ever played with someone in a different phase than you. How did you handle it and did it cause any issues?


The competitive world of sports has advanced and the development of players who desire to Play College Athletics is starting at a younger age than it did ten years ago.  If a player wants to play at the College Level or Professionally, the development is starting at a much younger age.  Parents and families are INVESTED when Playing at the College or Professional Levels are the END GOAL prior to entering middle school.

This decision is strategically planned so that the player is in the right environment for the optimal success.

When you have the END GOAL to play at an Elite level, you begin to make intentional decisions about training.  You invest in going to events where you can gain highly competitive experience and gain exposure to scouts and recruiters.

The high level of confidence we see develop in the Elite phase comes with experience and repetition of the craft.  Players at this level view it as a necessity to win.

There are some that play at a Competitive level and are very intentional about their technical and tactical training which includes film study. We see this level of development when players take initiative to get better and improve.

Players who have sparked a passion for the game they play will be willing to put in the time and effort it takes to develop physically and mentally.  That passion is what draws them in to the Commitment to get to all practices, weight lifting and conditioning.  In this phase, players are willing to sacrifice and forego other activities because their passion for the sport is attractive and they want to get better.

When players have not reached this level of commitment, they may just be interested in the sport. There is nothing wrong with be interested in a sport and playing recreational sports or intramural sports.  This type of play is for those who truly enjoy just playing for fun.  There is a great amount of interested players who truly enjoy playing but have no desire to get serious about competing at a high level.  It is important to identify the difference between Interest and commitment, because it can cause frustrations for players, teammates and coaches when some parties are committed to development and others are not.

The beginning of the process can be at any age and typically players will find out pretty soon if they have an interest in learning more about the sport.  Some take a liking to it almost immediately and some don't understand it, but in due time - seem to pick up interest in the sport.  The Introduction of a sport can take any amount of time for players to learn the rules and basic skills necessary to play.

What phase of the development process are you in?  Do you desire to reach the elite level of performance in your sport but lack commitment, passion or competitiveness?  Perhaps training and repetition is the missing piece to you developing further.  Research your sport, take initiative and ask your coach for more resources and help with growing.  

Your development is a process and takes time, dedication and focus to BE ELITE.

Thank you for reading and don't forget to share this with somebody.  #KBJAcademy #BeElite #PlayCollegeBasketball

For Daily Motivation

© 2020 by KBJ Academy