Stay Connected. Bridge the Gap.
They’re going home. Or by now, they’ve already gone home. If you’re not at a Division I school, they’ve likely been home for a long time now.
Technicalities and level aside, you are likely not with your players (unless you’re on a foreign trip). Sure, for some of you, that’s a good thing. Maybe you’re getting some much-needed time with family or a vacation before they come back to campus. Or maybe you’re using this as an opportunity to dive deeper into some aspect of the game or your program. After a long July, you deserve this time.
But make no mistake: This time could be an absolute disaster. That freshman big you’ve been trimming up all summer is going to get a little too much of mom’s cooking. One of your guards has a trainer who’s guaranteed to fool with his jumper. One of your sophomores is getting an earful from his buddies about how he needs to be starting this year or bounce out at semester.
This is the reality of The Gap, and if it doesn’t make you at least a little queasy, you’re probably underestimating how bad it can go. Those old habits are back, and their people are back in their ear. They’re telling your players that you just don’t understand, that you’re the problem. What you run offensively isn’t right for them, they lost minutes last year to someone they shouldn’t have, blah blah blah. Some of them aren’t working out at all, and (fast food joint here) is right around the corner.
Sure, your guys need a break, but there’s a lot that can go wrong. They need to hear from you—not all the time and not about basketball. With all the voices and distractions around, a simple text will do.
“Hey man, what’s going on?”
Because these guys have heard for years that college basketball is a business. Some guys have experienced this, and they very well might feel that way.
So reach out when you don’t have to. Ask them how they’re doing. Show them you care. It could go a long way in bridging that gap.