When I talk to youth and high school basketball coaches, many seem to make practice intentionally not fun. To most, fun and work are opposites, and practice must be work to prepare for games and develop players’ skills.
In Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, he quotes British management scholar David Collinson about the work climate at Ford Motor Company in the 1930’s and 40’s:
“In 1940 John Gallo was sacked because he was ‘caught in the act of smiling,’ after having committed an earlier breach of ‘laughing with the other fellows,’ and ‘slowing down the line maybe half a minute.’ This tight managerial discipline reflected the overall philosophy of Henry Ford, who stated that ‘When we are at work we out to be at work. When we are at play we out to be at play. There is no use trying to mix the two.'”
Pink continues and uses Southwest Airlines mission statement which says:
“People rarely succeed at anything unless they are having fun doing it.”
Do you approach practice like Ford Motor Company, separating play and work or do you believe in SWA’s approach where people accomplish more when they are having fun? Should you basketball practices be fun? Do coaches and leagues eliminate play too early in players’ development? Is it possible to have fun and develop good players and teams?
By Brian McCormick
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League
Author, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development