Social Shift Pivotal to Next-Level Jump

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, Winter 2018. As a 6th grader dominated a camp that I directed, I asked the organizer to move up the player to the older age group that worked out later. He said that they had asked him to move up, but he wanted to stay with his Read more about Social Shift Pivotal to Next-Level Jump[…]

My 2017 Reading List

In the tradition of lists from 2014, 2015, and 2016, here is my reading list for 2017. The Athletic Skills Model: Optimizing Talent Development Through Movement Education – Rene Wormhoudt I admit that I have waited for this book for nearly 5 years and the authors are preaching to the choir. It is a very Read more about My 2017 Reading List[…]

The Via Negative approach to talent development

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, Fall 2017. My earliest sports memory is playing the Cosmos, another team from my soccer club in a downpour on a field that would make Tough Mudder competitors proud during my first season of youth soccer then I was in kindergarten. I played for a club linked Read more about The Via Negative approach to talent development[…]

Steve Nash on Mike D’Antoni’s Genius

When I presented for Positive Coaching Alliance working with Ray Lokar, he often said that coaches work in the fish bowl; everyone watches the coach from the outside, often without knowledge of the environment, but the coach always is in front of an audience. This pressure from the fish bowl shapes many of the negative behaviors that we see from coaches: I once watched a coach who would yell loud enough for everyone in the audience to hear him, “Player, we practiced that yesterday for 20 minutes. How can you make that mistake?” There was no information; in essence, he was saying, “Look, I did everything that I could at practice and it is your child who is messing up, not me.” I was appalled, but I see this behavior to some degree fairly often.  […]

We need to develop players like in Europe

People often discuss player development and European basketball with me. Often, I am told, and I read, that we (coaches in the United States) need to develop players like in Europe. I don’t necessarily agree with the premise, but I often will engage in the discussions. When I do, it seems as though the coaches want a magic potion, because every change based on my experiences that I offer, they dismiss as unnecessary or impractical. Possible changes based on my experience: […]

Coach development, not coach education or certification

I imagine the following is based directly or indirectly on the writings of Mark O’Sullivan, Mark Upton, Richard Bailey, Stuart Armstrong, and others. If you spend enough time on social media and basketball blogs, someone will suggest that the United States is falling behind in basketball because of a lack of coach education. Now, there Read more about Coach development, not coach education or certification[…]

Making sense of generational arguments about skill development

I don’t understand the following argument:

“Players from previous generations had more skill.”

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“Players from previous generations were three-sport athletes.”

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“Players from previous generations played more pickup games.”

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“Players need to specialize earlier and train privately with individual coaches to improve their skills.” […]