Originally published in Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletter 6.4. Now available in Kindle and paperback. Subscribe to the weekly newsletter here.
After their practice on Monday, two teenagers from our women’s team worked along the baseline on a two-ball drill that I had introduced the previous week. This is my primary purpose for introducing challenging dribbling drills: To inspire players to practice on their own. We do not spend much time on dribbling. My men’s team generally practices dribbling on Thursdays when we have fewer players. With our skill workouts, we usually work on general dribbling in one of the two workouts per week. In the 11-12 hours of practice and workouts each week, we spend roughly 20 minutes on dribbling (of course, other drills, games, and scrimmages incorporate dribbling).
Originally published in Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletter 5.26. Now available in Kindle and paperback. Subscribe to the weekly newsletter here.
Basketball has split down the middle. Trainers and those who believe there are too many “meaningless” games, and players should spend their entire offseason doing drills represent one side. On the other side stands the status quo, an environment of weekend tournaments for 52 weeks a year, often with one practice for every three to five games. The old-school approach is forgotten: nobody combines workouts with open gym runs or pick-up games at the park. Regardless of whether a coach or trainer is pro-training or pro-games, he or she favors a coach-centered, structured environment.
Because of my books, clinics, and travel, I know coaches and players from Canada and Europe who develop with FIBA rules and matriculate to the United States to play college basketball. Increasingly, I hear from these sources that college basketball is boring. These players appreciate the opportunity to play basketball and receive a free education, but they are dissatisfied, especially with the coaching and the practices. They cannot wait for the season to end, although they plan to play in Europe after graduation. In the most recent instances, this angst has nothing to do with playing time, team’s success, or other issues that lead to common complaints; one player leads her team in minutes on a league champion, and another is the team’s best player and likely all-league selection.
When we watch children play sports, we see errors. Their skill performance differs from our mental models, which tend to be based on our own experiences or our images of expert performers. When we see a young basketball player with an awkward-looking shot or a baseball player with a funky delivery on the pitching mound, we see mistakes and a need to correct.
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.