The shot-clock is the best teacher of offensive basketball ever conceived by man.
The more I watch basketball at every level of play, the more I believe that this statement is universally true. It is a key that unlocks a thousand developmental doors. I am going to list some reasons here. It is so important to focus on this, because although the United States invests more and more resources into basketball at every level, until we adopt a shot-clock at every level, we are stunting the growth and development of our players. It is not an overstatement.
The International game is played with a 24 second shot-clock. In most countries, from about 6th grade on up. And maybe younger. It's just their normal game. And though it may not seem like much, it teaches them better than any coach in the world. I am not going to elaborate on these reasons right now, but I will list them. USA Basketball and every state in America needs to take notice.
1) The shot-clock forces players to learn how to create efficient offensive scoring opportunities.
2) The shot-clock forces all players to learn how to shoot.
3) The shot-clock forces coaches to teach all their players how to shoot.
4) The shot-clock forces players to embrace their offensive roles on a respective team.
5) The shot-clock forces coaches to become better offensive teachers by forcing them to learn how to teach their players how to actually score.
6) The shot-clock gives every player more opportunities to develop their offensive game, in every game. More passing and shooting and dribbling opportunities.
7) The shot-clock teaches teams how to play better defense by forcing them to guard better offensive actions every single game.
8) The shot-clock leads to a game that is more fun to watch. It increases rhythm.
9) The shot-clock saves the sanity of college coaches who are tired of watching horrible offensive basketball at the youth and high school levels and teaching college players things they should already know. (Yea, that one's personal).
There is more, but that is plenty to get started with. I will elaborate more on these in the weeks ahead. I promise you, I am not overstating the case. The shot-clock is the best teacher of offensive basketball ever invented. Things need to change!
I want to get back to blogging here with a simple post. A question keeps returning to mind.
Will what we teach our kids about the nature of the game help them play it better (or at all) in 5-8 years?
It's not as simple as you might think. I am not just talking about technicalities. Not just pivot foot and sets and defensive rotations. I am talking about the very nature of the game and the understanding required to play it at a high level. Dynamically. Multi-positional. Offense/defense. Shot-selection.
One example: do your kids know that a catch-and-shoot jump shot (especially inside-out) is almost always a great shot?
I am retraining my college players to believe this. Really, really, emotionally/intellectually to believe this. Why? Because as kids they were taught that the closer they are to the rim, the better the shot. But that is not true! Not even close.
Of course, closer to the rim may help them win now, but it won't help them win later. We have to educate them on the basis of their basketball future. Take some time to think about what that means for you and for those you influence on the youth basketball front.