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Getting Good Rest & Lots of Sleep - What It Means To Youth Basketball Players

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When I was playing basketball as a young player I suffered through a lot of pain. I had a growing issue called 'osgood schlatters' that affects a lot of young players, right below the knee. This makes it difficult to play 2 games in the same day with a break in-between.

Basically if we were to play 2 games on a Saturday I needed to have them be back to back. If I had an hour break between the two games then I knew that 2nd game would be near impossible because of the pain of what was going on.

When I went to the doctor he simply stressed to me how important it was to get rest and that I was going to have to adapt to the pain for the time being.

The ailment lasted until I stopped growing (age 16) but towards the end I learned how to keep the pain down and preserve my body. I wish so badly I would have known at age 13, 14 and 15 what I finally learned by the time I was 16. I could have saved myself a lot of pain and could have been a better player because I would have been able to train harder.

The remedy for my condition was sleep. I noticed later on that if I made sure I regularly got at least 8 hours of sleep every night, my legs & knees didn't hurt as bad. I know that some people might be turned off by how simple of a concept that is but the fact of the matter is, it's real.

Your body needs sleep and if you deprive it when you are growing and playing lots of basketball, you'll pay the consequences. It's the best medicine you can give your body at a young age when you are putting so much wear and tear on it.

Today is a different era than we have ever seen before. YouTube has videos of thousands of players. People are getting filmed without even the knowledge of it taking place. A couple years ago a video was leaked with Lebron getting dunked on by a college player that would've never happened when I was playing.

I mention this because coaches are watching things now that they never had the chance to see before and that ends up being good and bad. It used to be that coaches only got to see highlight videos or clips that we put together ourselves where now that simply isn't true.

One poor decision can be the difference between a scholarship or not. One poor decision can make the difference between playing time and not playing so why not take it serious. The "soap box" I'm on today is the importance of properly resting during the season and off-season.

I've said it 100 times but kids that spend their summers staying up late playing video games and waking up at noon or 1 the next day are not the kids that I want to vouch for when I talk to colleges about players.

I want to push players who get to bed at a proper time and get up early. I back kids who get a solid 8-10 hours of sleep a night and know how to treat their bodies. Let's look at a situation:

  • Game just got over and you have the option to go out with some friends to a party or take care of your body by resting and icing what needs to be iced?

It sounds funny and nerdy but the best choice is to give your body the best chance to recover. Ice it and then get some sleep. I know you'll be riled up after the game but the best way to cool down is by icing up your knees or ankles and getting rest. You'll have plenty of time to attend parties or do social events during your lifetime but basketball won't last forever.

When I was a senior in high school I turned my ankle during a big game for us. I went in at halftime and got it wrapped and went out and played the 2nd half. I scored 24 points after halftime and played a great game.

When the game ended my ankle felt great so I took a hot shower and by the time I got out of the shower my ankle had started to swell up but still didn't hurt yet. I went out with some friends after the game and within an hour I could barely walk. I missed our next game and it really cost our team all because I didn't immediately take care of my body like I needed to.

Had I immediately put ice on it and went home and got some sleep, I'm very confident I wouldn't have had to sit out the next game. That's how much of a difference it can make.

Understand that it isn't just about you but other players on your team. It is about who you represent and respect for others. Treat yourself well by getting proper rest so you can be the best player you can.

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