With the autumn season coming to a late end, it brings a couple things. Frigid temperatures in Jersey, holidays, and a new year. However, the main attraction of winter for me is basketball season.
Last year I played freshman basketball for my high school, and I’d say it was a pretty successful year. We finished with a respectable record, and I led the team in multiple categories. I’m sure at the end of last season I was incredibly satisfied with that.
But now, after a week of practice with JV and Varsity, I am able to put last year in perspective. Yes, it was still a successful year. I made several big strides in the development of my game, and I really established myself as a good outside shooter.
But, as I see practice alongside the rest of the JV and Varsity players, I realize I still have a long way to go. The first week of practice was an entirely new experience, having to bust my ass in each and every drill or sprint.
As I think back to my freshman year, I realize I should not have been as content as I was. I had never been a main scorer for any basketball team, and that definitely affected how hard I worked everyday.
I became too satisfied with hitting a couple threes and finishing with double digit points. And now, looking back on that, I really wished I had put extra work into defensive drills and becoming more fundamentally sound.
With the first game scheduled in less than two weeks, I know that I’m going to have to work hard to earn every minute I can get in each game.
My mentality has changed since last year, and I wish I had figured it out before now. When you are one of the better players in the gym, it’s a lot easier to start to slack and lose tenacity in practice, knowing you are probably going to play a lot in the next game.
But when you’re in a gym with a whole group of players who may be quicker, taller, or even better than you, it’s not an option to give less than 100% during practice. There’s no guarantee of any minutes as of now, and I have to continue to work hard in order to be competitive with the rest of the players in the gym.
The leap from freshman hoops to the next level is more drastic than I thought, and adapting to it has not been easy. However, I know in the first week I’ve made good progress, and I know now that you can’t ever be satisfied or you won’t be able to play at the next level.