By Dan Connell / Staff Writer
Tournament time means all our area high schools will be competing for a little holiday season bragging rights on the basketball court.
It appears most schools are participating in at least two holiday tournaments on the road this season before settling back down into the normal routine of a regular schedule.
These tournaments are an important part of each team's schedule because it gives everybody a chance to play away from their home court, and it perhaps serves as a prelude to what the postseason environments can resemble as area teams battle their way to late February and early March.
The tournament experience has just as much of an impact on teams mentally as it does physically.
It is always an opportunity to learn and it allows for teams to work on fundamentals and conditioning heading into district and region competition.
Some coaches may even go as far as to suggest the basketball season truly begins over the summer and over the holidays because players can focus more on what needs to be done on the court without quite as much daily grind from the school day.
It also gives coaches a chance to review the early part of the season and to see which players are improving, while making adjustments where necessary. The advantages are truly endless.
Win or lose, when you are guaranteed at least three games, and maybe more, it is well worth a team's travel cost and expense to load up and find a good tournament somewhere out there.
My philosophy is that teams who play the toughest competition and learn from that experience will reap the rewards of success later on down the road if they stick together and work together as a unit.
Over the years, I've heard coaches say that maybe certain players will turn a corner over the Christmas break, or maybe the holiday tournaments will bring someone off the bench who can start stepping up and help the starting five.
I've also heard coaches talk about the confidence that can be built while playing in holiday tournaments and how a player can turn his or her season into something much bigger than it has been from the first few games of the year.
Good luck to all the area teams competing in holiday tournaments this season.