Road Trips

Road trips: Traveling to games

Home court advantage is nice, but half the time or less (during spring and summer) , you will be traveling to play ball.

Traveling to games can often be the worst part about game day. Different teams and players approach this aspect in diverse ways, but it is certainly something that everyone has to deal with one way or another. Traveling short distances is nice, but you may want more time to get in the zone. Traveling long distances is the most challenging, because your mind can wander, you could stiffen up, or frankly, you could get bored.

The time and distance between you and your destination can seem insignificant next to the game, shootaround, practice, and so on. While the order of importance of these things can be debated, the travel time is still just one more thing that you must prepare for.

It’s not the will to win that matters. Everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.
— Paul "Bear" Bryant

Some coaches encourage quiet trips to games. They see chit-chat, laughter, or what have you as distracting from the task at hand. Others may take no issue with it, as it may be seen as camaraderie that contributes to team building. As usual, when in doubt, do as coach says.

As a general rule, it is probably okay to chat with your teammates, but you need to try and keep it in the realm of basketball. Talking about your strategy, plays, or opponent/scouting report are all great ways to pass the time. Even talking about basketball in general, be it NBA, WNBA, NCAA… you are still thinking about the sport you are about to go play.

Another good way to pass the time is listening to music; the genre or artist is of course up to you. For some, it may be beneficial to listen to something a bit more relaxing if you tend to get nervous or worked up before a game. For many, something that elevates your adrenaline a bit like rap or rock is preferable. Find something in your sweet spot and stick with it.

Stiffening up on a long road trip can be a tough issue to avoid. Stretching is important here as it is in so many other aspects of basketball. Even if it is rotating your ankles, straightening out your back or legs, or rotating your neck, it isn’t a bad idea to maintain a little movement on the way every so often. Once you’ve arrived, remember that it is never too early to start stretching out.

Some road trips will be extra long. Sometimes you may even travel to a distant town and not play until the next day. In those instances, it is perfectly fine to relax a bit. Listen to what you want, joke around, so on and so forth. As much as possible though, stay locked in on the task at hand and stay mentally ready to do your thing come game time.

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