(Fourth installment on youth basketball)
I like to talk to the people with the knowledge. I like to hear from the ones that are in the gym. Give me thoughts on summer basketball from a guy who has coached and trained players! Give me someone who is passionate when discussing basketball.
A few years ago I had the chance to work with Mike Procopio at Indiana’s Basketball camp down in Bloomington. We have stayed in touch ever since. Mike is one of the best trainers out there.
Mike, what is the biggest difference you see in high school players today as opposed to say 20 years ago?
I think the biggest change in today’s player is not only an overall lack of skill compared to players 15-20 years ago but the lack of role players. Back then a lot of players understood roles and could accept being a lesser part of a team. Not only that but there were the one trick ponies that could come in and make shots, move without the ball, just play defense, or have other skills that they maximized. It seems like the majority of players today need the ball in their hand to be effective and are for the most part non-existent without it. Obviously there is the age-old argument of the lack of skills and fundamentals of players today, which is correct as well. There were plenty of unskilled players back 20 years ago, but they would have an impact on the game without always having the ball in their hand.
Tell us something else that is changing in today’s ball player:
Another issue with today’s player is the empowerment of them. Somewhere along the line high school players at all skill levels have gotten empowered where they are expected to be handed everything without earning it. They are afraid to try to get their hands dirty. They refuse to struggle through things and earn them. Players 20 years ago were patient in their development and understood that it took sacrifice and they would have to wait their turn, but it was in their own best interest to do so. I think today’s player feels this self-importance and that they automatically deserve things without working to earn them.
Players today; harder or easier to coach than 20 years ago?
The player’s 20 years ago weren’t all perfect and had some bad traits, but it was in a different time, when coaches, administrators, and parents were respected and revered by players. Today’s world is much different where players view some if not all of those people to be threats to players in today’s game. Players back 20 years ago were just easier to coach. Players weren’t all coachable but I do feel that a higher percentage were more receptive to coaching than today.
Visit Procopio’s website and you can find him on Twitter: @Hoopconsultants
Follow me on Twitter: @CoachFinamore