Basketball on the Edge – Is Your Young Player a Gym Rat?

In the world of basketball the term “Gym Rat” is a term of respect. A player who is constantly working on their game to the exclusion of other activities can be considered a Gym Rat, but there is more to it than that. What are some characteristics of a Gym Rat?

1. Spends time ALONE working on their game. Doesn’t need a parent, coach, or friend to get them motivated to get better.

2. Can and do work on their game anywhere, not just an air-conditioned gym. Check the basement, garage, playground, or driveway for Gym Rats.

3. Always seeking basketball knowledge. Could be through experience, reading, or coaching, but Gym Rats crave knowledge.

4. Gym Rats are active early in the morning before their competition is awake and late at night when their competition is hanging out or sleeping.

5. Gym Rats meet their obligations to family, school, church, etc. and then find ways to work on their game. Gym Rats are more resourceful than their competition.

6. A Gym Rat has a purpose in mind when they practice. Improve the weak hand, become a better three point shooter, become an 80% free throw shooter, shoot better off the dribble, etc… Gym Rats don’t just “shoot around”.

7. A Gym Rat is often unreachable. A Gym Rat doesn’t answer their phone on demand or respond immediately to text messages from friends. They are in the gym getting better for loooong stretches of time.

8. When a Gym Rat misses a training session they genuinely feel a sense of guilt. A Gym Rat never wants to fall behind their competition.

9. A Gym Rat has a “home court” where everyone expects them to be. People are surprised when the Gym Rat isn’t there. “Hey, where is GR? Oh, I’m sure he’s at the gym getting up shots!”

10. Gym Rats have great relationships with custodians and id checkers that allow them to get into their natural habitat (the gym) more easily.

11. Others players comment, “You’re always here” when they see a Gym Rat in the gym working on their game.

12. Spending 3 hours in the gym practicing seems like a completely normal thing to do and Gym Rats don’t understand why people think they’re strange.

13. When teachers ask a Gym Rat to name a list of things they can’t live without, a basketball is always in the top 3.

14. Gym Rats regularly skip or reschedule social activities to work on their game. A Gym Rat’s philosophy is basketball first, socialize later.

15. Gym Rats wonder what other players do with their lives when they say things like, “Why do you practice so much?” Seriously, what do they do?

Gym Rats are slowly becoming extinct. No one plays outside anymore, so long hours on the court winning game after game are rare. Smart phones, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, & Instagram eat up more and more of a young player’s time. Hanging with friends or the dating scene distracts potential Gym Rats. If a coach or parent doesn’t organize a practice, team, game, league, or tournament forget it. Only the most dedicated Gym Rats get after it on their own. There are plenty of opportunities to waste time and talk about being dedicated to the game. Gym Rats are always there, lights on, lights off working to maximize their skill set. Are you a Gym Rat?

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