Being a Freshman on Varsity – My Basketball Anxiety

 

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Trevor Huffman on Basketball Anxiety

 

Being a Freshman on Varsity: My Basketball Anxiety

“You aren’t worth a damn.”

Breathe.

“You are going to lose.”

Breathe.

“Do you even belong here?”

I slammed the bathroom door behind me and sat on the toilet. As my monkey mind chattered away (I called it my monkey mind because it is that voice that never stops talking), I realized how excited, anxious, and negative I felt. Really, at any moment, I could pass out. And tonight was a big night for me. It was something I had worked really hard to make happen. Unfortunately, this process came with gut-riddling nausea, cold sweats, and racing thoughts.  

Granted, I was a freshman playing in my first varsity game. It had been a dream of mine since I was in seventh grade. But death was above me pounding their feet into a wooden floor. The fans had a certain rhythm, like a hundred thousand soldiers slamming their swords into their shields at once.  I knew up there, on the court, fanatics were waiting for me to fail, standing vigil over their team with judging eyes.

But that’s what anxiety does to you before battle. It makes you think about every single angle, every single move, every single opponent, every strength and weakness and it loops in your head like a video on repeat. I couldn’t sleep the night before and when I woke up in the morning to eat my Frosted Flakes, my hands were cold, white, and shaky as I spooned the cereal into my mouth. My stomach churned. My mom was talking to me, but I didn’t hear what she was saying.

I was obsessing about the game.

Looking back now, at 37, after 22 years of having a basketball in my hand every day, I’m able to understand things that I wasn’t able to when I was younger. See, it wasn’t all anxiety. It was excitement too. It was this nervous excitement to do something I loved. And it was this battle between allowing nervousness and anxiety to swing back and forth like a pendulum and still move forward through it that mattered.

Some people may call this existential decisiveness– moving through the crossroads of anxiety, fear, and nervous excitement through action and meaning.

Fast forward to that infamous first-game-day in St. Ignace, Michigan. We were playing a team ranked in the top ten in Class C basketball. I had just been called up from JV because our senior guard had a sprained ankle, which meant, I would have to play.

The bus ride from Petoskey to St. Ignace seemed like eternal purgatory. The toilet episode had my older brother (a volatile all-state power forward) wondering where I went. And as I ran onto the court and heard the boos, and jeers, and cheers, I could literally feel the heat and energy of a packed gym, feel the unseen hope of thousands of people during that silent moment before the national anthem.

The music was always my cue to breathe and relax, shut my eyes and know everything would be all right– win or lose, fail or succeed, bomb or ace. It was when the music played that I shut my eyes, prayed and repeated bible quotes like: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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Yet, even after my eyes opened, I hoped I was strong enough to run onto the court when Coach called my name. But there was so much meaning for me to play in the game that night, in fact, to play basketball every night. Maybe it was moving away from my dad (my mom had custody) and wanting to show him I was worth that long drive to visit us from Flint. Maybe it was wanting my mom to see me succeed and face our fears. Maybe it was my younger brother Damon (of six years) and his white puffy hair, as he idled by, watching me with gargantuan eyes and an admiring smile. Maybe it was my older brother Jeremy, who played power forward on varsity and had always been tough on me, preparing me for this moment.

Maybe it was the notecard I had made as a seventh grader and pinned to my ceiling that reminded me of my goals:

Play varsity basketball as a freshman with Jeremy.

Workout twice a day with basketball.

Win a state championship.

Play professional basketball in Europe.

————-

This morning, at age 37, in my effort to attach meaning to my new life after basketball, I’m reading notes about Eric Maisel’s book Mastering Creative Anxiety. It is a great book in helping understand why we have anxiety and how to deal with it.

I think about myself as a kid, that teenager that felt like he is awaiting the executioner block. 

That is anxiety.

Procrastinating, worrying, obsessing, and fretting over the blank page of my next game was in many ways like what anyone feels when they want to do something creative, something that matters to them,  something aligned with their purpose, authentic expression, and future.

This could be writing a book. Finishing a painting. Getting a workout in. Playing in a game. Going to get a new degree. Going to work. Finishing a speech. Quitting your job. Giving a speech. Coaching. Creating and teaching a curriculum you believe in. 

As Brian Johnson, one of my favorite collector of motivation and inspirational books says:

  1. Ask what matters to you?
  2. Are your thoughts aligned with what matters to you?
  3. Are your behaviors aligned with what matters to you?
  4. How can I make myself proud?

Good luck out there and stay inspired.

— Trevor Huffman

Traverse City Basketball | Trevor Huffman Basketball Academy | Fall/Winter 2016

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Last week in Traverse City at my Trevor Huffman Basketball Academies, I challenged players to start understanding work ethic and the victor versus victim mindset.

What players can consistently work hard without a coach around and be aware of their actions and know how to auto-correct them from day to day?

What is the victor and victim mindset and what does it sound like in your own head?

I’d rather have a Northern Michigan player work smart and hard for seven days a week by themselves or a teammate than work hard for one day with me.

I challenged players to turn the victim switch mindset off and we all know it– parents, coaches, players– that little voice that complains, blames, and finds the easy way out.

Yet, not all of us are aware of it. Not parents. Not coaches. Not kids.

The goal is to learn about what it is, to start to listen and be aware of that resistant voice that tells you instead of doing something powerful, energetic, ambitious, hard, or something that is aligned and weaved into your dreams, aspirations, and goals, it tells you to be comfortable, to sit on the couch, to eat those chips, to not do anything because you are too sore, too tired, too hungry, too old, too dumb, too anything.

Victim mindset.

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Victors hear that victim voice and rise to the challenge. They rise against the fear and prove to themselves they can take the smallest of steps to achieve their goals.

Trevor Huffman (twitter)

Traverse City basketball is off to a rocking start with the Trevor Huffman Basketball Academy. Trevor has played 12 years of professional basketball and loves to inspire, teach, and lead kids to create work ethic, basketball skills, and self-awareness about what it takes to have success on and off the court.

 

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Traverse City Basketball Academy with Trevor Huffman

You can find all of Trevor Huffman’s Basketball Academies here in Traverse City, Michigan for Fall/Winter 2016.

WHO IS TREVOR HUFFMAN and WHY TRAVERSE CITY?

A 12-year professional point guard from Northern Michigan understands the time, work, and energy it takes to be successful at the game of basketball.

As the all-time leading scorer and mid-major All-American at D1 Kent State University, Trevor Huffman has taught, inspired, and coached youth at his Trevor Huffman Basketball Academies for over 10 years.

Traverse City Trevor Huffman Basketball Academy will:

  • Breaks down basketball movements in a micro and macro manner. Teaching players how to instinctually read the game better, be a better teammate, but also develop faster, more explosive, and better individual basketball skills.
  • Teaches players how to become better leaders on and off the court, how to incorporate  individual work ethic, radical personal self-reliance, and responsibility into their lives through self-awareness.

Traverse City Basketball: Fall 2016 Sundays

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Traverse City: Basketball Fall 2016

Starting in Traverse City, the Trevor Huffman Basketball Academies, players will learn how to move with and without a basketball through radical basketball skill training drills, compete against themselves and others in Traverse City, learn how to play basketball through building personal work ethic, mental leadership skills, and self-awareness.

Follow Trevor on Instagram for updated Traverse City basketball fliers, inspirational stories, basketball workouts, training programs and more.

TRAVERSE CITY: THBA Basketball Workouts include:

  • developmental sports performance techniques
  • speed, agility, quickness with / without a basketball
  • teaching how to develop and use basketball moves in micro/macro manner
  • playing fundamental high I.Q. basketball through programming youth players to be accountable for their play
  • high reps and live one one, two on two, three on three play for faster learning

 

Pay Online for Traverse City Basketball Sundays!

 

 

My Best Sports Blog – September 2016: Courage and Beating Lebron James

 

 

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Beating Lebron- My Best Sports Blog for 2016

 

 

When the King, Lebron James rips through and drives left, there is one thing that every basketball player should have: courage.

And so it begins. My professional basketball career was a dream that I worked hard to achieve and playing Lebron James was proof of my courage paying off. Because getting paid to do what you love doesn’t happen overnight.

Not for me, not for Lebron, not for anyone.

So ask this: What does the basketball world need from you? What can you give it? How do you get there? What do you need to really make dreams come true?

COURAGE.

Here’s a quote I love from Jeff Goins: “Successful people and organizations don’t succeed in spite of failure. They succeed because of it. … The world can be cruel. It’s nobody’s responsibility to make your dream come true.

Let me repeat that. It’s not my responsibility, or anyone else’s responsibility to make your dream come true. By taking responsibility, you will attract people that will give you help along the way.

My off-season basketball training workouts and having the courage to completely give myself to a basketball workout plan, to fail against better players, essentially allowed me to succeed by learning new skills and adapting my game by attracting coaches, trainers, and peers that wanted the same thing.

Oops, I forgot, Lebron is going by me!

“Help, help–” I yell.

Nene Hilario steps over to slow him down and I slip in front of Romeo Travis for the dump down pass.

Lebron is already anticipating this, slows his attack, keeps his head up and glides a ball into the spot where I was moving out of– an overhead pass that flips out of his hand like a pebble from a trebuchet.

The ball slams into the pulled back bleachers.

Basketball Theory 101 (with Lebron James):

Rule 1: Move to open spot for Lebron James, or in the line of sight with the driver, and give him a target.

Rule 2: If you don’t do Rule 1, tell Lebron, “My Bad.”

Not that I’m complaining at this point, it’s our ball and our defense is holding on for stops. I love playing help-side, watching the ball and man move, being ready to drop down for an easy steal or deflection to help my teammate that is beat off the dribble.

My coach in high school, Dennis Starkey (Michigan Hall of Famer) used to call these championship plays.

“Just because your beat, doesn’t mean your out of the play,” Coach Starkey would yell.

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My Best Sports Blog – September 2016

 

Since high school, I was never ranked, never recruited, and no one thought I could play division one basketball. To get better, I knew I needed to find players that were better or higher ranked than me.  I went to Flint, Michigan. I went to Detroit. I went to Grand Rapids. I found talented players and competed against them.

As I got to the pros, I was competing against players like Lebron James, or Nene Hilario or Stephon Marbury, or Amare Stoudamire, or Jason Kidd, or Leandro Barbosa, or Penny Hardaway, or Shawn Marion, and suddenly, I realized how important my basketball workouts are.

Well planned basketball workouts prepare you for the season. They prepare you to become a hard worker, a better athlete, and a better person and player on and off the court. I am always teaching players at my basketball academies that it’s okay to compete like hell and lose.

We all have bad moments, bad workouts, or get nervous, or choke, or lose big games.

But real competitors just keep coming at you. They keep moving forward with courage, stick to their basketball workout plan and don’t quit.

Playing against Lebron James makes you realize how important your basketball workouts are, how focused and purposeful you have to be in your training to have any success.

Suddenly, D2 passes me the ball and I dribble it up into a drag screen with Nene. He slides to the hoop effortlessly, sucking in the help side like a vacuum. I kick it for a three in the corner.

We are winning three points to one.

As I’m running back on defense, an epiphany hits me, Nene Hilario is basically the Brazilian dude Blanca from the video game Street Fighter. He is flying around, rotating, blocking shots, doubling Lebron on the post, and making guys miss shots.

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I love the way Nene plays and holds himself: his huge white grin, his bad English, and his positive energy. I’m realizing everything is happening faster than normal due to Lebron and Nene being on the court. Every decision is a half second faster. Every loose ball is in danger. Every offensive rebound is a possible tip dunk.

With these guys on the court, no one is safe.

 

Lebron sprints past me dribbling the ball. It’s remarkable. He is so damn fast, I honestly think he can beat Usain Bolt. But Nene keeps finding ways to get in front of him. As Nene sucks up another rebound like a gargantuan troll and whips an overhead pass out to my younger brother, something bad happens.

Unfortunately for D2, it’s slightly behind him.

D2 glances up and does something no one should ever do.

He steps in front of an oncoming Lebron James and waits.

Now, maybe this was from his years and years of playing me in one on one and learning in the fiery forges of failure how to give up your body for the success of your team.

Goodbye, young brother. Oh, how I’ll miss you.

WHY COURAGE IS IMPORTANT IN SPORTS AND BASKETBALL

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Courage in Sports: The How of Courage in your Basketball Training

Hearing Lebron hit my brother was probably much like the sound a pancake makes when it’s dropped from a skyscraper. As Lebron is dragging him between his legs trying to slow down, my brother crumples and falls limp onto the ground.

I admire that about my brother. I admire his ability to put his body on the line to win. It’s what makes athletics and competing fun. Not everyone is born for this. We practice this quality of courage, day after day, and when we are sore, beat up, and broken down, we decide to get up and put our body on the line again.

Real athletes don’t realize how hard it is for normal people to do this, how much courage it takes to eat right, recover right, and find a way to train or practice again the next day. The beauty of sports is the mental game it takes to be successful.

If you aren’t having success with basketball, maybe you are approaching it the wrong way.

“The more we focus on solving other people’s problems, the more successful we will be.” ~ Chris Guillebeau

Maybe a question you can ask is: How can I make others look brilliant on and off the court like Lebron James?

I look over as Lebron tries to peel my younger brother up.

“You good?” Lebron asks. “C’mon man, get up.”

D2 shuts his eyes for a moment and then opens them again.

“I’m good–I’m good… they called a foul right?”

Lebron grins and we all start chuckling.

Nene is shaking his head, saying something in Portuguese and then we inbound the ball and are off and running again. It’s fun to run the point against Lebron. I try to attack with him on the strong side because Lebron helping from the weak side makes any pass a possible turnover.

 

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PASS THE BALL!

 

Nene Hilario isn’t picking and popping or shooting threes. He is rim running and rim dunking. Running a pick and roll with Nene Hilario is like throwing a basketball into orbit and watching it get sucked into a black hole.

Which is so damn fun.

I mean, it makes me feel like a real life John Stockton. I mean every pass I can get within his vicinity is caught. Then after he catches it, he spins or bull charges his way to the rim and dunks or finishes or steamrolls every man, woman, and child in his path.

Nothing makes it out of Blanca’s electric slide, not even Lebron James.

Zap.

Dunk.

Kablam.

We start building a lead. D2 is playing solid defense but hasn’t shot yet. I keep yelling at him to be a threat on offense (side note, if you can’t be a threat on offense, you are being selfish, it just makes it harder for the other four guys to do their thing).

The first game goes to us. The second game goes to us. The third. The fourth. The fifth. And fuming, focused Lebron hasn’t left the court. He keeps putting new teams together that may fit well with him.

Until game six starts. We are getting tired and Lebron is still flying up and down the court like a hyper gargantuan albatross. The momentum is changing and we can’t keep up. The King flies in from the weak side and dunks it with two hands and Nene, our defensive stalwart, puts his head down.

No wide white toothed smile this time.

No Blanca electric slide.

Our defensive lanes are opening up and they start rattling off easy point after easy point. That momentum that had been ours is now gone. I try to double Lebron in the post on game point and he spins by me on the baseline, bumping me off like a monster truck in the bumper car ride at the fair.

Earlier that week, I had just gotten up 275 pounds on the bench press, something I had been focusing on in my Tim Grover sports performance workouts.

I grab his arm as he takes off and he just takes me with him.

And one dunk to end the game.

The game is over and Lebron beats his chest to an imaginary crowd. He loves winning. He is a competitor. He keeps coming at you. Win or lose. And even better, he wants to win every moment of every game.

Lebron’s body, power, and athleticism are something out of a sci-fi movie. He is like playing NBA2k with the turbo button.

I feel honored to have played with him.

“Good game Bron,” I hear my brother say. Lebron daps him with a big fist pound.

“You all right?”

“Yeah, you rung my bell, but I’m fine.”

I dap a few of the players.

I dap Lebron.

I walk off the court and dap my teammates. I am already analyzing what we could have done differently. Maybe we should have forced him middle on the double? Maybe we should have fouled them in their open court situations to stop their transition?

Maybe, at this young age, Lebron is already starting to understand and analyze winning, how to train, workout, and compete. Lebron is an old basketball soul in one of the world’s most athletic bodies ever created.

I realize I’m staring directly at him and shake my head.

Man, he is so friggin’ good.

“Good work fellas, come back again,” Lebron says.

“Thanks for having us,” I say.

King James flashes his smile and walks back onto the court. “Who’s on next?” he yells.

I will never play against Lebron James again, but I know beating him felt good. I jog over to my younger brother.

“You okay?”

“I’m good.”

“You have fun?”

D2, my younger brother, the first player I ever trained and coached, grins as sweat drips down his forehead.

“Of course.”

“Well, why didn’t you shoot?”

“We were winning– and like you always said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Touche D2. Touche.

It takes courage to know what your team needs to win. It takes courage to show up day after day. It takes courage to fail, pivot your strategy, and keep moving forward. But day after day, your courage strengthens, your resolve strengthens, and ultimately, so does your game.

TREVOR HUFFMAN BASKETBALL TRAINING POINTS :

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  1. HAVE A BASKETBALL WORKOUT PLAN THAT PAYS ATTENTION TO SMALL DETAILS, CORRECT FORM, AND CHALLENGES YOU TO PRACTICE AND ADAPT FOR REAL-LIFE GAME SITUATIONS.

  2. PLAY AGAINST PLAYERS (LIKE LEBRON JAMES) THAT ARE BETTER, TALLER, FASTER, AND MORE ATHLETIC THAN YOU, MORE RECRUITED THAN YOU, FASTER THAN YOU, HIGHER RANKED THAN YOU. THEN GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD AND START TRAINING / PLAYING MORE.

  3. HAVE THE COURAGE TO PUSH YOURSELF ON AND OFF THE COURT TO BECOME A BETTER PLAYER, PERSON, AND LEADER. DELIBERATELY FOCUS (WHEN YOU TRAIN OR PLAY) ON SKILLS OR CONCEPTS YOU ARE TRYING TO IMPROVE UPON.  BE FEARLESS. DON’T QUIT WHEN YOU GET PUNCHED IN THE MOUTH, INSTEAD ASK YOURSELF: HOW CAN YOU MAKE OTHERS AROUND YOU BETTER.

 

Trevor Huffman Basketball: 2016 Sports Blog

The plane door closes and I’m off again. I move to my window seat. 32D. A fat man in a suit with chubby fingers texts a client and I slide past him. I’m flying to a new country. My wanderlust has struck again. It is the Caribbean this time. Costa Rica. I want to invest in real estate. After 20 years of serious f’ing basketball, serious f’ing training, I’m trying to start the next stage of my life.

I have these ideas that start to take form and I must figure them out. I figure the Caribbean is as good a place as any to start, but really, what am I doing?

I must deliberately practice exploring things I’m interested in. I have the rumblings of new dreams and I don’t always know what and how to start.

See, with basketball, I knew what to do day in and day out. I knew what my basketball workouts should look like, feel like, and what the point of it all was. I can look at a player  and usually in 15 minutes of training or competition, I can tell you what they are missing to be successful at the next level.

 

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What’s after basketball?

 

I analyzed basketball my whole life. Movement. Basketball workouts. Skill training. How to play better. Anything and everything basketball.

And now basketball is over.

But is it? The journey taught me something and like a great mystery, I want to uncover it, sniff out the truth. I want to do something that I’m equally passionate about, much like I felt when I was playing professional basketball. I don’t want to sell stuff I’m not passionate about. I don’t want to get fat and sit on a phone talking to buyers and sellers.

That’s why I built this site. I figured having cool pictures, pro athletes, and honest sports conversations would bring the bazillions of people that want to find out what you do after you play professional basketball for 12 years in Europe, the NBA (hey, a month counts right?), and beyond.

Truthfully, maybe you will find my journey around Europe, traveling, sailing around the Caribbean, training hungry basketball players or any of the dreams that I continue to go after post basketball, interesting.

Or maybe I’ll learn something from you, just like you learned something from me.

Please stay tuned!

 

 

Life After Basketball: 2016 Best Athlete -Sports Blog

Give me the key.

I don’t have it. There are days when I want my own space, but then again, where is that space supposed to be. I have lived from a backpack for so long it almost feels suffocating to be stationary for too long. My meditation practice doesn’t always help, and I lose sight of my practices, internal and external with the onslaught of new events, booze, and sleeping in.

I feel guilt for not knowing at times and remind myself that my path is one of creation. Could I get a job? Yes. I could. I could work for someone else and make money, but what is the point of that– I am surviving without mindless jobs.

Having a stable location would possibly help me find out if getting a 9-5 job would help me understand that the key is inside me, but I believe the real issue is existing between non-purpose and true purpose.

The key is probably so simple. It is probably just sitting there invisible right in front of me, with every breath of gratitude and awareness, yet I am programmed and conditioned to not turn it.

 

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Life After Basketball? More of the stuff that my basketball path taught me.

 

The illusion of money and happiness and suffering spin me around and I prefer to feel happiness and gratitude, so why is it that I feel suffering or pain or sadness every morning before the day starts and I can begin anew?

Basketball has created a path for me. It has cleared away fiscal debt and years of success and identity, but now as I look behind me I see a forest I already walked through and in front of me, I see a desert I don’t know in which direction to walk.

A mirage shakes in the distance and my legs stumble. I go back to doing things that make me recognize my old self. A coaching lesson here. A basketball tip here. I smile and think of my old self and feel brave and stupid for trying to move on from something I was.

But the work became heavy. It became hard on my body. My ankles cracked and swelled every morning. I had won everything I wanted to win.

What else is there? Money? The challenge of being a basketball player?

The betrayal of one professional European club lead to the idea of retirement and logically it made sense. One day I want to run with my kids, I want to climb mountains, I want to let go.

Letting go isn’t easy, starting over isn’t easy, but I know it starts with having the key and turning it as often as you can.