Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Being Mindful of Diet and Nutrition During Tryouts For Premier Hoops

As we have discussed in previous posts, there are many important factors that go into performing well during basketball tryouts.  One thing we haven’t discussed is how nutrition and diet relate to performance.  These are areas which are often overlooked by young athletes.

Athletic diets are different than “normal diets” as an athlete typically requires more calories and carbohydrates than normal individuals.  This is due to the fact that more energy is burned and more cell and muscle recovery is needed.  Be aware of your body and notice how you feel after eating certain meals. 

I highly recommend acquiring a scale and weighing yourself on a weekly basis.  One of the ways I have maintained a consistent weight throughout the years is by keeping a log of my weight.  I typically weigh myself on a Friday.  Friday is typically a good day to weigh yourself because it gives an accurate portrayal of how you have done for the week with your diet.  If you slip up during the week with your diet and exercise, those numbers staring back at you on Friday morning will let you know.  It also gives you a good gauge for the weekend as individuals tend to splurge a bit more on the weekends, and might not consume the same foods you eat Monday through Friday. 

You have probably heard this a million times from adults, but eating more fruits and vegetables really does help.  Fruits and vegetables contain many anti-oxidants to keep your body healthy.  A healthier body means a more efficient body, which means you will see more results from your training in endurance and muscle building. 

When possible, eating more small meals throughout the day will help with your metabolism and with maintaining consistent energy without crashing.  Try and consume small, light meals before and after workouts. 

Also, try to limit your intake of foods that are fried and greasy and foods which contain a lot of sugar such as:

·         Potato chips/ fries

·         Donuts

·         Breakfast cereals

·         Meats that contain a fried batter

Don’t forget to drink water!  Water is the key to life and it is what our bodies contain the most of.  You can survive much longer without food than you can water, always keep that in mind with your diet.  Athletes who suffer from a lot of headaches are often not properly staying hydrated.  I recommend purchasing a reusable water bottle and always have it with you to drink throughout the day.  Dehydration can also lead to injuries and fatigue. 

Below is an all-star list of foods that athletes should be experimenting with while training:

·         Berries

·         Sweet Potatoes (this is a super food which has been said to contain the most vitamins of any food out there) I recommend trying them mashed

·         Oranges

·         Yogurt

·         Bananas

·         Oatmeal

·         Salmon

·         Tuna

·         Whole wheat pasta

·         Any type of green vegetable

·         Apples

·         Grapes

·         Lean chicken breast

·         Cottage cheese

·         Hard-boiled eggs

·         Peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread

I’m also a big fan of smoothies.  They are a great before or after workout meal and are not too heavy where you feel bloated during competition.

Try experimenting with some of these ideas and see how your body performs.  Also, keep in mind what type of athlete you want to become.  Are you looking to become stronger or faster?  I recommend that guards remain as lean as possible to retain speed and quickness.  If you are a forward or a center, you might want to consider increasing your weight to bang underneath the boards.

Good luck with your diets and feel free to share some of your favorite recipes. 


Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people.  Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Getting Introduced To New Teammates For Premier Hoops

Take a moment and stop asking the question, “Am I a good basketball player,” and begin asking the question, “Am I a good teammate?”  If you can learn how to become a good teammate, all of the other areas of basketball will take care of themselves.  

Ways To Be An Effective Teammate

  • Don’t Be Focused On Personal Statistics

Sometimes in life we get caught up by numbers.  How old we are, what grade we are in, how many friends we have, how much money we make per year, how many points we average per game?  Try and push those thoughts to the back of your mind.  Focus on areas such as, how many wins will my team have this season, how many games can I go without committing a turnover, how many good shots can I pass up to get great shots, how many teams practices will I miss throughout the entire season?  If you are out on the court consistently, the points, rebounds, and assists will add up on their own without forcing the issue.

  • Be Observant 

Once you get to know your teammates on a personal level, you will realize that they are human and they deal will real world problems just like you.  Maybe one of your teammates is having an off day because something happened at home or in school.  There are a number of ways you can help out.  Maybe you can be more vocal and be a leader.  Take charge during some of the drills and practices and help to get your teammates in the correct spots.  Maybe one of your teammates is struggling with their shot?  Be aware of that during the game and try and get them an open look.  Being a selfless player will bring rewards just like being a selfless person will.  

  • Pay Attention To Detail

Once you are on a team, it’s a long season.  Try and focus on the little things.  Try and make it to practice on time, or a little bit early.  Show your coaches and teammates that you are taking your role seriously.  Always have your uniform and accessories ready.  These might seem like small details, but having your uniform, socks, and sneakers ready to go for each game will increase your readiness to be successful.  When a coach is going over a play, pay attention to make sure you are always in the correct position.  Little things like learning inbounds plays go a long way with increasing your playing time.  

  • Be Ready, Always

You never know when it’s going to be your time to make a difference.  Mentally visualize yourself succeeding in different scenarios.  Be ready if you are coming off the bench and be mentally and physically ready if you are a starter.  Helping your team get off to a good start, or maintaining and increasing the lead, are all ways you can contribute to your team’s success.  Being on a team is like being part of a family.  When you are on a special team, everyone will look out for one another and care about you as a person and as a player.  Try to contribute to your team’s chemistry by being the best teammate you can be.  

Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people.  Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

New Hampshire Basketball Skills and Drills at Latitude Sports Club MethuenFor Premier Hoops !

Premier Hoops is proud to announce a new partnership with the Latitude Sports Club in Methuen, MA!  Premier Hoops will be bringing their award winning basketball training programs to the Latitude Sports Club in Methuen beginning this October.  Premier Hoops will be offering a free ball handling clinic for boys and girls in grades 1-12 to introduce the program to the area.  

Premier Hoops continues to expand their fundamental and skills training basketball programs across Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Premier Hoops excels at offering programs for all different ages, genders, and skill levels, and has dedicated and passionate staff eager to teach young people the game of basketball.  If you are a curious parent, or a young person looking for something to do, drop by the Latitude Sports Club in Methuen on Wednesday October 8, 2014 to see what Premier Hoops is all about.

Premier Hoops encourages individuals and families from the surrounding communities of Lawrence, North Andover, Salem, Andover, Haverhill, Pelham, Dracut, Windham, Atkinson, Tewksbury, Lowell, Plaistow, Hampstead, North Reading, and Billerica to visit Latitude Sports Club in Methuen, MA and check out the different and unique training programs offered by Premier Hoops.  Whether your child is an experienced basketball player, or someone looking to get introduced to a new sport for the upcoming school year, you will surely be impressed by the level of attention and coaching given to each player.  

If you are a basketball player who has some experience and played on on teams in the past, Premier Hoops is the perfect program to sharpen your skills.  Basketball season is quickly approaching and you want your skills and conditioning to be razor sharp in order to be prepared for tryouts.  

Please review the information listed below and feel free to visit 
https://premierhoopsters.com for further details.  

Date: October 8
Beginner 4:30-5:30pm for 1-2 Grade Boys and 2-3 Grade Girls
Intermediate 5:30-6:30pm for 3-6 Grade Boys and 4-7 Grade Girls
Elite 6:30-7:30pm for 7-12 Grade Boys and 8-12 Grade Girls
Location: 116 Pleasant Valley St, Methuen, MA 01844
Please fill out this form if you are planning on attending the free clinic: Premier Hoops Contact Form (CLICK HERE)
“6-Week Pre-Season Warm-Up Clinic”
Focus: Personal Skills Series - Ball-Handling, Shooting, Scrimmaging
Dates: 6 Wednesdays from October 15-Nov 19
Beginner 4:30-5:30pm for 1-2 Grade Boys and 2-3 Grade Girls

Intermediate 5:30-6:30pm for 3-6 Grade Boys and 4-7 Grade Girls
Elite 6:30-7:30pm for 7-12 Grade Boys and 8-12 Grade Girls
Location: 116 Pleasant Valley St, Methuen, MA 01844
Cost: $95
Please fill out this form and pay below: Premier Hoops Contact Form (CLICK HERE)


Basketball Training Camps Underway For Premier Hoops

NBA training camp opened up this past weekend as teams are set to begin the grind of another long season.  I always found it interesting to study training camps as coaches, general managers, and other front office executives try and put together a competitive team, (expect of course for the Philadelphia 76ers).  

The NBA is the most prestigious and competitive basketball league on the planet, however, a lot of the same strategies that the NBA uses in building teams is applied to teams at every level.  
Effective players are returning from the previous year trying to maintain or increase their roles.  These are the athletes that the coaching staff attempts to build the team around.  There will also be invitations to a host of other players to see if they can contribute and find a role which will propel the team to greater heights.  

Many high school, elementary, and middle school athletes go through the same grueling tryouts as professionals.  I recall going through tryouts as a high school basketball player, and even though I worked extremely hard, and thought I was prepared, I was not.  The cramps start to set in, and the pains around the lower waist intensify to the point where you are tugging at your shorts while waiting to run another suicide, or three-man weave.  

Being in the best shape possible is something which can rarely be done on your own.  If you examine some of the biggest stars in the NBA, they all have their own personal trainers and chefs to help to prepare and motivate them.  When training, sometimes you need to be pushed to the next level, and having someone examine your game with another set of eyes is the perfect place to begin.    

That’s why programs such as Premier Hoops are essential to helping basketball players maximize their talent and potential.  It’s extremely hard to duplicate in-game situations by practicing on your own, or by playing pick-up games.  Having structured environments which are created and monitored by “basketball lifers” are going to increase your chances of having a successful season.

It’s human nature to relax if you are the best player on your street, or in your neighborhood, but there is always someone out there who is better who is looking to take your spot, your position, your success.  Being really good at something sometimes just isn’t enough.  Maybe conditioning and fundamentals are the strongest parts of your game, but you struggle with authority and have a hard time trying to adjust when your coach keeps riding you? 

Being involved with a program like Premier Hoops well help in all areas of becoming a complete basketball player and a complete person.  Trained staff who are “basketball lifers” have been through every possible scenario which you might encounter.  Why not take the opportunity to listen to their advice and experiences, so you won;t have to suffer through a season where you are not getting along with coaches, and teammates, and are riding the pine.  

Going through training camp and tryouts is a physically and mentally grueling week which will test your personality and character.  Pay close attention to who succeeds and who fails during NBA Training Camp and see how you can learn from some of those mistakes to be successful.  Contact Premier Hoops to see how they can assist your professional development as an athlete.  Premier Hoops is holding some free upcoming sessions in the Methuen area, so make sure to drop by and check them out!

Please visit 


for more information. 

Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people.  Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Once Brothers, A Basketball Film Recommendation For Premier Hoops

Once Brothers is a sports documentary written and directed by Michael Tolajian.  It was released in 2010 and co-produced by NBA Entertainment and ESPN for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series.  Once Brothers is a basketball documentary, but it is also a story of friendship, war, and the grudges we keep in life which can be dictated by external factors.  

Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic were teammates on the Yugoslavian National Team which dominated Europe in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  The Yugoslavian National Team was Europe’s version of Showtime, as it featured athletic big man who could shoot and pass, and played the game with a cerebral intelligence and familiarity that few teams could compete with.  

Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic became the first foreign players to become stars in the NBA.  Divac was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and Petrovic was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers.  Divac found immediate success and popularity as he fit right in at center inside of the Lakers’ Showtime offense.  Petrovic on the other hand, struggled finding minutes behind Clyde Drexler and spent the majority of his time on the bench wondering what went wrong as Drazen was considered Europe’s greatest player at the time.  Divac and Petrovic would call each other on a daily basis to check-in on their professional and personal progress in the United States.  

Though Divac and Petrovic both played for the Yugoslavian National Team, Divac was from the Republic of Serbia and Petrovic was from the Republic of Croatia.  After a Yugoslavian National Team game, a fan ran onto the court promoting the Croatian flag.  In attempt to show that the team stood together as a united Yugoslavia, Divac ripped the Croatian flag out of the fans hands.  This act was viewed as disrespectful to Croatia and silently Drazen was angered by the jester.  As the two players returned to the United States for the upcoming NBA season, things were different.  Drazen became distant from Vlade, and did not return his calls and interact with him before games.  A civil war broke out between Serbia and Croatia which only added to the pressures of Drazen not to associate with Vlade.  Drazen returned home during the summer to play for the now Croatian National Team after having an all-star season with the New Jersey Nets.  Drazen and his girlfriend decided to drive to the following game after a practice.  Drazen ended up perishing in a car accident and him and Vlade never got to the opportunity to reconnect with one another and make amends.

Once Brothers documents Divac’s journey as he visits Croatia for the first time since Drazen’s death to visit his grave and his family.  Once Brothers is a great basketball film, but it is also a great social commentary.  As teammates, certain bonds and friendships are formed from rigorous travel while trying to conquer unfathomable goals.  This film reminds the viewers not to forget about those moments.  

I highly recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of the game of the basketball.   It’s also a great film to learn more out more about the tragic civil war between Serbia and Crotia and how fragile things can become in an instance.  If you are searching for a powerful basketball film, or are in need of material for your next school project, make sure to check out, Once Brothers.  

Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people.  Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

An Open Letter From Jasen Sousa To Supporters Regarding Upcoming 10th Publication

Friday September 5, 2014

Dear Supporters,

First off, I would like to thank each and every individual who has supported my efforts throughout the years.  For those not as familiar with my story, I founded J-Rock Publishing when I was 19-years-old as a small independent press which would give opportunities to young adults who were interested in getting involved in the publishing industry.  My knowledge of publishing and writing was very limited at the time, as I did not have much of a background in the arts or technology.  I was a jock who didn’t really care much about anything else in the world expect for basketball.  

However, as I continued to grow and be observant, I noticed there were strange things going on in my city, as well as other cities and communities around the world.  Young people didn’t have a voice, didn’t have job opportunities, and didn’t have the knowledge or networks to obtain the necessary skills to become successful adults within their desired professions.   

I also realized that many of my peers, including myself, did not like to read and came from generations of families where books and literature were not appreciated and respected in the home.  I began to write to deal with my own anger and frustration, and would bring poems and journal entries to friends who were spending time in different medical and correctional facilities in the area.

I came up with the idea to publish my first poetry collection, Life, Weather.  J-Rock Publishing functioned just like a large publishing house as I hired editors, usually young people from local colleges, built up a team of designers, purchased necessary ISBN and barcodes, and went on a marketing campaign to sell myself, my product, and my vision.  

The book was an instant hit with young readers as I traveled across the country with neighborhood friends, seeing the world, and telling my story, which also sounded a lot like the stories of other young people throughout the world.  

When I published Life, Weather, I was not in school at the time and was working odd jobs to fund my dream.  A faculty member from Emerson College saw the potential in it and encouraged me to get back into school and learn as much as I could about writing and publishing.  I was also fortunate to come into contact with other caring adults from the community who pushed and challenged me to become successful.   

This brought me on whirlwind journey where I would complete undergraduate and graduate school in a span of 6 years, all while working full-time jobs, writing books, and trying to get J-Rock Publishing off the ground.  

On November 28, 2014, I will release my tenth publication (9 poetry, 1 novel) DampnessDampness is a collection of poems I wrote over the past year, a year which brought much loss inside of my inner-circle.  Dampness will be dedicated in memory of two long-time childhood friends, Alex Foster, and Thomas Westcott.  

I want to thank each and every person who has displayed an interest in my journey and supported me along the way in some aspect, large or small.  My tenth publication is a milestone for me which details and documents over a decade of imagination, creativity, and an undeniable passion to keep going.

I have knocked down many doors along the way in this cut-throat publishing business, and I have many more to knock down.  All I know, and all I can promise, is that I will not quit.  I will not stop pursuing my goals and dreams as they are linked to the success and hope of every individual who has ever believed in what I do.    

It’s all about making change. I have given up a “normal life” and in the process have become a unique sociological experiment of what becomes of a human being who refuses to give in to the norms and values which society expects of me.  

I am truly greatly for every experience I have had over the past decade of being involved in the writing and publishing world.  It has allowed me to dream and think in ways which were once foreign to me.  I have lost a lot along the way, and it has not been easy at times to not give in and give up.   I have had to become robotic in certain aspects just to survive.  Who knows how it will all play it in the end?   All I can say is that I am satisfied to know that I have documented my life in a way which I hope will continue to reach deep inside the minds of my supporters. 

Until then, I am excited for my tenth publication, Dampness, on November 28, 2014, and even more excited for all which will come after.  


Jasen Sousa

Monday, September 1, 2014

Injuries For Premier Hoops

We have been discussing some of the best techniques and strategies that you can do to get ready for the upcoming basketball season.  One thing we haven’t spoken about is injuries and the difficult process of returning to action from a mild or major injury. 

During a recent scrimmage for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Indiana Pacers guard Paul George fractured his leg and will most likely be sidelined for the entire upcoming season.  Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls has worked hard, but has had a number of setbacks trying to return to his MVP level after injury.  Also, Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat is looking to rebound from an injury plagued season where he was on a maintenance program. 

Depending on the severity of the injury, it is important to figure out a strategy and a timeline for your rehabilitation and return to action.   

Let’s take a closer look at one of the most common basketball injuries, a sprained ankle.  There is a lot of technology out there with sneakers, but one thing no one has been able to solve is how to prevent a sprained ankle.  Undoubtedly, it will happen at some point during your basketball career as basketball is a game where athletes spend a lot of time up in the air and then landing in close proximity to one another. 

If you have played sports for a long time and have sprained an ankle in the past, you will be able to get a good feel of how bad the sprain is.  Always visit a doctor after spraining your ankle in order to get advice from a medical professional.    You also want to make sure you get an x-ray in order determine the severity of the sprain.  In basketball, most players will either get a high ankle sprain or a low ankle sprain.  Once you have sprained your ankle and the pain has subsided, reality is going to set in and you are most likely going to have to take it easy for a bit.

Here are some common suggestions for what to do after your sprain your ankle. 

Whenever you sprain your ankle, try and remember the acronym, R.I.C.E. 

Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. 

During some ankle sprains, an athlete might be able to get up and walk off the court.  However, if the injury is more severe, further movement and continuing to play could damage ligaments. 

Ice should be applied in 20-30 minute intervals for the first 2-4 hours of the injury.  Compressing the sprain with a bandage or wrap will help to reduce further swelling.  Keeping the ankle elevated will also help to reduce swelling and pain. 

It is almost impossible to prevent an ankle sprain, but there are a few things which can be done to prevent the severity of a sprain.  Wearing high top sneakers, wrapping ankles with sports tape, and wearing a brace are all techniques used to help to prevent the severity of an ankle sprain. 

If you are coming back from an injury, try and stay positive, and be ready to train hard when your time comes in order to get back to the level you were at before the injury.  Many basketball players who have sprained an ankle and have limited mobility, use the time to work on their jump shoot and free throw shooting.   Trying to find something positive out of a negative situation is a skill which you will suit you well in sports, and in life.