As basketball season is now in full swing around Brandon, this means endless practices, scrimmages and tournaments for any high school student involved with the sport.
Aside from all the hard work and time put in by these students, many of the varsity basketball players at Neelin are giving up their free-time to help out and mentor junior varsity players and give them some extra advice.
As part of the JV team myself, I think there are many benefits to having these veteran players help us out and give their input.
The varsity team is more experienced and has been playing for longer so its members are able to tell us useful things to make us better players. They help us with everything from our shooting stance, to knowing which plays to make and when to make them. The coaches are helpful, but sometimes it is easier to relate to players who are closer to our age.
Basketball is a fast-paced sport that involves a lot of quick thinking and learning what to do before it comes time to do it, which isn’t always easy. Therefore, having the varsity team giving us tips and advice that they have gotten over the years, helps us enhance our basketball skills and it also gives us future advice to pass down.
Having a basketball mentor is not only good to make us better players, but also to give us more confidence in ourselves while we are playing. It is helpful to have someone who notices what you do well and what you need to work on because sometimes you don’t necessarily notice your strengths and weaknesses when playing sports. Our mentors help us set individual goals for ourselves as well as sharing their own tips and goals with us.
This experience can be very beneficial for the mentor as well. Being able to share your knowledge with others can be rewarding especially if the students/players you are mentoring learn something from you.
Helping out is also a good way to reflect on your own skills and maybe learn something new about yourself or some different techniques you didn’t know before.
A good mentor possesses certain characteristics. In my opinion, they should be patient and non-judgmental so that the mentee knows that it is OK to make mistakes and the mentor will help them improve in those areas. They should also be someone who can be a role model and who enjoys working and getting to know you while increasing your skills and expanding your knowledge. I also find it helpful when mentors take an interest in actually wanting to help you get better and trying their hardest to connect with you in a way so that you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and personal goals with them.
For the mentoring sessions it has been either one varsity player with two JV players or one varsity with three JV players. This year, the Neelin junior varsity basketball team is made up of Grade 9 and Grade 10 students as there is no freshman team for Grade 9 students.
The benefits of mentoring or having a mentor are endless; it is a great experience for both people and can have a huge impact on your life and theirs.
Since working with our mentors, Neelin’s junior varsity basketball team has improved and is continuing to get better because of the new learning opportunities that have been available for our team this year.
» Taylor Foxon is a Grade 10 student at Neelin High School.