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.
Here's a simple recap of what I posted last week put in another way.
Great, simple decisions are not easy to consistently make.
The pros are the pros, because they play more and, in turn, make the same sorts of decisions more than anyone else. Defense and offense. All over the court. Live decision. With real defense in a real game.
Drills in isolation are not all bad, but they are not enough. Not even close. Kids need to play. More specifically, they need to play in a variety of basketball situations.
We can often help them most by creating these various situations for them in breakdown games. What we emphasize is determined by who they are and where they are in their development. But they will often surprise you with their ability to pick things up...if you let them.
Don't get in the way. Embrace the messiness of learning. Create new situations and emphasize 1-2 things at a time and you will be very surprised at how quickly they learn. They will begin to have a 'feel' for how to move and decide in a game that is more important than all the technical skills you can isolate in drills.
We want our kids to just know how to play. To be able to make consistently good decisions. So our teaching must consistently put them in real-time situations. And new situations. This is a good education. Coaches and parents, please make it your own.