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How to prepare for your daughter's basketball tournament

Updated on July 14, 2011

When you have a high school athlete who is serious about their sport, chances are good that they will attend some basketball tournaments. Many of these tournaments are held in small rural towns around the country and transportation, food and supplies are up to the player and the player’s family. Here is a checklist you can use to ensure that you have everything you need before you leave the house.

  • One clean t-shirt per game. Basketball is a physical sport and is many times located in a hot stuffy gym. Your high school athlete may want to change in between to keep from getting sick. It is much more comfortable to start a new game with clean dry clothes. Wearing a t-shirt under the team jersey is a good way to go. Also, be prepared for additional games if the tournament is a prize tournament.
  • Two pairs of socks per game. Wearing two pairs of socks is important for many basketball players because it keeps the shoes from sliding around causing blisters. In addition, female basketball shoes can sometimes be hard to find, so if your daughter is wearing men’s shoes, they may be too wide. Double socks will help.
  • Change of clothes for after the tournament. Even if you are staying in a hotel for a tournament, it is a good idea for your athlete to have a change of clothes for after the game. In some cases, players stay to cheer on other teams or head to lunch or dinner after the game. Clean dry clothes will help your player be more comfortable.
  • Two extra pairs of shoelaces. The reason for these is obvious.
  • Extra hair toys. Pack extra Head bands, ponytail holders and/or pre-wrap. Whatever your player uses to keep their hair out of their face should be available. Head bands get stretched out and pony-tail holders get lost. Better to be prepared. Many districts restrict bobby pins or fancy hair toys as well. Check with your coach if you daughter plans to wear anything other than approved headgear.
  • Sandals. Many players wear athletic slides before and after games. You can find them at sporting good stores like or For a review of the Adidas slide, read “Adidas Originals Men’s Adissage Sandal Review.” The women’s are exactly the same. These are great if there are long break in-between the games. Wearing slides allows your player to air out their feet in between games. The sports sandals will have a wide band so your player can keep socks on. (Clean ones preferably) and they offer support and cushioning which their feet will be screaming for.
  • Clean wipesBaby wipes are a useful idea to give your player an opportunity to freshen up in-between games. You can put one pack into the cooler and it will provide a cool refresher. You can place them on the forehead, wrists and feet to clean and refresh
  • Medical Supplies. Band-Aids, gauze, sports wrap, antiseptic – Injuries happen. Most tournaments are required to have medical personnel available and they are usually stocked with supplies, but again, it is good to be prepared – especially if you need to tend to wounds on the way home or at the hotel.
  • Cooler with the following items:
  • Plenty of bottled water (one per game). Some facilities provide water for players. Check with your coach or tournament organizer. If not, you will want to have plenty of water bottles available. They may be available to purchase at the facility, but why pay $2.00 for water when you can bring it from home. Some gyms have drinking fountains, but you have no control over taste or quality.
  • Healthy snacks including fruit, and sandwiches – these tournaments are held at High Schools or local athletic facilities. They offer typical concessions like pizza and hot dogs- not necessarily the healthiest snack between games. Players need to replenish fluids, carbohydrates and protein but they don’t need the fat from these foods that sit in your stomach and are not easily digested. Orange and watermelon slices are a great treat that will give players a quick sugar boost without heaviness. Also if your child (or you for that matter), have any diet restrictions you may have difficulty finding options you can eat. Keep snacks wrapped in separate plastic bags or containers in the cooler. As the ice melts your food will get soggy if not appropriately enclosed. Plastic containers work best.
  • Couple ice-packs. These tournaments do have a nurse or medical professional on staff. They should have the necessary ice-packs, but it is a good idea to be prepared and throw a couple into the cooler. These are especially helpful if you need to ice an ankle on the way home.
  • Small non-perishable snacks – Many tournaments want to encourage spectators to purchase food from the concession and don’t allow outside food in the facility. You may want to sneak a granola bar or homemade trail mix into your purse or your Childs sports bag. These are quick snacks that provide a boost of energy without having to leave the gym or eat outside.
  • A map of the area - Carry a map of the area as well as a GPS. Sometimes the GPS is incorrect. Many tournaments are held in small remote towns that take you down a long country road. Good idea to have an idea of where you are going.
  • Cell phone with extra battery or car charger– Due to the nature of basketball tournaments, power may not be available. If you have a back-up battery, bring it.
  • Full tank of gas – Especially if you haven’t been to the location before, it’s a great idea to have a full tank of gas and not count on the possibility of passing a gas station. The last thing you want to do is run out of gas on a deserted country road and miss the game.
  • Camera with extra battery. Don’t want to miss those amazing shots and defensive moves. It’s good to have a camera.


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    • deerev profile image

      deerev 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Is your daughter interested in playing basketball at the college level? If so, have you started the recruitment process? I just went through the process with my daughter. Check out my hub for some helpful information on the recruitment process.