So it’s been awhile for you. But that doesn’t mean that it’s over. Far from it.
You played high school or college ball, at a high level. All-State, MVP awards, scholarships, and good stats. You have old highlight tapes that you still watch. Boxes of old recruiting letters from colleges coaches. People who knew you then were expecting you to really do something with ball.
But life got involved along the way, as it is wont to do.
Maybe you had kids and focused on your family.
Maybe you had to start a (non-basketball) career to support loved ones.
Maybe you had an injury and temporarily lost your passion for the game.
Maybe you joined the military.
Maybe you made some mistakes that cost you time, and you’ve learned from them.
No matter why you’ve been away. Then was then, and now is now. You’re ready to get back in the game. And not just where you were – you want to give a shot at playing on the professional level (again).
Only one problem. You don’t know what the hell to do or how to do it.
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My longest period “away” from the game was the Fall-Winter after my college graduation. I had a degree, but was back living in my parents’ house, broke, and not wanting to “use my degree” to go work in some office building wearing a suit. I didn’t even have my own car at that point. I felt like the most Loser-ass college graduate on the planet.
I wanted to played basketball, but no one who was paying money to basketball players was offering to pay me.
So I got a “real” job.
[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”big” animation=”none” background=”plain”]Get Your Career On Track: The Overseas Basketball Blueprint [/dt_quote]
I worked as a Foot Locker assistant manager for about 6 months. I caught trains and buses to and from work for 3 months before I’d saved enough for a cheap car purchased from a newspaper ad, sight unseen.
During that 3 months, I barely touched a basketball. My skills got rusty, but my mind wasn’t. The goal never changed: Somehow, someway, get into pro basketball. By September of the following year, I was there.
What follows are the principles I needed to follow back then, which are the same principles you need now. Follow these to make your comeback in basketball, and keep following them to take it further than you ever had before.
- What you did back then doesn’t matter anymore. Your All-American honors, scoring titles and awards banquet recognitions absolutely DID happen – you have proof of it. But in the eyes of basketball decision makers, those achievements are collecting dust in the corner.What they wanna know is what you can do NOW.And the longer the gap has been between your previous “best” and today, the less it matters. In basketball terms, if any part of a basketball season has lapsed without you playing for a team, you must prove you can still do what you did before (or that you can do something that would make you desirable to a team). If you didn’t JUST do it this past season, no one can be sure you can STILL do it.History happens every time you do something; it’s getting older by the second. Like it or not, you have a clean slate.
- Get in shape. Players who spend time away from the game have one sharp disadvantage: they’ve not been subject to the conditioning that basketball coaches force on their players.In the big picture, I guess it could be a good thing. I mean, who wants to run suicides 8 times per day? But when you’re coming back to the game, you have to get reacquainted with the rhythm and pace of the game itself. Pro Tip Which Should Be Obvious: DON’T wait until your first Rec league game or exposure camp practice to get in shape. Start NOW.You have played before, so you KNOW what getting in shape entails. I know you hate it, but it feels good at the exact moment it’s over. And more importantly, you need it. Don’t be the fat has-been player at the exposure camp wheezing after every drill. Join a gym. Run. Lift weights. Practice on the court. Run. Hire a trainer if you need to. Run. Discipline yourself in the kitchen and at the breakfast/lunch/dinner table. RUN. Drink more water. Incorporate a DAILY stretching schedule or take up yoga (plenty of free YouTube videos for that). RUN.If you need help getting in shape, get my Ultimate Athlete program.
- Treat yourself as a brand new player now. I covered this is more detail on another post on my Help Page, titled, “You Want A Career In Pro Basketball/ Overseas? Read This.” Read that.Here are the basic; read that post for details.A) Have Game. If your skills are not pro-level, you won’t become (or remain) a pro player. Work On Your F*****g Game.B) Have PROOF of Your Game. Video, video, video. I started in 2005, when it was very possible that a really good player didn’t have much really good film. Nowadays, the bigger problem is sifting through all the bullshit players and folding-chair drills trying to get to the actual in-game skill. So you have no excuses. You have a phone; it has a camera. You have friends (hopefully). Ask them to help you become a professional basketball player. That sounds better than, “record this for me.” (though that might work too.)
C) Get Your Name Known by People In Power. Yes, everyone at LA Fitness has co-signed your skills. You scored 27 against a dude who makes $600k playing in Japan. I’m not saying we don’t believe you – what I am saying is, us knowing doesn’t matter. You don’t need to be known only at the Rec – unless you want to play out the rest of your career at the Rec. You need to be known by people who have to power to move your career forward. These people have titles like Coach, Agent, General Manager, Scout, etc. Leverage your contacts – everyone knows someone – and MAKE NEW CONTACTS using your people skills (I wrote books on that if you’re lacking in this area). Referrals, i.e. Mutual friends – we know the same people, are the best method of generating business.D) Take Full Responsibility for Everything. Professional sports are for adults, and adults own their situations. Not every lead ends in a sale. Not every camp or league will get you the exposure you seek. Not every agent can find you a deal. Not every coach wants you on his team. Shit happens. No matter what, YOU are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT responsible for ALL of it, whether it “works” or not.
Best of success.