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.  Read more

Too many games

From the media to college coaches to NBA coaches to Kobe Bryant, everyone believes that teenagers play too many basketball games. Of course, the blame is directed at the players. Why? Do the players make their own schedules or do they follow their team’s schedule?  Read more

Parents, Authority, and Sportsmanship

After I finished my games today, I walked past another field to get to my car. A team of u14 girls had made its way across the field to where their parents were sitting. One mother says to a girl, “Tori, were you giving the referee some lip.” Read more

Skill development with professional youth coaches

I admit that being paid to be a youth or developmental basketball coach would be a dream job. I meet and hear about guys who have positions such as Director of Coaching for youth soccer or lacrosse clubs, and I wish something like that existed for basketball. I once proposed a similar job to a large youth basketball organization, but it had no interest. Read more

The shot clock, international rules, and decision making

During the women’s Final Four and WBCA convention, I spoke to several college coaches about potential rule changes in NCAA basketball. The most prominent rule change would be a change in the shot clock to 24 seconds, which led me into more discussions of the shot clock.  Read more

The shot clock and defense in high school basketball

During the high-school playoffs, after watching games played with and without a shot clock, I wrote about the need for a shot clock in high-school basketball. I previously wrote about the effect that a shot clock has on skill development because of an increased number of repetitions, with an emphasis on offensive skills, but defense is impacted by the shot clock as well.  Read more

Grassroots basketball development and the escalation trap

Grassroots basketball is a dynamic system, and as with other systems, it is susceptible to certain traps. One trap is the escalation trap:

 “Escalation, being a reinforcing feedback loop, builds explonentially. Therefore it can carry a competition to extremes faster than anyone would believe possible. If nothing is done to break the loop, the process usually ends with one or both of the competitors breaking down,” (Meadows, 2008; p. 125).

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High School Playoffs, AAU Tryouts, and European Development

San Antonio Spurs GM R.C. Buford said a big reason why 25 percent of the league is now composed of international players is because the U.S. developmental programs for youth players are “far behind” what’s going on overseas. Read more

Who wants to finance the European system in the U.S.?

Because I have coached in Europe, people tell me that the United States should go to a European model. I don’t know what they mean. In my experience, there is no single European model. Read more

AAU is the Scapegoat: Skill Development in the USA

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  • What Is A Playmaker?

    Who decided that a point guard has to be small? More importantly, what is a point guard? We expect a point guard to be a leader and have a high basketball I.Q. Why don’t we expect or challenge all players to develop this game awareness? Why rely on only one player? Read more →
  • The PBDL Concept

    English soccer academies wait until players are 11 to play full 11v11 soccer; in Italy, youth basketball players participate in skill-oriented clinics at 6-years-old, but start competitive games at 12. In the United States, kids play 5v5 full court games and compete for national championships when they are 8-years-old.

    Read more →

  • Starting A PBDL

    The PBDL emphasizes learning and development. Presently, players and parents have numerous recreation options - leagues based on fun and equal participation, typically for beginners - and numerous competitive opportunities - teams focused on strategy, game preparation and winning. There are few true development leagues - until now.

    Read more →