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: […]

The Value of 3v3

I coached a high-school varsity girls basketball team this season that was a varsity team in name only. There were more absolute beginners on the team – girls who have played any sport on an organized team – then there were players with basketball experience. There was no a single player on the team who played on a high school basketball team last season.  […]

What is the right pre-game or post-game mentality?

Much has been written and said lately about this generation not caring about winning or not knowing how to win or getting to eat pizza after a game whether or not the team won. Basically, the entire generation, and maybe life itself, is going to hell, and it’s all because of trophies and post-game meals. […]

Should the U.S. develop players like Europe?

There is a popular undercurrent throughout basketball circles in the United States (R.C. Buford, Kobe Bryant, Stan van Gundy) that the U.S. need to develop players more like European countries or Canada. Typically, this rhetoric never is supported with actual plans or suggestions as to the differences between development in other countries and the U.S., and when I argue in favor of some of the primary differences between the systems in FIBA countries and the U.S. (24-second shot clocks, small basketballs for youths, lower basket height for youths, longer high school season, fewer games per week, etc), these same people argue against their feasibility. Rather than change the structure to match the European structure, it seems that there is some mythic drill or philosophy that coaches in the U.S. are missing. […]

What are the real problems in youth basketball

Nearly every day, especially during the season, someone criticizes United States basketball for a host of perceived problems. Kobe Bryant has his issues; Stan Van Gundy has his issues; nobody, it seems, is happy with basketball in the United States. Typically, AAU and too many games are the scourges, but others blame a lack of coach education, television, money, millennials, dunking, or the NBA, and in women’s basketball, many blame UConn. The answer is usually to be more like Europe or to follow the Canadian model or mandatory coach education.

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What are we doing in youth sports?

On Sunday, I was an assistant referee for an u13 girls soccer game in a local tournament. These were recreational players and teams masquerading as “select” or “comp” teams; none of the “elite” or “competitive” teams participated, as most are finished for the summer after regionals and nationals. These were your average community-centric teams similar to the teams on which I played at this age. Of course, when I played, we played 12 games in a fall season; now, these teams apparently play year-round (I knew the elite teams played year-round, although many – some – of the elite players play multiple sports – basketball in the winter, usually – based on what I learned as an assistant referee at a national tournament, but I did not know the local teams played year-round now too).  […]

The perfect grassroots talent development basketball system

As I pulled into a middle school to referee a soccer game between two local club teams, I saw an advertisement for the local recreation league that will sponsor teams in the fall. For a second, I thought of the gradual migration of new signups to the recreational league to the select few making the competitive club team, and the progression made sense. The better players moved to more competitive, year-round soccer, and the lesser players played a fall season of recreational soccer. Then I remember that I was refereeing 10-year-olds, and I questioned whether or not it was fair to make these determinations of talent at such a young age.  […]

Children Shall Dunk – Or How to Re-imagine Basketball

We should re-imagine basketball.

The current rules are designed to suit men’s top level. Elite players can go coast-to-coast in a flash, palm the ball, throw end-to-end passes, dunk the ball thunderously, hit threes as if they were lay-ups. You know, do all kinds of cool stuff and play in 3D. […]

Why coach education falls short

This is a coach education web site. I just returned from 3 weeks of training coaches in Africa. I, more than anyone, should believe in the power of coach education. However, when people view a national coach education program as a means to transform basketball in the United States, I believe that such an approach will fall short, and not just because a complete transformation is an outrageously lofty goal.  […]