Scared of Your Basketball Dream?
Great rewards are proceeded by great adversity.
In order to chase the dream of playing college basketball hopeful prospects must see beyond the rare full ride (Part 1), crunch numbers in order to package themselves utilizing as many resources as possible (Part 2 Numbers Game), and then work through (Part 3 The Process) the maze that is the recruiting process with a careful diligently planned attack. Part 4 of this seven part series deals with developing the confidence, perseverance and the commitment to go “all in” to fulfill the dream.
If it is your basketball dream, go all in!
College basketball is a year round commitment. In a Varsityedge.com article Myths and Realities of College Athletics and Recruiting this level of commitment is discussed; “Playing college athletics is an unbelievable commitment in time and in dedication and will be nowhere close to your high school experience. In college you will play or practice for 3 seasons, in the fall, winter and in the spring, and be required to do lifting and running programs as well. You may also be practicing at 6AM or Midnight or twice a day depending what facilities are available at your school.”
If recruits are lucky enough to earn a spot on a college roster, programs then expect them to address their game on a regular basis. The phrase “there is no off-season” becomes reality.
Before one can live this reality, they must get there. And in order to get there, recruits will need to dedicate themselves to the game of basketball year round taking advantage of the many people and resources available to them. Most importantly they will need to be prepared for adversity, set-backs and have the courage and due diligence to see the process through and the commitment to always try to get better. Are your individual workouts in the gym and weight room both intense and scientific? Are you focused on basketball nutrition and have a quality recovery and sleep plan in place as well?
One way to get better is to seek out and use a basketball trainer. An example of a great resource for improving your game is Austin, Texas based Austin Youth Basketball. Austin Youth Basketball is growing rapidly and has impacted thousands of Austin basketball players. Look at a recent basketball trainer job description in order to better understand the criteria you should be looking for in a partner for your success.
“The BasketballTrainer.com team is comprised of former college & pro players and coaches focused on the needs of American youth basketball players. We believe that the basketball culture of America often has it’s heart in the right place but that we [coaches, trainers, parents] have strayed from teaching and sharing the foundations of the game that help kids to excel on and off the court.” According to founder Austin Youth Basketball and BasketballTrainer.com Founder Chris Corbett, who has over 20 years of experience in basketball training, “90% of our focus here is on year round personalized basketball skills training.” College basketball dreams require an edge in working harder AND smarter. A qualified basketball trainer can help. Click here to find a qualified basketball trainer.
Players have a hard time making a college roster if they don’t work on their game year round and seek out individual attention to improve upon and hone their skills. On the flip side, players now a days all too easily pick up bad habits while shelling out big bucks on AAU, travel teams and showcase leagues. If they aren’t spending too much money playing organized ball because they don’t have the resources, young players also fall victim to 5-vs-5 pick-up games where they are hosting up NBA threes, throwing around the back no-look passes and cherry picking on defense for run out fast breaks. Similar to education, these bad habits when practiced on a regular basis when your young, become hard to break when it counts, looking for a significant scholarship and college roster to join. Players no-longer feel that they need to work on their game and instead, work on finding the easiest way to gain the most exposure by playing as many games as possible. In a July 28, 2011 blog posted by Marcus Bray, a club coach states that “Putting in the work to improve as a basketball player has become ‘not sexy enough’ for most young players. What I mean by this is that players today would rather travel to tournaments and play basketball games than put in the time and effort to improve their basketball skills.”
The problem is that if a prospect is lucky enough to get on a college roster, College coaches actually PREFER and require that their players to go through individual workouts.
Visiting the Basketballhq.com site, we see from Mercer University (Atlanta, GA), that college programs stress the need and value of the individual work. In regards to their Individual Basketball Skill Development Philosophy, Assistant Coach Doug Esleeck explains in a basketballhq.com entry that “One of the most important aspects of our program under [Head] Coach Hoffman at Mercer University has been individual development. We work our guys hard day in and day out on the basketball fundamentals of the game. This develops our players’ skills, improves their confidence, and instills a work ethic that has led to a culture in which players value individual development. This, in turn, produces players who work on their game on their own, and as these players see success it has encouraged our entire team to spend time in the gym outside of practice.”
College Coaches could care less if you play 5 vs. 5 outside of the season. They’re more concerned that you are getting enough reps on your shot, ball handling, and position specific stuff (post or perimeter) as well as addressing your strength and conditioning then how you did in the local organized summer league game. They want their players to address their weaknesses and build off their current strengths. This isn’t going to happen in a two hour league game. Players simply won’t get enough touches with the ball and when they do, they won’t be doing program specific stuff. From a college program perspective, it is more efficient to have small groups of no more than four players, working for no longer than an hour on the court and then another hour on their body in an effort to get bigger, stronger and faster to prepare for a game which now demands so much of your body and mind.
You are your chief sales and marketing officer
While AAU, showcases, recruiting agencies, coaches, parents and basketball trainers can help you “sell” yourself to college recruiters, you are ultimately the chief sales and marketing officer for your future as a college player. Do not wait to be chosen. Choose yourself! Putting aside self doubt and overcoming your fears are critical at this phase.
One unique option out there that strives to help high school age kids navigate through the college maze is The Sport Source.com – they are not a recruiting agency but instead a guide for recruits and parents. As put in simple and direct terms, “Our goal has remained the same – to ensure all kids who can make it in college make it to college. Making a smooth transition from high school to college is what we are all about. Though we can’t guarantee everyone will receive a full athletic scholarship, we can promise that if you are honest with your abilities, you will find the right opportunity to make your dream a reality.” So much time, effort and organization goes into finding the perfect fit for players dreaming to play college ball. The Sport Source provides direction, advising, options and will give kids choices from a network of 5800 colleges in the US and Canada and over 30,000 Coaches looking for the diamond in the rough.
As discussed in Part 2: The Numbers Game, recruits that display not only athletics but academic ability are attractive to college recruiters. Prospects must continue to work on their grades, take College Prep courses, focus on SAT-ACT tests, write strong essays. NCAA sports are an incredible experience but as the famous commercial states, “There are more than 400,000 NCAA student-athletes, and most of them go pro in something other than sports.”
Stay tuned for more info on your marketing plan and communication with colleges!
Expanding your contacts into colleges and coaches
Resources such as basketballtrainer.com, BasketballHQ.com, and The Sport Source will help you become more attractive to college coaches and once you have built your body and organized a way to present yourself go forth and build an “A” list of where do you want to be. Remember, you want exposure, not to get exposed. Work on your skills, build your team up, and then worry about marketing.
Careful planning, utilizing the RIGHT resources and then carefully weighing all your options will help you to get through THE PROCESS on top!