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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Set plays and playing the game

I refereed 20 games this weekend at a team camp, and the differences in approaches in the teams was striking. One team, as an example, played 12 players nearly equal minutes although much of the second team played in middle school last year and this was a varsity tournament. Another team had 15 players on its bench for one game, and stuck to a seven-person rotation. Some coaches stood and yelled and controlled the players for the entire game, and others sat and barely said a word. Some teams ran plays every single time down the court, and other teams played with little structure. […]

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 Zone Defense Myth

I am not a zone-defense coach, but I have defended zone defense several times (here, here, and here) because there are so many misconceptions about basketball and the way that the game is taught. One major criticism of zone defenses is that players ball-watch, while in man-defense, the argument is that players learn to watch Read more about The Zone Defense Myth[…]

Oklahoma City Playing Fundamental Basketball

Oklahoma City is 3rd in team defense at the All-Star break, and assistant coach Ron Adams gets much of the credit. “We don’t really change what we do,” explained Nick Collison. “I’ve been on a lot of teams where game to game we try to change how we’re going to guard the pick-and-roll, whether we’re Read more about Oklahoma City Playing Fundamental Basketball[…]

Pressing and Skill Development in Youth Basketball

On another site, coaches discussed the merit of a no-press rule for pre-high school players with many different suggestions. The argument against pressing was the lack of skill development to handle the press (something that continues to the high school level). This is true. But, I do not understand how it is true. Now, at Read more about Pressing and Skill Development in Youth Basketball[…]

Jeremy Lin & Fundamental Basketball

Four years ago, I watched the improbable upset, as Palo Alto High School and their star Jeremy Lin beat perennial power Mater Dei to win the California DII C.I.F. Championship. Now, thanks to some praise from Fran Fraschilla and a great article by Dana O’Neil, college basketball fans are learning about Lin, now a star Read more about Jeremy Lin & Fundamental Basketball[…]

George Raveling jumps on the international bandwagon

Seemingly everywhere on the Internet is a USA Today article by Greg Boeck about International players taking over the NBA. Now, forget that I first sounded the alarm in 2002 and criticized Dick Vitale in 2003; my favorite part is this quote by George Raveling: “NBA teams are realizing it’s less risky to draft internationals Read more about George Raveling jumps on the international bandwagon[…]