Parents always ask me how I became a professional or what I did when I was young to become a great player. To me the answer is easier said than done, especially for this present crop of young basketball players. You must take advantage of the time you are given and direct that positively towards your basketball skill work and preparation. Most kids play multiple sports growing up, but that doesn’t mean you should ever stop the sport entirely until the following season. Parents and kids are concerned about being great at everything so they put 110% of their time, energy and money into the sport of the season. In the mean time the sport(s) they aren’t playing or practicing fall back to mediocrity or the same levels as they were before. Kids must realize that they have to practice their sport year round.
Kids must be honest with themselves and allow themselves not to slack. When you have free time, what do you spend it on? Do you play video games, hang out with friends, and sleep all day? These are valid questions that a kid needs to be honest with themselves about when answering. Now I’m not saying you can’t be a kid and do fun things. What I’m saying is that you have to establish a balance of being a kid and take advantage of the time you are given. This theory also correlates to my first ever blog post on VigliancoHoops about being different. You have to be able to put down the controller or phone and work on your game when others won’t. I’m not saying practice basketball 100% of the time, because you need to be a kid and take a mental/physical break at times. What I’m suggesting is finding a balance of 70/30. Spend 70% of your time working out for basketball and 30% on the computer/phone/xbox. I know this doesn’t sound fun and doesn’t sound fair, but to be a top level basketball player it’s not all fun and games. If it was that easy to be an all-state basketball player or college basketball player everyone would be doing it. It’s ok to sacrifice your fun time for hard work on the basketball court.
Kids need to develop time management skills early in life to be able to stay ahead of the competition. If you know you have 10 hours of free time on the weekend you should manage that wisely to get an adequate amount of hours of basketball training in. If you are truly putting the work in, you should know how much time needs to be devoted to training per weekend/week. Don’t waste days and weeks doing nothing! As hard as it is to believe, the majority of professional athletes didn’t get to where they are in life by working out once a week or only working during their particular season. Professional athletes took advantage of the time they were given and sacrificed things in life to become the best. It’s all about changing a culture and a society in 2014 that is stuck on instant gratification. Kids must put in the work and take advantage of all the time they are given!