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The Truth of Pro Hoopers Overseas During the Holidays

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are here!! Most people are in the Christmas and holiday spirit and getting ready to celebrate with family and friends, but as a hooper, there can be a lot of emotions during this time. And trust me, I understand them all. The early seasons in my career when I couldn’t wait to get home for the holidays, to the seasons where I didn’t get a Christmas break and pretty much celebrated solo and went to practice, or the seasons where you are just “comfortable” and understand that this is the life you signed up for.


Either way you slice it, this time can be HARD, and sometimes it may feel like those that aren’t accustomed to the lifestyle, may make it even harder simply because they just don’t understand. From the comments you may receive like “Well at least you’re doing something you love” to the people that try and guilt trip you into running all over town to come and see them as soon as you touch down.

Here are a few tips to keep your sanity whether you’re coming home for the holidays or staying abroad:

Going Home For The Holidays

  1. Try not to overwhelm yourself. Control the things you can control. During the holidays, traveling across countries can be such a headache. Sometimes there are delays and cancelled flights that you can’t do anything about. Try to keep your cool. If you can check in sooner, do just that.

  2. Make the most of your time with your family. Just enjoy being in their presence.

  3. Try to get some much needed rest, your internal time clock will be completely off considering you just flew half way across the world. I know you’ll probably have this slight fear of missing out, but remember that you still need to take care of your body.

  4. You will get people trying to pull you in a million different directions, I have found that it is best to set a date and time for people outside of family to meet you somewhere. You were the one gone, and your time is limited, if they really want to see you, they will come.

  5. You can save A LOT of time by purchasing as many of your Christmas gifts online as possible, before you arrive to the states. Once you get home they are there and you can choose whether or not you want to officially gift wrap them or not.

Not Going Home For The Holidays

  1. This is something to try and mentally know and prepare for before signing your contract. This will help you plan some things ahead of time as well.

  2. About a month or so before the holidays, have a care package put together and sent to you. (Even if you have to pay for it yourself!!)

  3. You may not be going home for Christmas or New Year’s, but there may be a break coming up in the near future. Find out when that is! Sometimes it helps to have a bit of a countdown.

  4. Do you know any of the other Americans in your country? Make friends and host a Christmas dinner, or plan to meet out for a nice meal.

  5. Do something special with your team. More than likely they are well aware of the American holiday and would love to celebrate with you. I would bring little treats and gifts to practice during the holiday. We’ve even done Secret Santa.

  6. Take a “staycation”…. Book a room for a night or 2 in the city, in a nice hotel, and just give yourself a change of scenery.

  7. Try not to get too homesick during this time, if you can, coordinate with your family to facetime during the time everyone has gathered to open gifts.

Whether you are going home for the holidays or staying abroad because your team will have games to play, find ways to take care of yourself. Physically and mentally. This time during the year and season can be just as draining as it is rejuvenating. As you continue in your playing career you will recognize what works for you and how best to navigate in the seasons to come. Happy Holidays!!

For any young student athlete who dreams of playing at the next level, and possibly becoming a professional basketball player, this is just one of the many things that come into play. The time missed with family and friends, living and playing abroad for months at a time, and having to navigate certain spaces in order to keep your mind and body aligned so you can finish the job, the season! Take notes because this life isn’t for everyone, it’s something you have to work at and build towards. And I personally do my best to help others achieve this goal.

From high school to college, to college to the pros, and even the life that will come after! Check out my new book, How Bad Do You Want It?! by going to my website,

Also, to follow for more tips, please follow me on social media. IG = @rebecca30h, twitter @rebecca30h, and Tiktok @becharris30

- Rebecca Harris

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