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.  […]

Goalkeeping drills and perceptual cues

I am not a soccer expert, although I have refereed over 200 games in the last two years. However, sometimes I believe it is easier to understand general arguments or concepts when we are not attached to our own practices or beliefs, which means that seeing the idea or concept in another sport or environment may facilitate understanding. […]

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.  […]

Youth sports: What has changed and what needs to be fixed?

Every day, I read another article that is critical of youth sports. Identifying the problems is easy, but few articles suggest real, practical solutions, and I am unsure whether the suggested solutions would make a practical difference and alleviate the problems.  […]

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. […]