Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Basketball Rotations = Playing Spades

This blog has featured opinions and advice from different writers in the past. The goal is to add additional information for readers. The following is from Phillip Gumbs, father of Rice guard, Elena Gumbs. Elena had a very successful high school career which included a trip to Austin. She played for one of the best club organizations in the country, TeamXpress, and had plenty of colleges vying for her services.


A parent’s perspective


Expectation Management


The time of year is finally here, the time when young ladies are receiving college offers, making commitments, and preparing to sign their National Letters of Intent (NLI) during the early signing period.  It’s a very exciting time for young ladies across the country, a time when the fruits of their labor are starting to show through, it can also be very frustrating, starting to feel pressure about making a life changing decision on their futures armed with insufficient information.  As a parent of a student athlete, I feel compelled to share part of the process I used, which can make your daughter’s transition to playing at the next level a smooth one.

The first step in this journey is Expectation Management.  As parents, it is our job to prepare our children to handle a variety of situations; our daughters have put in long hours in the gym and classrooms to perfect their basketball and academic skills, which have allowed them to achieve a certain level of success.  It is also our jobs to perfect their life skills as they move forward in the next phase of their careers by teaching them to manage their expectations.

We all believe our daughters are great basketball players, but how do they handle adversity?  Can they handle the first time a coach tells them they are not as good as they think they are?  Can they handle the possibility of limited to no playing time?  These are just a few situations all players have to deal with when entering a college program.  I call this the Spades principle; no it’s not the card game, but the similarities are striking when you put them in perspective.  Thirteen total books in spades, 13-15 players on a roster, so remember these numbers as your prepare your child for the next step, five, two and a possible, and five.


·         Five - the number of players on the floor at one time

·         Two and a possible - the number of players coming of the bench

·         Five - the remaining who may not receive any playing time


Remember, everyone is on scholarship, everyone was a star at her school/club program, and everyone is competing for a spot.  Take nothing for granted, prepare for the unexpected, and then ask, “Is my daughter prepared to handle one of these situations?”  If so, great, if not, start laying the foundation now, because once they leave, it’s too late.