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Tips For the Serious Hooper

I grew up playing basketball as a small guard. And just so we are all on the same page. A small guard is classified as anyone under 6’3. So that means yes your 4’11 5th grader should be working on guard skills and foot work not stuck in the post. As I began to play more serious I started to find it more and more difficult to gain the attention of college coaches and exposure outlets ( there wasn’t many in my day). Whatever the case I had to figure out how to first be effective on the court amongst players 5 – 10 inches taller than me. The team I played on was not short on players that could score so I had to figure out something else if I wanted to make it to college. That something became defense which turned into my calling card, and created the opportunity for me to not only play in college, but professional as well. So as a parent with a son who will not doubt probably be a small guard; I must ensure that I teach him early how to be effective, and get noticed on the court as a small guard. Here are a couple tips parents should consider when working with their athlete. 1) Be confident in who you are / Become a LEADER - Being a small guard is tough, and the competition is fierce because there are so many small guards playing basketball. The first thing you must do is accept who you are as a player, and embrace it. No sense in dwelling on what you don’t have; instead put a plan in place to strengthen your weaknesses and add skills to your game. 2) Shooting is Essential - All guards need to be able to shoot the ball, but small guards especially. The ability to knock down open jumpers is a priceless skill set that can separate you from a lot of players. The problem is many players don’t put in enough time to truly become good shooters. Becoming a reliable shooter takes time, patience, and willingness to put in the work everyday. It doesn’t just happen over night. 3) High Basketball IQ - Having a high basketball IQ should probably be 1. Having a high IQ involves taking care of the ball, being able to handle pressure, making the right passes, being a willing passer, understanding defenses, and having counters to get where you want on the floor. Smart guards are tough to contain, and care more about winning than individual stats. 4) Make defense a priority - Going back to the beginning of this post, you will see that defense is a major priority. It is what presented so many opportunities for me. Small guards from grade school – NBA have to be able to guard at a high level. The desire to want to be a good defender is imperative in standing out on the court. I always notice the defense when I watch a game. It shows me who really wants to win. Summary: In short instead of yelling for your athlete to shoot the ball thinking that scoring is what gets them noticed. Focus on these couple of things that will not only get them noticed, but also make them better team players and seen as a player that coaches want because they care about winning as a team. Tune in every Sunday for our new platform ’ Youth Hoops Initiative" presented by OSA

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