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How to Mentally Prepare And Maximize Your Summer Hoops Experience

2 min read

by Quinn McDowell,

Summertime can be overwhelming with the sheer number of opportunities available to basketball players today. High school off-season, AAU, skills clinics, exposure camps, personal training, group workouts; the list goes on and on.

In addition to these opportunities, players often have the added pressures of maximising their exposure for potential college scholarships, and dealing with the expectations of high school coaches. This can all be overwhelming to think about, but I think there are a few questions we can ask to make this complicated process more simple.

1. What are my Dreams? My goals? How do I get there?

This is the most straightforward and important question you can ask yourself. Before you make any decisions about your summer you need to sit down and answer these questions and map out a plan. For example if your goal is to play college basketball, but your high school coach is not well-connected in the world of college coaches, then you might need to think about spending time at more exposure events (i.e. AAU, invite camps, travel to colleges for workouts).

If your goal is to have a great senior high school season but you don’t care as much about playing at the next level, then your priorities would shift.



2. What do I need right now in my career?

Are you coming off an injury? Do you need more skill work? Did you get limited playing time this past season and need more in-game experience? All these are examples of different circumstances that could change how you spend your time this Summer.

For some players a high school season is a busy time filled with school, practice, social events, and extracurricular activities: it can be hard to find time to get in extra skill work and personal development. These types of players might need more skill work than just playing in a million tournaments during the Summer.

3. Would I regret this decision looking back on it?

This is a great question to ask when you are split on a difficult decision about your priorities. This question cuts through the uncertainty and gets right to your gut feeling. Listen to your gut, don’t live with regrets, and go after your dreams with everything you have.

4. What is the wisest decision based on my personality and circumstances?

Some players love being on the road with teammates every weekend during the Summer, other players enjoy the comfort of home and improving their game in familiar surroundings. Just because your AAU team registers for six consecutive tournaments doesn’t mean that you have to play in all of them. Make decisions that ultimately put you in the best position to be successful, regardless of what other people might think.



Quinn McDowell is a writer, trainer and professional athlete. He has played in the NBA D-League, Australia and Spain, following his four-year career at the College of William and Mary. He is the founder of and desires to see coaches and players succeed with excellence. He currently resides in Palencia, Spain, with his wife Lindsey.

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