Tips

The little things add up

Never underestimate the power of the little things. Set hard screens, make sharp cuts, and communicate.

If you have been around Rob Yanders or the Yanders Law program for at least a few practices, you have already learned about the little things. As a true basketball mind, Rob appreciates full effort on a back cut as much as he does a pretty jumper. A hard screen is as likely to get him out of his seat as a ferocious dunk. If you are putting full effort into everything you do, you will be a standout.

To succeed at the little things in the game takes dedication. For starters, you need to know what you are doing. Pay attention in practice, study the game, and learn from your mistakes. Repetition is huge - often times, doing the little things just comes down to muscle memory. For all of those little things to become muscle memory, you will likely have to be a pro. Until then, it will take frequent, conscious effort.

One of the best things you can do to hold yourself accountable is to remain engaged. Don’t ball-watch, but remain in constant motion on offense. Be active off the ball. If you are driving hard, the ball will find you. If you are setting good screens, you will be a better teammate and improve the whole offense.

When it comes to defense, stay low, but make yourself big. That sounds tough, but just make sure you are always in the stance and staying strong. Keep your arms out (or into the opposing player) and your eyes wide open. If you are doing your best to be ready for anything, you are probably doing the little things.

To work on the little things that make basketball such an intricate, special game, you have to get in the gym. Repetition is key, but only if you are doing things the right way. Get with a trainer or coach that knows what they’re doing and will hold you accountable.

It is difficult to say without being too cliche, but the little things really do add up. All of them add up to a whole that benefits the entire team in a big way. Get after it!

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.

For more tips, team news, and more, keep checking back right here!