CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT 24-7
Last night I came across a story written by ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla via digital sports.com on AAU and High School basketball coaches and how they can get along.
Thousands of high school coaches and AAU coaches share the influence in most high school basketball players lives. But today’s concerns of high school basketball are much more different than 20 years ago. No longer do high school coaches worry about if their kids will play enough or what skills do we need to work on, but rather it is the complete opposite effect. Today, high school basketball players have too many opportunities to ‘play games’ and not enough choices to ‘work’ on their games. Whose fault is it?
Yesterday I saw four high school players who had traveled during the month of July with their AAU teams working hard on their game in the gym. I’m not so sure it’s the players fault; I am beginning to think maybe it’s the adults involved? (I can just hear the coaches now, bashing me) Kids want to play whether it’s games or working out.
So much has been written about summer basketball that it’s like beating a dead horse. Do a Google search and you come up with a ton of articles. Sure you have your occasional argument involving coaches and refs on the court; shoe companies giving money to organizations to foot the bill for a tournament and of course you have the over-priced events (especially the price for a roster packet). But what does that have to do with kids playing the game? It’s all adults making these decisions/choices.
We are quick to say American players lack fundamentals. O.k. so who is responsible for teaching 15, 16 and 17 year old kids how to execute a catch and face move? Isn’t there teachers in school every day teaching young children how to read and write? Are kids supposed to learn that on their own? Yesterday at the gym, I saw a kid shooting alone out on the court. He was taking good shots and driving to the basket. His father was on the side watching, I introduced myself. I asked the dad if I could teach his son one move, he agreed. I walked onto the floor and showed the kid how to get open, catch the ball and reverse pivot. We worked on it for 10 minutes; he nailed it!
I was told a story last night of a high school all-american who was with his AAU team on the summer tour this past July. The club completed a tournament in one city and were about to travel to the next town to play for three more days. The high school coach back home contacted the young man and told him he needed to come back home because they were having a fundraiser for the athletic department. The young man packed up his bags and went home to satisfy his commitment. But of course you will never hear about that.
It’s time adults step up and stop blaming ‘kids’ for the problems with basketball. I always think about what George Mason men’s head basketball coach Jim Larranaga once said, “I’d rather see kids in the gym playing on weekends than on the street corner.”
You as a coach or even a parent can start the process by showing your kid this video clip of Larry Bird.