Problems with talent identification

More and more, youth basketball moves from an environment of talent development to an environment of talent identification and selection. Many coaches who used to engage in development with young players have left the sport because they invest years into a player and watch the player and his or her parents leave their home program (school/AAU) for another program because of exposure, free shoes, or whatever. Inevitably, the original coach reads about how this new program that coached or trained the player for 1-2 years was responsible for their development. Why spend time and effort developing players for little to no money or recognition when you can poach the already talented player and reap financial benefits and recognition?  […]

Recruiting and the Development of Tall Players

I spent this week watching the girls’ basketball state play-offs with an eye on evaluating players for the junior college where I work as a strength coach in the event that the basketball coaches ask for a second opinion. In debating the merits of various post players for a junior-college program, I returned to a persistent question that is relevant to coaches of all ages: Is the goal to win now or to develop players for long-term success? Here is how the question plays out: […]

The Myth of the Talented Basketball Player

There is a gross misunderstanding of talent in basketball. I read articles that suggest that the coaches of the uber-talented must “let them play” or that the uber-talented cannot fit into a style other than a stereotypical AAU game. Is a player talented if he excels only in 3v2 fast-breaks, isolations, or catch and dunk lobs? […]

The Missing Storyline from Linsanity (aka The Jeremy Lin Story)

I watched Jeremy Lin when he led Paly to the CIF State Championship in 2006, as I was living in Sacramento and knew many players, coaches, and fans in the Bay Area. I knew Mitch Stephens, who was criticized when he picked Lin as the 2006 San Francisco Chronicle Player of the Year. I have written several times about Jeremy Lin (here, and here) and Poor Man’s Commish has kept everyone updated via twitter for years, but I do not know Lin or his story personally, so this is a view from the outside. […]

Khan Academy as a Way to Change Athlete Development

There are four takeaways for me: 1. The knowledge map that he creates is essentially what we tried to do with the Train for Hoops program four years ago. Academics are suited for the program because you complete the assignments online and the computer program assesses your performance automatically and uses the algorithm to design Read more about Khan Academy as a Way to Change Athlete Development[…]

Identifying Age or Potential

Originally published by Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, January/February 2009. My first organized sport was soccer. In kindergarten, I joined a soccer club sponsored by my church. My teammates were mostly 1st graders. With a late September birthday, I started school late, so I was older for my class. However, youth soccer had a January 1 Read more about Identifying Age or Potential[…]