At seasons end it’s time to think a bit forward. Blossoms are blooming and for most ballers the regular season is over. Champions have been crowned in the local leagues and even the mighty Spurs have “Gone Fishing”. If you’re not been part of some sort of playoff series then it’s very likely that you’re been sidelined… and wish otherwise.

With this motivation, it’s time to reflect on your progression as a basketball player and where you’d like to be next year. Good basketball programs will provide you with formal player feedback sessions at seasons end.  If you’re program doesn’t do this, ask your coach to do so. They will do this gladly, perhaps informally and only verbally, and ideally by writing something down. This is feedback for you as a basketball player, an analysis of your game and your first step in getting better for next season.

 

What you’re looking for is a report card of your basketball game. What you do well and more importantly what are you can improve. Generally this report will be broken up sections that are rated or graded. No player gets a perfect score so there’s always something for you to work on. Typical categories are…

  • Ball Handling
  • Passing
  • Free Throw Shooting
  • Shooting (2 point)
  • Shooting (3 point)
  • Rebounding – Offensive
  • Rebounding – Defensive
  • Defense
  • Jumping Ability
  • Ability to Finish
  • Use of Weak Hand
  • Attitude and Concentration
  • Work Ethic
  • Team Orientation
  • Leadership
  • Commitment
  • Fitness

 

Now here’s my top hint to you. Accept these comments. You may not agree with them (especially the negative ones) but these comments are pure gold and your first step to becoming a better basketball player. Take this feedback seriously, and accept the feedback humbly. The sound of swished twine may echo’s in your ears… but now is the time to listen. If you don’t understand your coach’s point, quietly ask for examples and more clarification. Then ask for a drill that you can do to improve this area. The point is not to fight this, but work with it and use to to improve your basketball game.

 

 

For summer season it’s important to get out and play. If you’re under 18 and serious about basketball you should be looking for a summer basketball camp. It’s not uncommon for developing players to attend multiple camps over a summer. If you’re not in the gym then the guy who replaces you will be. Investigate the offerings around your location and get to a camp. The best one that I know of in the Netherlands is offered by Mario Bennes, a former professional player in the Dutch NBL. Here’s his website.

http://www.mariobennes.com/

 

 

 

Summer basketball can also mean 3×3 basketball and summer basketball leagues. Get your buddies together and enter a tournament. Win or get your but kicked it’s a great way to spend a summer afternoon. If you’re looking to maintain or increase conditioning it’s also fun to experience other sports. Running, tennis and CrossFit are my recommendations. Make sure to include a strength-training component to your summer program. This is a must for basketball players at all levels of play.

Increasing professional basketball players hire a personal coach during the off-season. The most revered in today’s game is Idan “Crouton” Ravin the current guru of basketball elite. He describes his services, as “I’m a trainer, a friend, a mentor, a therapist, an advisor, all of the above,” and tells his story in his book “The Hoops Whisperer”. This basketball guru works with the likes of “Chris Paul, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, James Harden, Dwight Howard, and many more”… a virtual who’s who of today’s NBA elite.

For serious aspiring aspiring players it can be difficult to find a basketball guru, so if you’re lucky enough to find one: treat them nicely! Old professional players or a friendly coaches are good sources for advice. We work for food and pocket change. I’ve been thinking of calling myself “The Basketball Buddha” for gigs of this nature.

For recreational players a personal trainer or a committed workout buddy will suffice. Find someone you trust to challenge, inspire and push you. Make a plan to improve (write it down), commit to it and get better during the off-season; it’s that easy and it’s that hard. This is a massive opportunity and available for this summer only, so seize your basketball dreams this summer. The work, sweat and sacrifice will make the next season the very best yet.

Here’s a bit of inspiration about this years NBA MVP, Stephen Curry. “Success is Not An Accident”

 
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