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Making the “B”asketball Team

Whether your child is looking to play on the school team or a recreational team, it’s important to make sure he or she is equipped with the skills necessary to make the team.

“The game of basketball today is becoming more competitive,” says Coleman Crawford, Cooper Fitness Center Basketball Pro. “There’s a great emphasis on skill development such as passing, shooting and dribbling.”

How can you make sure your child is ready in time for tryouts? With 40 years of coaching experience, including time at four NCAA schools, Coleman offers his advice on how you can make sure your child is prepared for the game both mentally and physically.

Start Early

Practice makes perfect. Coleman says exposing your child to the game early on and continuing that training will help them develop their technique.

“The key is to understand that skills are developed over time,” says Coleman. “If your child is going to try out for the team, have them start practicing the season before.”

Coleman says that includes working on skills such as passing and dribbling, as well as footwork. He also encourages scrimmaging with friends.

“Working on skills is not enough by itself,” says Coleman. “They have to be able to incorporate those skills in game situations. If they’ve never played in games before, they’ll quickly see it’s a totally different experience from practice.”

Looking for something more than a neighborhood scrimmage game? Try registering for a more structured approach, such as Cooper Fitness Center’s Basketball Academies. With a maximum of 10 players per session, it allows your student to receive the individualized training they need.

Mental Preparation

Once your child has the fundamentals down, Coleman says it’s important to start 14542502_816351938467180_2937252086413545391_opreparing mentally. That includes understanding the game and what it takes to play with a team.

“Being able to play with other people and interact with teammates is important,” says Coleman. “Your child can be skilled, but if they can’t play with others, that limits their ability.” After all, it takes an entire team to win a game.

Coleman says during practice, your child is not experiencing the same pressure he or she might face during a game. Being mentally prepared for that will teach your child to manage their emotions during a high-pressure situation. It will also allow them to still enjoy the game even if they are under pressure.

 Attitude Matters

Above all else, Coleman says if your child’s attitude goes south, so will their progress.

“One of my favorite quotes is, ‘Your attitude determines your altitude,’” says Coleman. “It means that how they look at things determines their growth. Approaching the game with a positive attitude will give them the opportunity to reach heights they didn’t think they could reach.”

On the other hand, Coleman explains, having a poor attitude can limit your child’s ability to soar.

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again

If your child doesn’t make the team, it’s important to continue to encourage his or her growth.

“If your child doesn’t make the team the first time, two things can happen,” says Coleman. “They can give up or they can continue to improve their skills to become better than they were the year before.”

Don’t believe him? Just look at Michael Jordan.

“Michael Jordan was cut from his junior varsity team,” says Coleman. “That fueled him to be better. He used that experience and became more determined and is now considered one of the best players of all time. Remember, he failed in his first attempt. Kids can’t let one situation determine whether they’ll ever play the game again.”

Coleman says it’s important to remember the real reason your child started playing in the first place.

“Basketball is fun,” he says. “Have a great time and make sure they give it their best effort. When they do that, they’ll be successful.”

Interested in registering for basketball lessons with Coleman? Visit cooperfitnesscenter.com or call 972.233.4832.


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