I was asked this very question several times over the years and I’ll provide the best answer I can. I’ll start at the beginning. We live in a small town and during the season participate in our local town intramural program. The town runs it as an opportunity for the young kids to get a feel for the game and see if they like it. Then perhaps they join the town team that travels around the state and join the best players in the town who are usually on that team.
One year I was lucky to coach my two daughters on their town intramural team and they are reasonably skilled players for their age. We wound up winning the league that year. The kids had a ton of fun and most parents did too and some didn’t (that will be a separate blog post ;-)) Anyhow, after that season was over several parents said to me, “your kids are really good! How did they get so good!” I was kind of embarrassed by the question and just responded with, “thanks, they like it, they work at it and they do some things well and some things they need to work on…” Quite frankly, I was kind of taken off guard and didn’t know what to say. I guess because outside of our little town my kids realize that no matter how good you are in life there is always someone a little better or ALLOT better so don’t get complacent and keep striving to be the best you can be. We’ve been to the AAU nationals, Tennessee Battle of the Borough, Boo Williams etc etc etc. We’ve seen the outliers on the curve and trust me they are out there and they are awesome hoops players. Somewhere, someplace, some kid is out there working on her game, pushing for a college basketball scholarship, while you are sitting on the coach watching the Kardashians! Pullllleeeeeease, what a waste of brain cells…
Anyhow, the path…tough to say, some say 10,000 hours of effort, some say you need Tiger Mom pushing the kids…anyhow, my formula as far as I see it. For better or worse it’s year round nowadays with multiple breaks during the year. Here goes…
10 AAU games – the kids need to get enjoyment out of putting those hard earned skills to work.
9 AAU practice – if you play AAU you likely have to practice with your team.
8 Eat right & Sleep right – obvious but rejuvenative sleep helps the body heal. Good food powers the body.
7 Parental support – we sacrifice too! Time and emotional support, a ton of it!
6 Strength & Agility training – really helpful and offers a change of scenery for the kids.
5 Financial Support – it’s expensive all of this travel, meals, gas, tournaments etc etc etc.
4 Dribble at home – 30, 45, 60 minutes on off days. Helps keep the muscle memory intact.
3 Shoot at home – 500 makes is the goal broken up amongst foul shots, put backs, jumpers, miken drill etc.
2 Hoops clinic – if you can find a local hoops clinic where the child can work on her skills development, this is huge.
1 Child wants to do it!!! In the end the child has to be all in. It’s about them right?
For me, I enjoy it. What else am I going do? I have three kids and a wife I love so this is a great outlet for all of us to spend time together with something we all enjoy. This time together is fleeting so make the most of it. Not always easy, granted, but there are ups and downs in everything in life which is why sports act as a great teacher of life lessons.
Bye for now!