The summer is the most important time for a professional basketball player. This is the time when you get to become the player you want to be. If you pay homage to basketball logging in gym hours you will surely be rewarded. As a professional you do not have the luxury of not improving. No matter who you are if you don’t stayon top of your game you will be cut, replaced, and possible never get the chance to play again. It’s a very competitive market and you have to fight tooth and nail for every job. It’s rough, if you don’t believe me just look at Allen Iverson stats on eurobasket.com. The overseas game is no walk in the park.
I am very particular and passionate about how I spend my summer time in the gym. A lot of “hoopers” think just by simply walking in the gym and shooting some random shots they’re working on their game. Maybe if you rely on your god given talent it is enough but if you want to realize your full potential you will never get there this way. When the season ends I immediately begin to analyze my game. I take a hard look at my weaknesses and where I can improve and tailor my workouts to improve them. This summer I had three main goals, lower my turnovers, improve my one on one skills and develop my left hand. This meant a ton of ball handling drills and working on footwork to create distance from the defender. By working on specific things you improve much faster than by working on everything in general. You must keep your entire game sharp but progress in weak areas.
The typical summer day for me is usually two basketball workouts and one weightlifting or stretching workout. The first involves waking up at 6 a.m and working out with my longtime friend and mentor Roosevelt Smith Jr. Together we have sculpted my game into what it is now and will continue to do until I retire. We start out with a lay-up drill called “Mikans” after the NBA legend. Here you work on finishing at the hoop. Next I go to form shooting in close and work my way out. Usually we throw in ball handling with form shooting. Back pedaling dribbling, crossing over, through the legs, then a quick pull up into working on your form. After I’m done with this we work on the specific aspects. This summer it was coming off pick and roll and attacking the big man. As a point guard I have to learn how to be ready to split the screen, drag the big man out, attack the hoop if the guard is late, or pull up if he goes under the screen. By working on each specific situation I am prepared when it comes up in a game. Roosevelt and I usually shoot a ton of shots in the morning, we always have. After my workout is done I shoot anywhere from 500-1,000 shots.
My second workout is ball handling, passing, and free throws. These are things I can do by myself. Two ball drills both stationary and moving are a great way to work out both hands simultaneously. I like to work on attacking the hoop full speed and make a move. Usually in a series of moves, in and out, crossover, through the legs behind the back, then use the counter for each, in and out cross, double crossover etc. Passing is something almost everyone doesn’t works on. You would be shocked at how many players can’t pass with their weak hand. I take great pride in passing and love any and every passing drill. My favorite is joggling three balls off the wall. It’s a very challenging drill but that’s what makes it fun. I use the wall when I’m by myself for all the passing drills.
I’m sure for some people this might not be that interesting but my goal is to let you in on the life of professional basketball player, and this is an essential part. For any player who wishes to be great you must work on your game. Working on my game as I want to is what makes summer my favorite time of year. Another reason why the summer is my favorite time is because it’s when most overseas players are free agents and you get to go through process of finding your next team. I have an agent who puts my name out there and teams who are looking for a point guard may contact them if they like my profile. I have a hard time sitting around and waiting so I usually do what I can to help. I work on updating highlight tapes, game film, and anything else that may help my chances. My website has helped tremendously as teams have one easy place to find information on me and watch all my game film. I send out my information to every team email I can get ahold of. You never know if that one email can get you your next job. This summer I had a few interested teams but ended up getting my offer from Kaposvar here in Hungary’s first division in late July early August. So far we have lost more games than I would have liked early on but are now in a great position to win some games. I am playing with some great Americans, Dan Werner from the University of Florida and Kurt Cunningham from Boise State. We have the tools to put together a great run and I am confident that with hard work and luck we’ll make some noise in Hungary.
I would like to think that my summer has paid off. I worked relentlessly and I think came away a better player. I moved up to a much higher league and have improved my average to 20.4 points per game and scored a league high 43 points in early November. I am healthy and playing the basketball of my life. I know this is because of my time in the gym. Brooks Robinson said “If your not practicing, somebody else is, somewhere, and he’ll be ready to take your job.” Watch out.
If you want to see highlights of my 43 point game go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpUxKrFawTk. You can also learn more about me by visiting my website www.joshwilsonbasketball.com or check out more of my game on YouTube, Germany highlight tape 2009-2010 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etkKMYs4F4s .