14 LAWS OF SUMMER BASKETBALL
Here is my 14 Laws for all youth basketball players headed out on the AAU trail.
1-Preparation: Did you get 7-8 hours sleep or did you hang out late the night before a game or a practice? Did you eat a healthy breakfast? Visualize playing well. Listen to uplifting music. Remember your gear; socks, shoes, shirts, jersey, etc. Arrive early to the gym if possible. Get your ankles taped if there is a trainer on site. What will you do if your ride doesn’t show up? Don’t be late! Remember the 5 P’s…Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
2-Personality: Do you say ‘hi’ to people before and after games? Your character is important. How you treat people is an indication of what type of person you are. No one likes to be around a jerk. Say hello to a coach if you happen to pass them. be cordial to the referees.
3-Respect All: Everywhere you go, you need to respect people. Fans, coaches, opposing players, trainers and officials. Treat the people who run the event with respect. Most of all, respect the game!
4-Bathroom Behavior: Don’t laugh. It’s amazing how many times I walk into a bathroom at an event and see a mess. In the sink, toilet and on the floor. Keep the restrooms clean.
5-Hallway Behavior: Often times you are required to walk from gym to gym for your games. You may even have to play in a different venue across town. Be careful how you act. Toss your empty paper cups and Gatorade bottles in the trash can. Watch your language. Be careful how you talk about the opponent, your coach, a ref, or even a teammate. You never know who’s walking behind you.
6-In the Community: You may be staying at a hotel, in a college dorm or you may be eating at a local restaurant during your stay. You want people to enjoy your company. The team name on the front of your shirt will give you away. You want people to say good things about your team or organization. Act civilized in public.
7-Game Time: Play hard, play with energy, share the ball, defend, attack the rim, rebound and be a great teammate. It all begins with an inspired warm-up before the start of the game. Get in a right frame of mind. Make sure you are working on your dribbling, passing and your lay-ups in warm-ups Work on shots you will take in the game. If your outside jumper is off, take the ball to the basket. Dive on a loose ball!
8-Bench Behavior: You can’t be out on the floor the entire game. So while on the bench, be a great teammate. Cheer your guys on, sit up straight and pay close attention to the game and to your coach. Don’t whine at the end of the bench with a towel over your head. Keep your focus during the game. Be a coach to the younger players on your team. Don’t get angry when the coach takes you out of the game.
9-Sprint, Sprint, Sprint: I’m not talking about your cell phone provider. Stop all this jogging up and down the court. You need to sprint the floor while you’re out there playing. Run your lanes hard. Sprint back on defense! No jogging allowed.
10-Communicate: Know when your games, practices and workouts are scheduled. Let your teammates know where your next game is being held. Stay in contact with your coach. Know what time you are leaving the hotel/dorm for your game or even what time you are leaving your hometown for the game. Listen with your eyes and ears. Communicate on the floor. Talk on defense!
11-Between Games: Instead of sitting on the side like everyone else, find an open basket to get up some shots. Too many players sit around and waste time. Don’t sleep on the floor before your next game. Get a basketball and work on your dribbling? Stretch your body to stay loose. Drink water and eat a healthy snack. Stay in a cool area, don’t spend too much time in the sun. Get mentally prepared for the next game.
12-Confidence: Enjoy the trip wherever it may be. Know that you belong, believe in yourself. If you have a poor game, bounce back and be ready to go the next one. Let the bad game go, get over it quickly. Never lose your confidence, it allows you to perform to your best ability. Shoot the ball with confidence.
13-Work Ethic: Do everything in your power to improve. Don’t let the days slip by where you don’t work on one aspect of your game. Make the time to run, lift weights, and get up some shots. Take your basketball and dribble up and down the street, your driveway or anywhere you can dribble. You need to do something every day to get better. Ask your coach what you need to work on.
14-Parents: Make sure to inform your parents to behave at your games. Last thing you want is your parents screaming at the refs or your coach. Many officials working the team camp or AAU games are young and they are there to improve. Hopefully your parents do not scream at your coach before, during or after games. A college coach will not want to recruit you if your parents are out of control. Believe me, they take this into consideration during the recruiting process.