Basketball season is upon us. For most high school programs, practice has started and your first game is only a couple of weeks away. As a class of 2015 basketball recruit, you must stay on top of several areas throughout November.
Narrow Your Options
One area you should be focused on is narrowing down your potential college options. You should be working with your parents, guidance counselor and basketball coach to develop your list of schools. If you are a scholarship level basketball recruit who has verbally committed to a school, you will be accepting a scholarship by signing a Letter of Intent between November 12 and November 19. If you don't fall into this category, your college options are still wide open.
Is Early Action or Early Decision Right for You?
Regarding your academic application, if you are applying Early Action or Early Decision, you will have already submitted your application to those schools, because most deadlines fall between November 15 and December 1. The advantage of applying Early Action or Early Decision is that you will learn your admissions status much sooner, typically during the winter months. If you are applying via Regular Decision or common application, you have more time, since those deadlines are usually in January or February for most schools, and admissions decisions are not given until the spring.
Learn more about Early Action vs. Early Decision.
Focus on Your On- and Off-Court Performance
Your performance in the classroom and on the court are very important. Performing well "early and often" is the theme for both situations. In basketball, you need to regard your first eight games with a heightened level of urgency. You can't afford to take half of the season to get yourself going. The better you play early in the season, the more ammo you will have to attract potential recruiters and the more time you will give them to come and see you play.
It is very important to make sure you have your games filmed. Coaches want and need to see you play before offering you a roster spot or a scholarship. You need good game film to entice them to come and see you play live.
So the better you play early in the season, the more time you leave for positive things to happen. You can use your early performances in your proactive approach to recruiting by sending out your highlights, game film and newspaper articles to college coaches.
You need the same kind of approach in the classroom. You can't claim that you will "get your grades up" as the year goes on. The early marking periods are most important in the admissions process, so again you must perform well early and often.
Keep Working on Your Skills
In terms of player development, there is often a big dropoff in skill work as the season begins. Hopefully, you just spent the past six months working on your craft every day: you shot over 500 shots, implemented serious ball-handling and finishing drills, and conditioned your body to improve strength, speed, stamina and explosiveness. However, as the excitement of the start of the season wears off, you will find yourself in a daily grind with your high school team.
Your high school coach will probably spend most practice time covering offensive and defensive concepts. As you get closer to game play, film sessions and scouting reports will take up a big chunk of time. If you look at the actual reps you are getting in team practices, you might be shocked: maybe 100 shots? The ball in your hand for 15 minutes? Some sprints at the end of practice?
It falls back on your shoulders to make sure you not only remain sharp, but continue to develop your skills. It may require you to get in a workout before school begins, get in the gym late at night or take advantage of your team's off days. Whatever your solution, you have to understand the need for individual skill work during the season.
Stay sharp by checking out STACK's collection of basketball drills.
Don't Lose Focus
Don't let the start of the season throw off your focus in the classroom, on the court, or with your future college plans. If your goal is to be a college basketball recruit, you still have plenty of time to make that happen. The recruitment of potential class of 2015 prospects will continue into April, so if you are not receiving the attention you want at this point, it is not too late. Make a plan and be proactive in all of your activities, so you finish November with no regrets. If you need some help, click here to determine your college playing level.
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