Fall Development

There are unique challenges facing a lot of high school basketball players today. From a loaded AAU schedule to being multi-sport athletes for their school. I wanted to share a couple thoughts on what players can do, physically and mentally, to stay on top of their game and not lose all the hard work they have done in the off-season.


Manage time: Number one for any athlete needs to be academics.  Any chance of playing at the next level can quickly go away with a low GPA, not to mention your long term potential with a degree.  Then there are demands on athletes playing a fall sport like practice, games and travel.  There are time slots in your schedule you can’t control (classes, practice, family events, etc) but there are times available that you can control (tutor sessions, TV time, homework, etc.). Having the right priorities in the “controllable times” leads to good time management and thus can separate you from other players come tryouts. By managing your time well you can still get training in for basketball.

Develop good habits:  With limited time it is important to make it count.  The easiest way is to structure your time.  When it is “homework time” make sure you are in a space to focus without distractions and mentally ready to zero in on the books.  Same with practice and workouts, the same habits will carry over to school.  Here are a couple: be on time, ask good questions, be focused on task, be a good teammate/peer, put in extra work on weaknesses, be respectful, and be prepared.

Stay sharp:  A lot of players lose their progress in the fall because they don’t prioritize staying sharp on skills.  Many players  don’t understand how quickly skills can diminish.  Whether you’re playing football, volleyball, soccer or another sport, here are some things you can do to stay on top of your game:
  • Ball handling: just 15 minutes a day is all it takes to keep your skills sharp. Plus, you need very little space to do it.  A sidewalk, driveway, basement or garage can work well.
  • Shoot shots: not just jacking shots with friends playing H-O-R-S-E.  Shoot shots with form and proper footwork specific to your position and using your new skills.  It does not have to be going 100% (if your already playing a sport no need to risk injury or burnout), but it does have to be with a purpose and structured.  40-60 minutes can produce 500 shots (low end) 2-3 times a week.
  • Watch film:  If you have game film, watch it to keep your mind sharp.  If you don’t have film, watch basketball on TV, or the web, to see what players do.  FIBA World Championships are on now and international leagues start soon.  ESPN 3 and Watch ESPN app are great resources.

Some players like using a trainer to help them stay focused and productive in workouts while others use a parent, friend or are even good on their own.  Whatever it is you do, following these tips will help you hit the ground running in the fall when tryouts start.  If you need any help with drills or strategies you can contact us atupsideathletics@gmail.com.  If you live in Denver, or surrounding areas, we can get you in a gym!!

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