From The World Of Parks & Recreation
By Doug Comer
This week’s article will entail the following materials. I need a loudspeaker and a soap box cause things are about to “real.”
I have been a referee for the past six years and I have seen a ton of talent in the area that has had a good high school career and even a few of them have made it to the college level. Those that get athletic scholarships should be proud that they reached a level in their respective sport; you made it based on the work that you put into that sport.
And it all starts at the ground floor. From shooting baskets in the back yard to pee-wee and Jerry West and eventually moving on to middle and high school, kids have to practice their skill just like their ABCs and multiplication. And the level of talent gets separated by those with basketball minds and sound fundamentals.
I just reffed a scrimmage game the other evening and was very surprised of the player’s fundamentals. An old man like me felt like I could lace up the sneakers and “D-up” on the opposition. After seeing the frustration of the coach, I realize now how he had lost his hair. His team’s fundamentals were pretty pathetic and no, I cannot summarize it any lighter than that.
For us, we offer a non-competitive league that gives kids the chance to play the game of basketball in a lighter climate compared to what they will see later down the road. And the program is strictly to teach the following: dribbling, shooting and passing. It is the basics to playing the game and how you improve on those simple three things that will determine your advancement in the game. We stress that to the staff and the primary goal of the league is to teach and prepare the kids for later down the road.
I have always had great coaches growing up. Just like the movie Hoosiers, Gene Hackman had his six players from Hickory High work on dribbling around chairs, doing layups and performing defensive drills; we did the same type of drills until we were sick. But, it would later pay off for our teams.
I do not blame it on coaching as I know the coaches who have been around for a while understand the basics to success and fundamentals is a big component to the success. The fault lies in technology and seeing the entertainment of the NBA.
Video games and the realism of the games, as well as the way NBA players displaying their talents to not only winning but entertaining patrons, are a couple reasons for the lack of youth’s skills today. You see, younger kids with weak fundamentals do not realize the difficulty of playing at that level and they try to emulate those players, thus resulting in turnovers or unsuccessful shot attempts.
Kids just do not understand that the Russell Westbrook’s and Kobe Bryant’s in the world started with the basics. They worked harder than all the other kids in schools and playgrounds. And the confidence gained just from learning the three basics, have propelled them into the elite.
Historically, if you take all the champions in high school, college and even the NBA you will notice the following items that make them champions:
First, you have people that can shoot. They show great fundamentals shooting the ball and they are smart enough to take shots when it presents itself. Nothing is forced and they are patient enough to work the ball around in the offensive set until they find the best chance to score for the team.
Secondly, their dribbling skills are very strong. They dribble with their eyes up looking at the floor and they do not do anything fancy unless it is absolutely necessary. Dribbling behind the back or between the legs can give guards an edge, however, do it when needed.
And finally, passing the ball should be one of two things: a chest pass or a bounce pass. Behind the back and the no-look passes just causes turnovers.
Overall, I have not seen a player like Michael Jordan or LeBron James in my days of refereeing and you will never be at the level they are unless you start from the ground floor with good fundamentals. If you tackle those three things mentioned above and work hard, then yes there is a chance that you could be a player that kids after you will look up to.