|9th Grade Son Almost Quit Basketball - Breakthrough Camps Changed That And Brought Tears To My Eyes (Also be sure to read my response on why you shouldn’t quit basketball.)
Loved that the kids were kept busy the entire time they were there and that they learned multiple skills.
My son (picture to the right with instructor Prileu Davis) is a freshman this year and did not get to play a lot during the basketball season. Basketball is the sport he loves and after a season of only playing 30 or 40 seconds a game he was about to give up. Two days at the Breakthrough Basketball Camp brought that love for basketball back! His attitude has totally changed and his confidence has improved so much! I cannot wait to see him put his new skills to work next season!
After seeing him at this camp it brought tears to my eyes. The love for the game that I know that he has was back!! I cannot wait to sign him up for the next camp and get him ready for next season!!
Dana Dille - Mt Gilead, OH - 10 Rating
Joe Haefner’s Response: Dana, we’re thrilled that we brought the passion back for your son and you were emotionally moved by this.
I’m also really glad that you brought up that your son was close to quitting basketball. This is very common. And I think it is a huge mistake. And I’d like to address this for many parents and athletes out there.
In fact, 70% of kids quit organized sports by age 13.
The terrible thing about this with basketball is really two-fold.
You can learn life lessons from sports...
The first reason is that basketball (and all sports) should be used as a tool by the coach and parents to teach valuable life lessons. With basketball, we have an instant connection and many of my best memories and “ah ha” moments came from my coaches. I think it’s a shame that so many kids miss out on these moments by quitting sports at what I perceive as too early of an age.
Basketball is a late developing sport....
The second is reason is more specific to basketball. Of the major sports in North America, behind American football, basketball is probably the latest developing sport.
This means that kids change a lot during their high school and college years. Some athletes get a lot better.
My brother Jeff who is co-founder of Breakthrough Basketball played on the C teams in 7th and 8th grade. He barely got any playing time his 9th grade year. However, by his senior year, he was the 6th man and made significant contributions.
The high school I attended in Anamosa, Iowa had a player this year that was on the C team in 7th and 8th grade. This year, he started for a team that placed 4th in the state.
I trained a player that got cut from the 6th team, as a 7th grader and now starts as a guard for a high school team.
Breakthrough’s coach development director Jim Huber coached a player by the name of David Kravish. He was cut from the team as a 9th grader. With hard work, he made the team the following year. He went on to have a great career at the University of California and was invited to tryouts for NBA teams.
Breakthrough author Bob Bigelow will tell you that he wasn’t even the best player on his team as a 9th grader. By his senior year, he was rated a top 50 player and played professionally in the NBA.
The world’s best players suffered setbacks in high school and college...
Michael Jordan was cut from the varsity team as a sophomore.
Bill Russell was 5’9 as a sophomore and quite bad. Later, he became one of the most dominant centers in NBA history winning numerous championships.
Stephen Curry wasn’t offered a scholarship by any power conference school.
Damian Lillard… same situation.
Shaq was cut from his 8th grade team.
Steve Nash didn’t start playing until he was 13 years old.
I could go on and on with more examples…
There are many reasons for this including...
- The coordination required to be successful at basketball varies greatly. Some kids pick up this coordination in college. Some pick it up in 5th grade. This requires patience, even more patience if you are tall.
- Maturation process. There is a 6 year window for a 13 year old boy. This means that some kids are as physically mature as a 16 year old. And some are as physically mature as a 10 year old. This gap takes time to close. So some kids are just too small and too weak to succeed… they need time to catch up.
Something you might say to your son or daughter...
I also believe that it’s important to point out that you can also teach your child life lessons from this. You can teach them how to handle adversity. Here is something I might say...
Okay, Steve (or Sandra). You didn’t achieve what you wanted this year. Did you know (fill in the blank - reference stories above) had similar problems?
Note: The last sentence is very important. Young kids rebel against what you tell them to do. If they feel like it’s their choice, they often make the right decision.
Also, what do you think the most successful people in the world in all aspects of life do when they are faced with a problem? Do you think they came up with solution and worked hard or do you think they said, “Life isn’t fair. I give up.”?
Yeah… you’re right. They stopped having the “poor me” mentality and worked their butts off. They stopped focusing on the problem. They became solution focused.
So you have a choice… you can quit when something gets difficult or you can come up with a solution and work towards that, solving the problem.
If you develop the habit of quitting when things get difficult, how do you think the rest of your life will look? If you don’t know, I advise you to go and ask successful athletes, teachers, coaches, dentists, doctors, and so on.
Also, it’s important to remember that life isn’t fair. You could work hard the next three years and not achieve your goals. But that doesn’t make you a failure.
You’re going to find athletes at all levels that are lazy and have poor habits, but their natural ability gives them the ability to succeed at the game.
There is a chance that some players on your team are like that.
Unfortunately, they will never reach their potential. And when the game ends, as it always does, these poor habits will take them down a very bad path.
And you might have more natural talent in other areas of life… you might be better at mathematics. Your might have more friends. It can be anything.
As long you gave your best effort and approached it with a good attitude, you will succeed in something way more important than basketball…. Life.
Basketball is just a game. It does not define you. It’s a small fraction of who you are.
Let me know what you want to do and I’m here to support you no matter what you decide.”
Also, from a psychological standpoint, when they feel like they take ownership and make the decision, they commit more to their choice.