My game is one for the ages.. all through grade school I had the best handles but absolutely no D, no shot, and no strength.. past few years I hit the weight room, handles have diminished somewhat but have turned into a more polished, stronger version of my oldself that can D up and score. Here are some things that helped:
1- Have absolute confidence in your handle
.. if you dont, then work on it. I like to dribble medicine balls, work hard on my pivot, do plyos, speed drills, dribbling drills.. I work ALOT on my in and outs
, hesitations, hop step, and crossover. The hesitation is huge to keep defenders respecting your drive. And once they start respecting your first step/drive, thats when it becomes crucial to:..
2 - Have a pullup jumper and dont be afraid to use it.
Im talking free throw range. Be able to dribble hard, plant, and rise up for the J. Once your first step is going, the defender is not going to be able to contest the shot as much and he defintely wont block it. So just know in your head "this guy cant block my jumper" and you will get off a good shot and chances are it drops.
3 - Keep turnovers down!!
When I have a bad game it usually starts with 1 tiny turnover. Play calm and composed and more importantly relaxed and in good spirits.. do your best to keep turnovers to an absolute minimum. What helps me is not FORCING THINGS. If I have a blackhole on my team or a dominant personality, I get the tendency to try and forcefeed them and it creates turnovers.. so sometimes I like to slow things down and get my rhythm going, even if it means IGNORING Teammates.. as long as your playing good team ball, you have nothing to worry about.
4 - ignore the sidelines .
Do whatever it takes to stay in the game. If it means ignoring mom and pops on the sidelines, if it takes to wear a funky outfit so you have zero self confidence in your appearance therefor allowing you to concentrate all on the game, if it means telling the wife "sorry babe no lovin to day I gotta focus" stay focused on the game! Sometimes if Im playing the game and a wonderwoman hotass female walks in , Ill try to pull a crossover, long 3, etc... or if someone is talking noise I try to shut them up right away. Its a waste of time and a disrespect to the game. FOCUS and dont stop till you get that W.
5- Respect your oppononent
. Dont ever walk into a game thinking you have it won. Alot of people out there have given hours and hours and years and years of toil and hardwork towards the game of basketball and they sure as hell aint gonna let you have anything easy. So get your gameface on and be ready to do whatever it takes to get the W.. so atleast if you lose, you can say that whoever beat you had to work their ass off to do so.
6- Be strong enough to take a bump and keep going.
I used to be 6'1, 135 lbs all through HS.
Its no wonder I never got any minutes. Im finally hitting almost 170 which has allowed me to be lethal on my attacks to the hole. Basketball is a contact sport, whether it was meant to be or not. You got guys wearing mouthpieces now, wearing padding all over, under armour, etc... its a physical, physical sport. Be prepared mentally for the physicality, and it starts in the weightroom!.. get a routine going and stick to it. You should be hitting the weightroom hard atleast 2-4 times a week.
7 -Never give up -
the most important. There's been times where I have an awful game, or I get owned by someone better then me, and I say to myself "Damn thats it. I suck. Ill never be good enough" and then the next night Im dropping 20/8/8 on dudes and Im the best baller out there. Dont give up. Keep going. Nobody wins them all.
8 - Take care of your body.
Eat well, stay fresh, stretch, and get good rest. Drink lots of water and take a solid multi as well as various supplements if you can afford them (protein, bcaas, etc)
9 - Always remember that theres 2 sides of the floor
.. offense AND defense. All the greatest players are very different offensively, but the one common thing between them all is that they also played great defense. Dont be afraid to sacrifice your offense a little if it means you can have more energy on D. Dont be afraid to buckle down, touch the ground, and give your opponent hell. Dont be afraid to reach or go for the steal. Stay smart and stay on your toes. If you set the example for hard nosed defense, your teammates will take notice and follow (unless they are grade-a bltches).