What is a scholarship? It’s when a college team/institution is paying YOU money to play the game of basketball at their respective school! If you think GETTING a scholarship is easy, you have another thing coming. Over the last several years in the United States one of the biggest crazes has been getting a scholarship and having your college paid for in full or partially. In this article I’ll tackle preparation in the months before basketball season starts and how your priorities should coincide with your scholarship dreams. But first, a few things:
• A scholarship is EARNED, not GIVEN.
• The odds of getting a scholarship are very low: Less than 1% of high school seniors in the United States receive a Division 1 scholarship.
• The odds of getting a scholarship full or partial at a Division 2 institution is better but not by much. Division 2 universities are limited on scholarships, which mean only a hand full of players will get a full ride while many others are on partial scholarship.
I understand many basketball players play fall sports. If you play a fall sport and you love basketball, here are my thoughts:
• If you are going to play a sport give it your ALL. I hate hearing kids say they don’t like a sport but play it anyway.
• Trying NOT to get hurt playing football usually ends up in 1 thing, getting hurt. If you are going to play football, give it your ALL.
• Find time after family, studying and your respective fall sport to work on your basketball game.
• You don’t have a lot of time, make sure your basketball workouts are GAME SPEED, GAME SHOTS and MENTALLY TIRING.
If you are not playing a sport in the fall and basketball is IT, well it’s time to listen. I hate hearing THIS from players, “it’s basketball season and time to get after it”. If you are serious about playing basketball after high school, basketball should never be a 5-7 month thing. It’s a grind that never stops. Yes, there are vacation days with family, holidays with family and sick days, BUT never weeks/months off. YOU know if you are working hard enough on your weaknesses and your overall game.
If the basketball season starts in November/December, how much further ahead can you be than other players that aren’t touching the ball but once a week at the most? How is that logic so hard for players to grasp? IF YOU WORK HARD, SMART AND CONSISTENT ON AND OFF THE BASKETBALL COURT FOR THE MONTHS LEADING UP TO BASKETBALL SEASON, YOU WILL BE MILES AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION. When I was in high school and basketball season STARTED, I was in the best shape on my team. Our football guys were not in basketball shape and others players just didn’t care that much about basketball like I did.
If you are serious about getting a scholarship for basketball and aren’t playing a fall sport, please read the bullet points below. It’s a checklist for staying ahead of the competition and setting yourself up for future success!
• Are you dominating in the classroom? There are no excuses for players not playing a fall sport to not invest heavily in the classroom and get their grades right.
• It’s ok to ask questions in class or to teachers if you need help. To be successful in life you will need help. NOBODY IS PERFECT.
• Putting off homework and test studying that effects your basketball training is immature. If you have a basketball workout on Sunday and a homework assignment due Monday morning, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to make the workout. You knew Friday afternoon of the workout and assignment due. YOU chose to be lazy and put chill time over scholarship time.
• Are your workouts easy? Unless you are shooting hoops with your little brother that’s 5 or parents, you should be busting your butt during a workout!
• Run! Purchase running shoes and fall in love with running a few miles every few days. Remember, to make it in this basketball world you have to be DIFFERENT. I know running isn’t fun, but it helps you get in shape, stay in shape and works on self discipline.
• Lift weights! Lighter weight and more repetitions. Basketball players are meant to be quick and agile. This isn’t football!
• WORK ON YOUR SHOT! The amount of D1 coaches I know that will not recruit a guy because he can’t shoot is overwhelming! GAME SPEED SHOTS!
• I don’t eat breakfast! Enough of the not eating breakfast comments. If YOU want to make it,stop being lazy!
• Know your weaknesses and work on them. There will come a time when a coach/player will expose your weaknesses. Be PROACTIVE and sharpen all areas of your game.
• You can go to parties when you are in college! What’s more important for YOUR life? Partying on the weekends OR staying ahead in the classroom and working on your game.
Earning a scholarship is very hard to accomplish. If at the end of the day you know you did everything in your power on and off the basketball court to have a chance to receive a scholarship you should sleep well at night. Nothing in life is guaranteed and life isn’t fair. I’ve learned in life that if you have self discipline, strong morals, ask for help, look a man/lady in the eyes when talking and not be afraid to be different, you will have a rewarding life. It’s easier said than done, but it can be done.
The SEASON starts in a few months, but YOU should already be preparing!