April, June and July are three big months for high school basketball players.
Tournaments, spring and summer leagues, team camps, open gyms and individual workouts will all take place.
These three months are important to your future.
Here are my 14 Suggestions for Travel Basketball. (This is a revision of an original entry)
1-Preparation: Did you get 7-8 hours sleep or did you hang out late the night before a game or 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 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!
2-Personality: Do you say ‘hi’ to people at team camps, before and after games? The college that is hosting the event usually has their staff around and there will also be coaches from other schools in attendance evaluating players; Juco, NAIA, D-2 and D-3. Make sure to say hi to the officials too. Coaches like an outgoing, friendly player. 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.
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 in the summer 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 go across campus to a different venue to play. 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’ll be at a hotel, dorm or a local restaurant during your stay. You want people to enjoy your company. The team name on your shirt will give you away. You want people to say good things about your school or organization. Act civilized.
7-Game Time: Play hard, play with energy, share the ball, defend, 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. (The same can said for half-time)
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 attention. Don’t whine at the end of the bench with a towel over your head. Keep your head in the game. Be a coach to the younger players on your team.
9-Sprint, Sprint, Sprint: I’m not talking about your cell phone provider. Stop all this jogging on the court. You need to sprint the floor while you’re out on the court. Run your lanes hard. Hustle back on defense.
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 school for the game. Listen with your eyes and ears. Communicate on the floor too. 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. Get a basketball and work on your dribbling? Stretch to stay loose. Drink water and eat a healthy snack. Stay in a cool area, don’t spend too much time in the sun.
12-Confidence: Enjoy the trip wherever it may be. Know 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.
13-Work Ethic: Do everything in your power to improve. Don’t let too many days slip by where you don’t work on one aspect of your game. Get up out of bed early. Go run, lift weights, or get up some shots. Take your basketball and dribble up and down the street. You need to do something every day to get better.
14-Parents: Make sure to tell your parents to act civilized at your games. Last thing you want is your parents screaming at the refs. Many officials working the team camp games 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 consider this during the recruiting process.
“The summer time is when you improve. The winter time is when you prove it.”
Follow me on Twitter:@CoachFinamore