I’m going to try and answer this question with the shortest blog perhaps I’ve ever written. What should 8th graders being doing to prepare for the next 6 months.
If your 8th grader is advanced get them in front of older more talented players as often as possible in a training environment. I do not believe 8th graders should play up in games unless it’s against legit older competition. Call me a snob, when I say play up. I mean vs D1 players. Otherwise I like a kid to play their own age and dominate, if they are as good as you think they are. It’s always shocking to me when kids are allowed to play up who don’t dominate their age group. That is 109% a ego trip and folks crowning kids.
This time of year, it’s important to expose your 8th grader to high school competition for a extended period of time. That’s because once the high school season starts that opportunity is gone. Why is that important? Because the moment you child’s grammar school season ends they are high school players. They must be prepared for the high school pace of play and strength adjustment. There is no way to mimic this, a kid must experience it. In the spring often kids go right into AAU and will not see real high school speed and strength until the first day of high school practice in June… MISTAKE!
Now here are the things kids can do once the high school season starts while your child is playing weaker grammar school competition( yet very important for your child’s social development) or hyped up AAU. Remember there are now AAU teams playing in the winter. They call the teams elite or some other special name to make your kid feel special or different from other kids. In most cases it just a way for AAU coaches to control their kids movements. Well newsflash it’s all still 8th grade basketball, no matter how they try to tell you how advanced and elite it is…so here is my advice
- Make sure you child shoots 7 days a week.. don’t skip days. Chart as often as possible
- Make sure they are training OUTSIDE their AAU environment 4 days week. Why? Because your child will already be with their AAU teams for 6 months during the year.
- Watch their future high school as often as possible .. YOU MUST MAKE NOTES!
- Start a strength and conditioning program with a proven organization or coach.. their TRACK RECORD MATTERS!
- Skill work is a must daily as often as possible
- Do not listen to those giving recruiting advice with NO TRACK RECORD
- Video is your best friend
The type of high school your child is attending is very important for you to know. If your child is going into a highly competitive environment, they better take advantage of the next 5 weeks. If your lucky enough to be in a NBS type program great. If not, you better find a gym with older talented players. If you child is not advanced… YET! Focus on competitive drills as often as possible. Stay away from Strictly drilling, teach them to play as well.