#PBCHOOPS Four (4) DO’S and DON’TS before picking a travel basketball team

The high school basketball season is short, very short. The years go by fast this is why if a player is interested in playing at the next level it’s very important to maximize every opportunity possible during your scholastic career. The next opportunity available to players now that high school season is over for all but 8 South Florida teams is the travel ball season, April through July. When picking a travel team is very important to find one that suites your need as a player the best. Here are a few DO'S and DON'TS to help you out when it's time to pick a travel program this season:

1. If you played on a high school team that did not play a very competitive schedule or against competitive teams

DON’T pick a travel team that doesn’t play in competitive events or against high level competition.
DO try to find a team where they strategically pick out high level, quality events for you to compete against the best level of talent available, either locally, regionally or out of state. While winning is great it may be more important to show potential college coaches that you can play against high level talent.

2. If you played in a very restrictive or structured system on your high school team

DON’T select a travel team that won’t allow you to showcase your individual skills.
DO look for a travel team that allows players a certain amount of freedom to display parts of your game that maybe you weren’t able to display during the high school season.

3. If you’re a talented freshman or sophomore that played varsity or dominated at the JV level

DON’T select a team that won’t allow you to play up or a grade level team that won’t play up.
DO look for a team that allows you to play 1 or 2 grades up at 17U or find a 15U or 16U team that can play up in different events. If as a player you dominate your level use the travel season to push your limits. This could be a problem because not all programs will allow this, therefore you may need to think outside the box and find a 17U team that may not be as good or well known and play up with them.

4. Finally if you did not get a good amount of playing time during the high school season for whatever reason

DON’T repeat DON’T select a team where you will spend the next 5 months sitting on the bench or getting limited minutes
DO select a team where you can play and play a lot. Once again this may require looking for less established teams or teams that don’t have a lot of committed talent. The goal is to play and play a lot.

These are just 4 things but usually the majority of players in our area fall in one of these categories. The most important thing is to find the right fit, fix weaknesses in your game and get better. Worry less about trophies, name recognition or circuits and really find a place where you as a player can be challenged. As a competitive high school player you shouldn’t be looking to go to events where your team can dominate everyone by 30 points and win. Trophies are nice but it’s better to know you spent your spring and summer for the betterment of your individual game so that when you return to high school ball in the fall you are better than when the season ended and ready to contribute or take any even bigger role on your team. There are several well respected programs in South Florida that provide players with many of the options listed above. Another thing to note is that travel basketball is not a necessity and may not be right for every player, we have discussed that before in a two part series "Why travel basketball may not be the right choice for you at the moment." Part 1 and Part 2. The key is to research, ask questions and once again find the right fit.

“High level competition breeds better basketball”

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