If you consider basketball just a recreational sport, that’s great, but this isn’t for you. Basketball is a great way to exercise, socialize and compete. It is great for recreation, but that’s not how we think about it.

However, if you have any desire to play basketball at a competitive level, here are some things you have to understand.

Environment Matters

Here’s the deal.  Not all coaches are the same. Not all teams are the same.  Not all organizations are the same.  This goes for middle school, high school, and college as well as any non-scholastic team.  If you’re not in an environment that is good for you, you’re wasting your time.  Maybe you have to have a bad experience to know what that’s like.  We don’t wish that for you, but unfortunately, it happens all the time.  The problem is so many people end up reliving that experience over and over again just hoping the next one will be better because it can’t get any worse, right? Just because it’s better, doesn’t mean it’s good.  It’s really hard to be great in a game that’s so competitive.  It’s so important you’re in a good environment.  In some cases, you can change the environment to make it better for you.  The best players are successful regardless of the environment.   However, most players are molded by their environment.  This can be good or bad.

For us, a good environment has consistency, discipline, and accountability.  A good environment teaches individual skills and team concepts and how those things fit together.  Teams that practice for one hour once or twice a week can’t do that.  Forget the skill and expertise of the coaches who are responsible for teaching players how to improve.  In many cases, this is lacking. Too much time is spent “running plays” and not enough time is spent on the things that matter.  But more than that, the sheer lack of repetitions that players and teams receive makes it nearly impossible for them to improve the way they need to.

There are levels to this.

Like I said before. Not all coaches are the same. Not all teams are the same.  Not all organizations are the same.  This goes for middle school, high school, and college as well as any non-scholastic team. We’ve worked with players who can’t make one team but would be the best player on another team.

What level do you want to play at?  What do you want your role to be at that level? Most players will say they want to be the best player on the best team.  The question that always arises:  Does your work match your dream?  And I don’t mean just your physical effort, even though that matters too.  Do you take care of your body? Do you work with intention and purpose?  Do you constantly challenge yourself?  Do you know how to work on what you’re working on?

When you say you’re a good player, what does that mean?  Good compared to who? It’s all relative.  You could be the best player in one league and not even make the team in another.  No matter how “good” you are, there is always someone better.  The real question is how hungry are you to be the best player no matter what gym you’re in.  If that doesn’t drive you, your ceiling isn’t very high.

It’s political

We talk about this all the time. Yes, politics matter.  But they don’t if you’re that good.  Your attitude and work ethic matter. No matter how much the coach likes you as a person, the coach wants to win. The coach likes great players. What matters just as much is how good you are. Be undeniable.  If your work ethic is truly elite, you will have that work ethic when a coach isn’t around and you will be undeniable. You will have more success.  You will get more playing time.

Maybe you just started out behind.  Trust me, we see that all the time.  You can’t change the past.  However, it also means that the decisions you make in how you spend your time are even more important. If you’re undeniable, it’s not political.  You’re just that good.  If you want to try to win a popularity contest, that’s fine, but votes don’t win games.  Players do.  Coaches want players who can help them win.

The Solution

Hoops College offers what any player needs to succeed at the highest level.  Expert, high-level, and focused skill instruction.  Accountability and discipline towards the craft.  Strength and conditioning.  Vertimax.  Shooting instruction. We get results.  No, we don’t offer open gym.  Because the open gym isn’t part of the recipe.  It might be fun, but it’s not one of the ingredients to high-level success.  If it were, a lot more players would be better.

Just because you’re on a team, doesn’t mean you’re getting what you need.  Just because you’re in a gym doesn’t mean you’re getting better.  Yes, the boring daily grind of putting in work might not be what everyone enjoys.  But if you want to be the best player on the best team, there’s no substitute for it.  And if you’re not doing those things, you’re not going to get what you want.

We don’t do well with average.  Being ok with being average doesn’t sit well with us.  Our favorite players are the ones who don’t ride the fence.  They know it’s just recreation for them and they are fine with that.  Or they are so committed to being the best, that they do whatever it takes.  Most players are in the middle.  They are too scared to go one way or the other.

In many cases, their parents are too scared to let them pick one or the other.  Trust me, for everyone involved, it’s better if you just pick one.

Riding the fence gets you only one thing.  Splinters!


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