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    April 5, 2014

    Off-Season: Evaluate, Plan & Execute

    By Alan Stein

    This is a follow up post to last week’s blog about The 3 R’s .

    Once you have had sufficient time to Rest, Recover and Reflect… it’s time to Evaluate, Plan and Execute.

    EVALUATE

    How can you get to where you want to be if you don’t know where you currently are?

    To maximize your off-season, you need to do a comprehensive self-evaluation of your game.

    I suggest you make a chart that includes the following 15 categories:
    1. Ball handling
    2. Shooting
    3. Passing
    4. Rebounding
    5. Defending
    6. Strength & Power
    7. Quickness & Reaction
    8. Agility & Movement
    9. Flexibility & Mobility
    10. Nutrition
    11. Conditioning
    12. Basketball I.Q.
    13. Leadership
    14. Teammate
    15. Work Ethic
    Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 for each category and then schedule a time to discuss it with your coach. Prior to your meeting, ask them to fill out the exact same evaluation on your behalf.  I can’t think of a single coach on the planet that wouldn’t be thrilled to do this.

    During your meeting, make note of how the two sets of scores compare.  Any score you and your coach agree on is probably accurate.  If both you and your coach believe your ball handling is an “8”, then it probably is.  But what if you think it is an “8” and your coach thinks it is a “3”?  Is it possible you think an aspect of your game is better than it actually is? Regardless, you should average out both scores and have a final rating for each of the categories.  Then you should put them in descending order, meaning your highest scores (strengths) are at the top and your bottom scores (weaknesses) are at the bottom.  This will help you prioritize what you need to work on during the off-season.

    PLAN

    Failing to plan is planning to fail.

    That is a very simple yet powerful concept.

    Creating and executing an action plan is what produces results.

    Your off-season training can’t be haphazard. It must be both purposeful and progressive.

    There is a colossal difference between training and working out. Training is when you have a progressive plan with measurable goals. Working out is anything that makes you sweaty and tired but lacks consistency, direction and purpose. 

    Intensity and consistency are only two of the keys to your off-season progress.  You have to be working towards something to make it effective. You have to have a plan.

    Working out just to work out, with no direction, will give you mediocre results at best. Puddles of sweat and sore muscles are only valuable if they are taking you closer to where you are trying to go.

    Once you have your list of 15 traits in descending order – higher scores (strengths) at the top and lower scores (weaknesses) at the bottom – it’s time to formulate your training plan.

    You should take a comprehensive approach and work on all applicable areas of your game.  However, the time devoted to each trait will vary.  If you have 6 hours per week to devote to your training plan, what percentage of that time should you spend on making your strengths even stronger? What percentage of time should spend on improving your weaknesses?

    Contrary to our overall societal beliefs, I think the vast majority of your time (70%) should be making your current strengths even stronger and the rest of your time (30%) working on your applicable weaknesses.

    If you are a long-range catch-and-shoot specialist… and that will be your primary role on your team next season… you don’t need to spend hours and hours working on creative finishes around the basket. If most of your shots in games are on the perimeter, and that’ what your team needs you to do to be successful, then that should be your focus. That is what will separate you. It is better to be great at one thing than average at several.

    Work on weaknesses that actually matter.  If a weakness isn’t preventing you from maximizing your role on your team (or playing at the next level), it shouldn’t warrant much of your time.  Every player needs to be able to go right and left. Every player needs to move well and have good footwork. Not every player needs to be able to shoot 3’s or play post defense. Not all weaknesses need to be addressed.

    EXECUTE

    Put your plan in to action.  This is when you train hard, train smart and train with consistency.

    But don’t try to rush your progress. Build your success ‘brick by brick.’

    Respect the game,

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