Basketball mentoring is an easy way to get ahead of the competition if you want to play pro or college ball.
If you are having issues with a car who is the best person to get advice from? A friend that’s a mechanic right? This is the same when we talk about playing pro or college basketball. Having a basketball mentor enables you to get light years ahead of the competition by having someone there who has walked the path you are about to.
Why should I get a basketball mentor?
You are probably asking how can a basketball mentor can give me an unfair advantage? Mentors have been through what you are about to go through. They have been through the difficulties that you don’t have to go through. By giving you guidance and advices you can avoid setbacks and draw on the positives of their experience.
For most of my basketball career I have gone it alone. I haven’t been lucky enough to have one designated mentor but instead I have had multiple mini basketball mentors. Did I just create a new term? Mini basketball mentor. I drew on the experience of basketball players that I met and trained with to give me advice. For the most part in Australia, the coaches I had never helped one bit.
I got to college purely by calling coaches and shooting hundreds of emails when on the other hand I was seeing my coaches going out of their way to help other players. It’s hard! Trust me I know. This is something I see far too often in this country. Politics and favouritism. That’s why I am writing this article. To help you. Like me (when I was growing up), if you don’t have the funds to pay for expensive basketball academies nor do you have the patience to play the political games that is basketball in Australia. Getting a basketball mentor is the best way of getting ahead.
My experience having a basketball mentor
To make this short as this article isn’t about me. When I was looking to go play college basketball in the states. There were a few coaches around (not as many as today) that were getting kids to colleges. None of them helped at all, I got given a run around and the service was very poor. Look, I understand that I was no first round draft pick but I was passionate about playing college ball.
It was about a year in until I realised that these coaches that promised so much were full of crap. So I decided to take matters into my own hand and contact schools. During this time I was playing pickup basketball everyday of the week with American imports which I extended out to to get advice. They were more than willing to share their experience and tell me what coaches were looking for, what tryouts were like, what college life was like and much more. I could never get this from those coaches that were running their recruiting businesses. It was from these American import basketball players, or I like to refer to them as my mini basketball mentors, that I got an understanding of the recruiting process.
Another mentor I had was Shaun King who is a Canadian living in Australia. Shaun played in various Victorian basketball league teams and prior to coming to OZ was a legend in UK division 2. Infact he was recently inducted to the Sheffield Arrows hall of fame. Shaun gave me the low down of what it was like to play basketball in UK and also gave me a detailed structure of basketball in England. On more than one occasion Shaun got on the phone to contact the club on my behalf; most recently in 2012 when I played summer league for the Arrows. The guy made international calls just for me! Yet all these coaches that promised so much couldn’t even send an email.
My examples of having basketball mentor in this article is brief. As I said previously this is not about me. I can go into more depth as to what these mentors did for me if you’d like. I can extend on my experiences more in a podcast in the coming weeks.
Remember, Kobe even had Jordan as a mentor. It’s easy to see that Kobe modelled his game on MJ’s and why not when you have a legend in your corner.
What do you have to gain by having a basketball mentor?
- Experience of someone who has done something that you want to do. For example, going to USA to play college.
- You are aware of issues or problems to avoid so that you don’t make the same mistake. For example, avoiding situations which is in breach of NCAA regulations that you may not know about prior to leaving. Eg. taking a gift from a generous fan of the university you are visiting. Trust me, it happens not only to superstars!
- Advice on training tips to better adapt of the style of game that you are going to be playing. For example, basketball in USA is vastly different to Australia and almost any other country. It’s good to get an idea of the style of game so that you are not shell shocked when you get there. Like I was 🙁
- Advice about life on campus.
- Coaches likes and dislikes about players. For example, I got some good advice from a coach at University of Pacific about my coach at Solano Falcons. I implemented things he told me to do during tryouts and subsequently I was picked for the team.
- A good mentor will hold you accountable. If you are slacking with your training they will let you know. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to have a mentor that will bust your ass.
How can I get a basketball mentor?
Be careful, be very careful when getting a basketball mentor. Unfortunately there are people out there with a disingenuous agenda and I have met many of them here in Australia and UK.
- Approach with caution; don’t get sucked into promises and if they do make promises hold them to their word. If in weeks you see that none of these promises are not getting fulfilled cut them out. They are busllshit artists and you don’t want to waste time.
- Basketball mentors are willing and will freely give you all the information they have for free. When people ask me about playing college, pro or anything basketball I will freely share everything that is stored in my brain. True basketball mentors are selfless and have such a passion for the game and want to see it grow. Including keen students of the game.
- Find a person that has done what you want to do. For example, if your goal is to play college basketball. Find someone who has done that. If you don’t know anyone leave a comment at the end of this article. There are virtual basketball mentors that I can get you in touch with.
Be a basketball mentor
Remember, to be a successful basketball player you have to give back to the game. Be a basketball mentor for the person that comes and asks you advice. The time will come and people will look to you for guidance. As much as you need a basketball mentor so do others.
I can name two very amazing basketball mentors I am privileged to know. They share the same passion for the game I do an readily help up and coming basketball players.
Luke Chapman is no stranger to No Borders Basketball. He has been on two podcasts speaking about his experience playing basketball in USA and Philippines. Luke most recently helped Rob (another No Borders Basketball interviewee) prepare for college ball in Philippines. Rob is now rounding up his 3rd year due to the teachings from Luke.
Another close friend and passionate basketball mentor is Paroa Te Paki. He is a very hard worker that runs various basketball tournaments such as 3 on 3, 1 on 1 and soon exposure tournaments all free of charge. He also works with young basketball players and run them through drills to improve their likelihood of going on and playing a high level of basketball. No Borders Basketball fully supports LDS Ballerz; for the latest tournaments please visit the Events page.
Disclaimer, Luke and Paroa didn’t pay me to make comments or promote their services. I genuinely believe that their interests are to help basketball players reach their potential. Hey, if I see something or someone that is going to help you I’m going to let you know about it.
A basketball mentor can be a a very advantageous thing if you don’t have the funds to go to basketball academies or use recruiting services. Having access to experience will prevent you from making mistakes and wasting time. Get ahead of the game and find yourself a genuine basketball mentor to guide you through your career. Even if it’s to get over mental hurdles and yes, there will be plenty of mental hurdles in your basketball career.
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