My last blog entry was the first of a three-part series on pre-season training and gave a solid overview of what players and teams should be doing to get ready for the season. This post will serve as checklist to gauge how well you are preparing. Most schools have been in session for a couple of weeks and most programs have already started their pre-season workouts. So now is the perfect time to take inventory and evaluate.
Here are 12 questions to see if you are really on the right path. Questions to see if you are doing everything you can to not only make the team, but to earn some serious playing time, and have a championship caliber year.
- Are you on top of your school work? If not, you aren’t going to be able to play, so you might want to take care of this ASAP. Once the season starts, time management will be crucial in making sure you don’t fall behind academically. Start strong!
- Are you getting 8-10 hours of sleep every night? Sleep is when your body grows! You will never be able to perform up to your potential if you aren’t well-rested. Intense pre-season training is extremely taxing on your body; so make sure you get your rest.
- Are you eating breakfast every day? Are you starting your day off by refueling your “machine?” There is no way you can give 100% for an entire workout if you are running on fumes. Pancakes, waffles, bagels, cereal, oatmeal, and fruit are high-energy foods and a great way to start your day.
- Are you drinking enough water? Your performance will decrease severely with the slightest bit of dehydration. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to start drinking water… sip all day long. If you want to maximize your pre-season workouts, you must be hydrated.
- Are you tending to any nagging injuries or soreness? If you are having issues with your knees or back… are you doing anything about it? In most cases, ice is your best friend. If something is sore, ice it down! If pain persists, make sure you go see a doctor or physical therapist for a professional diagnosis. Do not wait until the season to do this… it needs to be addressed now! Don’t let something “little” in the pre-season have an effect on your season.
- Are you making 200-500 (extra) shots a day? And I am not referring to “social shooting” or just going through the motions. I mean “game shots, from game spots, at game speed.” Are you doing this above and beyond your pre-season workouts? How about your ball handling? Repetition is not punishment; it is the only way to get better! Also, noticed I said “make”; not “take” 200-500 shots a day. The name of the game is making shots!
- Are you on a structured workout program? Are you participating in a structure, organized, progressive program to work on your strength, power, quickness, agility, reaction, and basketball conditioning level? Is it safe? Time efficient? Productive?
- Do you get to every workout on time? Better yet, do you get there early? If you are only “on time” – you are late! You wouldn’t show up to a game 2 minutes before tip-off, would you?
- Are you an energy giver at every workout? Is your enthusiasm contagious? Do you hype up your teammates? Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.
- Are you a team leader? Do you step up to the front of the line for every drill and every sprint? Do you run hard or push for that extra rep in the weight room, regardless of whether or not the coach is watching?
- Are you comfortable being uncomfortable? Do you play it safe each workout or do you give it everything you’ve got? Do you push yourself to the edge of the proverbial cliff every time? Do you work on your weaknesses?
- Have you met with your coach for his/her evaluation? Have you formally sat down with your coach to ask what things you need to work on to earn time this year? Or to be the best player you can be? Or what he/she envisions your roll to be when the season starts? Coaches, have you done this with each of your players?
If you can’t answer “YES” to all of these questions, then you aren’t doing everything you can to prepare for the season. It doesn’t matter if you are going to be on the end of the bench on the JV team or a pre-season All-American… you need to do the little things every day to reach your potential. If you can’t answer “YES” to all of these questions, then you aren’t doing everything you can to be the best player you can be, to get noticed by coaches at the next level, and to earn playing time.
“Success always looks easy to those who weren’t around when it was being earned.”
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Train hard. Train smart.