There’s a difference between playing basketball and being a “baller”. If you play pickup at the Local Park and the tallest person on the court is 6 foot, you play basketball my friend. What about the fitness club? Yeah occasionally a “baller” will find him or herself playing with “basketball guys” but you’re just a human cone. A “baller” will use a “basketball guy” as a stand in. Have you ever been playing in a game of pickup and a couple of “ballers” show up and you feel like they’re just practicing Dribble2Much drills on you? Yeah, you’re a human cone bro.
Maybe you’re reading this and saying to yourself, “Who does this guy think he is? I play in a Men’s league”. Okay, so you’re playing in your company league or the Y but you’re still reading this. You clicked on this article because you think you can “ball” or you know you have no “game”, either way we can help. We’ve got 5 ways for you to dominate your rec league.
Pass The Airport Test
The first rule of any Rec League is what is referred to as the “airport test”. Have you ever been to the airport and seen a team of college ball players waiting for their flight? You get the feeling that the seven-foot baby faced kid has to have some kind of skill. Well remember it’s the same thing in your rec league. You have to pass the “airport test”, and that doesn’t mean looking like a Footlocker mannequin when you step on the court. At least look like a guy that’s played basketball before, what that means is doing the most basic things required to play as best as you can. Having a decent basketball posture will give you the edge over at least half the players in your rec league.
Don’t Embarrass My Shoes
Buying the latest pair of Air Jordans doesn’t mean you’ll play like MJ, it just means you have the latest pair of Air Jordans. Carmelo Anthony spent a lifetime becoming the master of the triple threat, you spent $150 on his shoe, and it doesn’t come with his years of training, or talent. It also doesn’t help you if you’re wearing a popular players number and try to emulate them on court. There are plenty of rec league players who believe the number 23 magically transforms them from a middle-aged 9 to 5er into the GOAT. Nah, son fall back. Wear an obscure number like “88” or “39” and no one will think twice about you’re blowing by them for a layup.
Steph Curry damn near broke the game with his effortless long distance shooting. He also inadvertently gave the green light for every small guy in the world to shoot jumpers from 30 feet and beyond. Believe it or not you’re not Steph Curry, you’re not even Riley Curry. The only curry you can claim is the combo you ordered last night for dinner. Drake said, “I've always been me I guess I know myself”. In a rec league it’s easy to fall into the temptation of being something you’re not. If you’re not a shooter, you’re not going to be one just because you paid your league dues. If you’re a big man, we don’t need you trying to run the offense like Chris Paul. Know what you do well and do that better than anyone else. Maybe you’ve got a knack for rebounding or you’re a physical defender. If you clap and scream louder than anyone on your squad that’s a skill. You have to get in where you fit in.
Find Your Signature Move
Every great player has a signature move. Jordan had the fade-away, Kareem had a sky-hook and James Harden is a master of the euro-step. You might not be able to shoot off the dribble like Kyrie Irving or dunk like Aaron Gordon but you’ve got a go to move. Don’t believe it? Whatever shot you find yourself shooting at the end of the shot clock with no time to think about what to do or how to do it—that’s your go to move. Remember what it is and practice it because that’s what you’re going to fall back on in moments of pressure.
Run To The Money, Run.
Cardio is a major factor when it comes to basketball on any level. Cardio is one of the things that “they don’t want you to do”, according to DJ Khaled. The great Vince Lombardi once said, “Fatigue makes a coward of men.” No matter how great of a player you are, you can’t beat tired. Run a mile or two or three during the week leading up to your games. Not a runner? Take the DJ Khaled approach and use the “ecliptical”. Get that heart rate up son. The difference between you scoring two points and ten points is being able to stay on the move consistently. Remember, “they don’t want you to win”.