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3 Ways to Become a Better Athlete

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When I was a kid, I always dreamed of being a professional athlete.  Basketball was my passion.  Every day during the summer I went outside behind my garage and shot some hoops.  Some days, it was only for a few minutes, other days it seemed like it was for hours on end.  I played City League Basketball when I was in 6th grade, but then didn’t play in a league again until my freshman year of high school.  I enjoyed playing a lot, but I quickly realized that I didn’t have what it takes to ever be a professional athlete, hence I gave up on my goal.  Now that I am a little older, I have realized some of the mistakes that I made in my goal.  I never really strived to be a better athlete.  Here are a few ideas that I have come up with on how to become a better athlete.

  1. First thing is first… PRACTICE!  There is nothing more important that you can be doing to improve your athleticism than to practice.  If your sport is basketball, practice basketball.  Practice alone, practice with others, do drills, etc.  Also, don’t neglect other sports.  How many really good athletes only know how to play one sport?  If you are a basketball player you can benefit from playing many other sports.  Playing soccer will improve your endurance.  Football will help you learn how to be aggressive.  Basketball will improve your hand-eye coordination.  No matter what sport you play, you can benefit from practicing not only that sport, but other sports as well.  Becoming a well-rounded athlete will make you a better basketball player, football player, or whatever your sport may be.
  2. Weight Training Weight training is essential to become a better athlete.  Typically football players and wrestlers have no problem with this.  For me, this was one of my weaknesses.  I thought that getting outside and shooting the basketball would make me a great basketball player.  Rather than hitting the gym when I wanted to get better, I just shot some hoops.  I have realized that strength is crucial.  Strength training would have allowed me to have more confidence while I was playing in the post.  Instead, I got man-handled pretty much all the time.  I had no control because I was over-powered by everyone.  Also, because I never really focused on strength training, I always come up just a little short on my jump because I lacked the strength in my legs.  This was a big fall-back for me.  I missed rebounds, I could never dunk, and I couldn’t push off hard enough.
  3. Last but not least… Play with people who are better than you.  Being a grown-up now, I can pretty much man-handle any kids in basketball.  But who cares?  That doesn’t help me get better.  When I was young, I never wanted to play against anyone older than me.  I guess it is because I was afraid.  If I had spent more time playing with people who are older and better, I would have had to push myself harder and I think that I would have been a lot better.  I have recently started picking up soccer.  I am probably the worst player in the group that I play with.  I am picked last in every game.  But, my game is improving more than anyone else.  If I had learned this when I was young, I think that I might have been a better athlete.

I love sports.  I enjoy playing any sport.  Among my favorites are basketball, soccer, and football.  While I don’t claim to be extremely good at any of these sports, I look forward to improving.  It’s too bad that I didn’t realize how to be a better athlete when I was younger.  But there is a saying that is heard a lot in sports… never give up.  So I will continue to play and get better.


Wade Boden is the Artwork Director of Robbins Sports, an online resource for Basketball Uniforms, Soccer Uniforms, and Football Uniforms.