Is Basketball Practice Work or Fun?

by on June 9, 2010
in Fun

When I talk to youth and high school basketball coaches, many seem to make practice intentionally not fun. To most, fun and work are opposites, and practice must be work to prepare for games and develop players’ skills.

In Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, he quotes British management scholar David Collinson about the work climate at Ford Motor Company in the 1930’s and 40’s:

“In 1940 John Gallo was sacked because he was ‘caught in the act of smiling,’ after having committed an earlier breach of ‘laughing with the other fellows,’ and ‘slowing down the line maybe half a minute.’ This tight managerial discipline reflected the overall philosophy of Henry Ford, who stated that ‘When we are at work we out to be at work. When we are at play we out to be at play. There is no use trying to mix the two.'”

Pink continues and uses Southwest Airlines mission statement which says:

“People rarely succeed at anything unless they are having fun doing it.”

Do you approach practice like Ford Motor Company, separating play and work or do you believe in SWA’s approach where people accomplish more when they are having fun? Should youth basketball practices be fun? Do coaches and leagues eliminate play too early in players’ development? Is it possible to have fun and develop good players and teams?

Sharing is caring!

  • 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 →