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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pack Your Bag BEFORE You Need It

We’ve all been there… your alarm goes off and you hit snooze, only you think you have hit snooze when in reality you have turned the buzzer off for the day.

Slowly you open your eyes to check the clock and realize you have overslept. Frantically, you get out of bed and get yourself ready for work in record time.

But what about your rec basketball game tonight, right after work. You don’t have time to scramble around looking for all your gear, but luckily you had prepared the night before.

For reasons like these it is always a good idea to have all your sports gear in a general area and ready to go. For basketball you will probably want to know where the following are located, so in case your alarm doesn’t go off, or you snooze one too many times, you know where all your stuff is.

  1. Shoes. Obviously an important part of you basketball game are your shoes. If you have ever tried to play hoops in running or other shoes, you know how easy it is to sprain an ankle. Always have your shoes handy. If you are looking for the latest pair of shoes check out the sales at Footlocker.com where you can receive up 35% off basketball shoes
  2. Shorts. This may seem like another obvious, but the right pair of shorts are essential when playing hoops. When I was playing middle school basketball I came to practice one day wearing athletic shorts, and got pulled aside and told to wear a different pair the following practice. The issue? Pockets. Since the competitors of a basketball game are so close, there is a potential to get your hands caught in the pockets of someone’s shorts. So since that 7th grade practice I have always made sure that I have a durable, good pair of pocketless shorts for any type of sport where someone’s hands can get caught and wrist can get broken. If you need a new pair of shorts, check out the Champs Sports Nike Sale.
  3. Socks. With all the jumping in basketball, your feet take a lot of abuse, so you should protect them as well as you can. I always wear cushioned socks specially designed for basketball when playing to give my feet that extra layer of comfort. The socks are pricier than standard tube socks, but the relief on your feet is worth every penny.
  4. Ball. Even if your gym provides balls to shoot around with, they may not be in the best shape, so I always bring a ball with me when I go. If nothing else, it gives me the opportunity to shoot against the wall or warm up dribbling if the courts are taken and/or the balls are locked away. One important piece of advice is to clearly write your name on the ball in a permanent marker (Sharpies work the best). I played at a gym recently that only supplied the exact same type of ball I brought. Had my name not been imprinted on the ball, I would have lost it in the chaos. Another tip is to make sure that if you have an indoor ball, to only play with it inside and not scuff it up dribbling on concrete or gravel.
  5. Basketball pump. Speaking of basketballs, if you are carrying a basketball you might also want to bring a basketball pump. The basketball pump would always go wherever the basketball goes. If you have one handy then if your ball has deflated, or one of your teammates balls has, you can easily inflate it and get back to practicing your jumpers.
  6. Water. Whether you buy bottled water, or just bring a Nalgene, it has always been my experience that bringing your own is much easier than hitting up the water fountain. Think about when the halftime buzzer sounds and everyone rushes to the water fountain, you don’t really want to stand in that line, do you? Waiting for a drink while the other players slurp it up is never fun… plus the smell of the other guys. WHEW. Instead, if you have your own water handy, you will be just fine and hydrated. And if you keep if next to or behind the bench, you will have easy access as you sub out.
  7. Towel. When you leave the game, either as a sub or during a timeout, it is always nice to dry your face and arms. I always bring a towel with me to get the sweat out of my eyes and to generally dry off. You can decide on the size of the towel, but I have found that a hand towel is better and more convenient than a bath towel.
  8. Change of clothes. There is nothing I hate worse than putting on a sweatshirt over my sweaty t-shirt and hopping into the car to drive home. Your back feels icky pressed between your body and the seat…. That is why I always bring a dry t-shirt and an extra pair of socks with me to every game. Changing out of the sweaty ones and into dry ones feels like heaven some days, especially when the wind chill outside would freeze your sweaty shirt to your back.
  9. Ankle brace. A few years ago I landed on top of someone’s foot as I was coming down with a rebound. Not a fun time. It took my ankle a month or two to get better, but since that time I have laced up an ankle brace inside my shoe for that extra stability. Until you have a really bad ankle twist, this may not seem like an important item to have, but once you have felt that pain, and have not been able to walk for a week, you will understand.
  10. A bag. You would look like a wondering homeless person if you showed up to the gym holding all the above items in your hands. You need a good reliable bag to transport all this with you. Besides the convenience of the carrying all your stuff, the bag gives you a area to place your keys, wallet and cell phone.

This may seem like a long list, but most of these items are small enough that you won’t be hindered by their presence. And only a few of these things ever need washed, so essentially you can just leave your bag in your sports closet or by your back door when you get back from a game, and it will be ready in no time the next time your alarm fails to wake you.

If there are other articles you cannot play hoops without having tell us about it in the comments section.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

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