It’s the off-season for most young basketball players in the country right now and it makes me wonder what kids are doing with their time. I’m 38 years old and I still love playing basketball and working on my game. I also have serious regrets about how my basketball career went. I was one of the kids that worked hard on my game and even still, I wonder “what if” all the time. I wish so bad I could go back and do certain things different which makes me pose the question, what are you doing today to be a better player?

I ran into a High School friend of mine who decided that he didn’t want to play basketball his last year of High School. It’s been 20 years now and he still wishes he would’ve played. Why didn’t he play? He had a girlfriend at the time and was very into his social life. He wanted to have his freedom each day after school instead of being tied down with practice. 20 years later and it still bothers him. The girlfriend is long gone and he doesn’t even remember what he did after school. It probably consisted of watching television and playing video games.

What are you doing today to be a better player? What are you doing to insure that you won’t have any regrets 20 years from now? The opportunity to play organized basketball is a very short window in your life and you will most certainly look back in regret if you don’t take full advantage of it.

The best players do what they have to do and then move on with life. That means that they get up early and get the work in before doing anything else. Usually we prioritize what’s important to us in and effort to make sure the important things get done first. Get up in the morning and get to a gym. If you have an issue with conditioning, then get out and do something else. Do some jump-rope or organize some competitive scrimmage games. Do whatever you have to.

What did I do to be a better player? I spent my summers in a church gym in my strength shoes. I jumped and ran and shot until I couldn’t feel my arms or legs. I shot off the dribble, off a jump-stop and worked on both hands. Then I would go outside and run. I would run hills in my strength shoes until I wore them out. My motivation was getting that letter of intent that I had always dreamed of. I just wanted to sign with a Division I program.

When I signed with the University of Utah it was one of the best days of my life. It felt like all the work had paid off and was worth it. But actually that’s where my regret comes in. Once I signed I felt like I was done. I felt like I had arrived. I had spent so much time with that as my focus that I became content. I thought I was good enough but really I wasn’t. Set your sights on goals like scholarships but also set your sights on your potential and doing all that you can.

The bottom line is… living with regret is no fun. If you like basketball and you are good at it - give it the best you’ve got. You’re not going to have a young, strong and athletic body for the rest of your life. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’ve got all the time in the world and that you’ll get focused tomorrow. Tomorrow turns into next week, next week turns into next month and next month turns into next year. The window is too short for that.

Author's Bio: 

Brian Schofield is a former college basketball player that writes for Visit the site for more basketball tips to complete your game.