How to Improve During Pick-up Basketball

There’s nothing like getting the opportunity to compete in front of a packed gym while representing your school! The season is a few months away, but players across the nation are continuing to work and prepare to make this the best season yet. Working out individually is great for sharpening your tools, but pick-up basketball allows for you to build confidence using those tools! At New Age Elite we’ve just finished summer pick-up basketball for NBA, collegiate, and select HS players. It was a great opportunity to not only learn more about them as players, but to learn about how to make pick-up basketball productive for all players! Here are a few tips that should help you improve during pick-up this off-season!  

1. Build winning habits now! On the last night of pick-up basketball for the summer, Montrezl Harrell of the Houston Rockets (2015 NBA Draft Selection, 32nd Pick) played first the first time and he made sure he left an impact! He talked on defense, sprinted the floor every possession, and battled for every rebound. There’s no surprise that he played a big role in winning a national championship at the University of Louisville, because he understands that you must play hard whether there are 10,000 fans in the stand or zero! 

2. Guard the best player possible! Dez Wells (OKC Thunder Rookie) and Rodney Purvis (Uconn) battled night in and night out. They guarded each other throughout the summer knowing that it’ll only make each other better. If you’re not guarding the best player in your local gym, you aren’t preparing yourself for what you may see throughout your season. Will this player get the best of you sometimes? Yes, but will they make you better? Absolutely! 

3. If you’re not going to play hard, don’t play! As a player, we’ve all heard a player say “I wasn’t even playing hard” this comment may be a reply to getting scored on or not having a good offensive showing that day. I noticed that out of all the professional players, if they were going to play, they gave it their all! If they were tired, they shut it down for the day. If you’re playing pick-up basketball and not playing hard, you’re going to build bad habits that won’t be useful when its time to try-out for your school team. 

4. Use this time to work on what you’ve added to your game! The summer is over, and you’ve spent all summer keeping your strengths sharp and working on your weaknesses. Pick-up basketball is the perfect time to work on everything in a game situation. You’ll also be able to pinpoint what you need to continue to focus on before the season starts. What better way to build confidence, than seeing your hard work pay-off versus good competition! 

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