As summer ball comes to an end, take a deep breath, let your ponytail out and chill. The hustle and bustle of July is over! College coaches now will begin showering you with phone calls and letters. The recruiting process is overwhelming, but don't let all the people pulling at you in every different direction be the reason for a major breakdown. Because the demanding on-court action is mentally draining and deflates the body, the month of August should be a time to let your body Recover from the summer beating, work on your Individual Skills and Evaluate your talent. In other words RISE.
School starts soon and you've spent most of July jet lagged and sweaty. Find some "smoking" BBQs, reconnect with friends and find cool pool parties to attend. Basketball shouldn't be a year-round event where taking a break is taboo. After spending days on the road, I couldn't wait to sleep in my own bed, eat home-cooked meals and play golf with my brother. Besides milk, resting can also do the body good. Relax by engaging in some mindless activities that involves clearing all thoughts and not always moving at "game speed."
Individual Skill Work
It's time to focus on you. It's easy to get wrapped up in athleticism, forgetting about fundamentals. In college we continue to practice pivoting, triple threat, keeping the ball high on a rebound and ballhandling drills. Being fundamentally sound goes a long way -- even more than you think. Get in the gym and sharpen those individual skills. Being able to show improvement in your game when the high school season starts is a great personal goal.
Evaluate your summer performance by asking questions. What did you do well? What are some areas that need improvement? Try to avoid Negative Nancy comments and stay with the positive. I will admit, sometimes I played like trash and thought the only way I could attend a college game was if I bought a ticket. At the end of my last summer go-around, some of the best feedback one college coach gave me was that I was too slow, I shot the ball really funny and I would never play at their level. Everyone has low days but the key is remaining confident. It wasn't about proving them wrong but more so about proving myself right. I dusted off my wings, spread them wide, and kept my imagination flowing with dreams and now I'm soaring through life, thanks to the wind from believers.
Even though the world is spinning fast, you have to find order in the chaos and slow it down. If you truly believe everything happens for a reason, one way or another, things will work out. For now, put on your shades and go kick it. Enjoy your free time because life is so good.
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Joy Hollingsworth is a first-year assistant women's basketball coach at Seattle University. A native of Seattle, Wash., she was a standout guard at Seattle Preparatory High School, earned WCC Freshman of the Year and honorable mention freshman All-American at the University of San Francisco and was a two-year starter and honorable mention All-Pac-10 at Arizona. Hollingsworth played professionally in Greece and earned an M.Ed. from the University of Washington. She can be reached at email@example.com.