It's once again that time of the year when the season comes to an end and preparations for the off-season begin. An abundance of questions will arise and coaches and players will be left thinking what they can do to be better this off season.
First things first, lets go over some common misconceptions involving off-season training, followed by helpful hints for players and coaches during the summer.
SHOULD PLAYERS TRAIN ALL, DAY EVERYDAY?
A common mistake coaches preach to players is that they should spend every ounce of free time they have on the court. Don't get me wrong, players should spend a lot of time practicing but this should be time they choose to spend. If parents and coaches have to force players to train or practice, they likely don't want to be there in the first place. It's a good chance they won't be utilizing this court time efficiently and in the end aren't progressing the way they should.
BASKETBALL IS A BUSINESS SO TREAT IT THAT WAY...
Treating basketball like a job is the worst thing you can do at any level, even the professional level. This may sound crazy but if you've played at every level like myself, you know this to be true. When coaches or parents start talking about basketball with kids in this way it's literally the beginning to the end of their careers. This doesn't mean that coaches shouldn't teach being professional and business-like in their behavior, but they must be able to balance this based on the maturity and level of each individual player.
Most young players aren't mentally able to distinguish the two and manage both business and basketball. Making the game "job like" will ultimately change basketball from a fun game to required work. Remember, adults hate tedious required work and kids hate it even more.
Kids want to have fun when they're practicing and playing basketball. They want to learn and grow through positive experiences. This doesn't mean basketball won't be hard or there won't be lows. It just means make it fun as often as possible and the results will come.
FOCUS ON BASKETBALL AND NOTHING ELSE
Another common mistake to make is not allowing kids to play other sports during the off-season. I often times here parents say that kids will get left behind if they play other sports and will never be a great player if they do so. It's the parents and coaches jobs to make sure the player is practicing and training efficiently when they do step on the court. If this happens the player will noticeably progress in their skill development. This also leaves enough time for kids to explore other sports and things they may want to be involved with.
There are plenty of multi-sport kids that excel in more than one sport during their high school and even college years. There are many skills in soccer, football, track and other sports that translate directly to basketball. Many NBA players today got their start in other sports and didn't pick up basketball until their teenage years. Never take the opportunity away from a kid to play another sport with their friends or to try something new that they want to do!
WHAT SHOULD OFF-SEASON TRAINING LOOK LIKE
My personal recommendation in regards to the off-season are as follows: First, allow your kids to try other sports especially when they are in their younger years. This will help you figure out what sport they actually enjoy playing and what they may be naturally built for.
Second, do not force any sport on any kid. They won't have fun and will never meet your unreasonable expectations as a parent. Third, when seeking out training for a particular sport, make sure the coach or trainer is focused on maximizing the players time on the court and can get the most out of the player while still having fun doing it.
Lastly, give your kid a chance to have time and energy to simply go to the park and play whatever sport it may be with friends in whatever competitive way they want. This is where the love of the game and sports start and these positive feelings will stick with a player all the way throughout their career.
At the end of the day it's important for coaches and parents to understand that trying to live their dreams or failed experiences through the player never works. This usually takes away from what the young athlete potentially could be. Be sure to allow your young athlete to create their own story and always make sure to be happy for them through their success and failures. If you do so then you'll give your child or player the chance to be the best version of themselves in the long run!
For more insights on how to help your players grow on the basketball court be sure to subscribe to our YouTube and also our blog. Most importantly though, always remember to train hard, train smart and train with a purpose!