Getting Selected to Play in the State Team
State Team selections are always challenging, especially in a state like Queensland which has exceptional talent and a large pool of quality athletes to select from. That large talent pool allows us to be as competitive as we are when we go away to Australian Junior Championships, which is a huge benefit. However, with such great talent comes the inevitable disappointment for some junior athletes at selection time. This blog has been designed with the intention of providing some insight into the thinking of a state team selection panel and to give you the best chance of being selected to represent Queensland.
Below I have listed four areas which have been identified as most relevant to selections. This is not a list of criteria for selection, more a general guide to some of the areas identified as important when we are evaluating talent.
At the end of the day, we are looking to select our most elite performers to play at the most elite junior tournaments in the country. That requires a level of ability and skill that can be successfully translated to the next level. In most cases, we are looking to select the athletes who display the greatest number of high-level skill attributes. The more attributes a player has, the more likely that player is to have the ability to execute under pressure.
*The caveat is an athlete who demonstrates an elite level specialist skill ie shooting, defending, winning*
BQ Style of Play & Understanding of Advanced Concepts
Basketball Queensland has a clearly defined style of play that we promote within our state team ranks. That style of play links in with our state team pillars to create a brand of basketball that Queensland is synonymous with around the country. Being familiar with these concepts of play is imperative and will assist you in being well prepared for state team selection.
Further to that, we are looking to select players who can demonstrate an understanding of the more advanced concepts that are relevant to the next level. As part of representing your state, your coaches will prepare you with scouting reports on opponents, video feedback on performances and a game plan that needs to be executed as close to perfectly as possible. To thrive in that environment, we require athletes who display a high basketball IQ and who can take advanced instruction and implement it seamlessly.
It’s not just about ability. A vital component of successful teams is how each individual contributes to the culture of the group. Some relevant questions around cultural fit are: Are you open to receiving feedback that is both positive and constructive? How do you interact with your teammates and coaches? Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset? How do you handle adversity? Do you present a professional and mature image off the court? Are you prepared to play a role that is defined by the coach and not you or your parents? Internal reflection in this space is paramount.
Toughness isn’t being the biggest, strongest or meanest. Toughness is both physical and mental. Toughness is the preparedness to consistently execute the less glamorous tasks. Are you prepared to put your body on the line and take a charge? Are you prepared to make multiple efforts on the same possession? Do you dive on loose balls? Do you set great screens? Do you compete at all times, in training and games? Do you get better when things get more difficult? The more times you answer ‘Yes’ to these questions, the more your chances of selection increase.
There is nothing greater than the feeling of being selected for something. It validates all of your hard work and provides you with an immediate boost of confidence and purpose. Conversely, the disappointment can be astronomical when you have worked hard towards a goal and have come up short. No blog is going to remove the emotion around selections and nor should it. Dealing with success and challenges is a vital lesson that extends beyond basketball. Having said that, I am hopeful this blog can provide some insight and give you the best chance of fulfilling your dreams to represent Queensland at an Australian Junior Championship event.