On the surface of our summer league, you may just see a bunch of kids running around at play.
That’s good, because it’s exactly what we want.
And yet, we want more.
Ideally, I want to see a bunch of kids running around learning how to really play.
This is more specific and more important. It’s also more difficult. On the surface, however, it looks exactly the same.
Of course, some coaches may argue that learning how to really play should involve playing with a certain degree of organization. I don’t disagree. What I argue, however, is that in order to reach the level where you can play with organization well, you must spend plenty of time learning how to organize the game for yourself.
This is very important to understand when you sign up for and watch our summer leagues. I am not anti-organization. I am just anti-organize-everything-all-the-time.
There is a big difference between the two. It cuts right the heart of the biggest problem I see in youth basketball, because the best players are developed when you embrace both.
The ability to self-organize and grow comfortable on the basketball court is foundational to every other developmental milestone as a player. And the best teacher is the game itself.
Go a step further, the best teacher is various games in various settings with various unpredictable elements and various paces of play.
We can’t cover all those things in an hour, but we can try! So we introduce different rules and procedures. Less players equals more meaningful play. Quick substitutions, quick inbounds, different teams, shot-clocks, more shots, less concern with fouls, stoppages, etc. All various ‘stressors’ that challenge young players to adjust to the every-changing nature of a real game.
Nothing can be perfect, but all these things help create an environment that is often missing in youth basketball players today. It’s an environment that may look chaotic (and in a sense it is), but this is the environment of real learning. Indeed, the more time you spend in it, the more comfortable you become.
And that’s precisely the point.