Winning and Losing and Player Development

One issue with developing young players is the emphasis placed on winning by coaches and parents. In a rush to perform, players sometimes sacrifice the process.

But you can count Nick Bollettieri, the man who may have done more to bring about the demise of serve and volley than anyone, as a believer in its continued potential, provided a young player devotes himself to it very early. He coaches at least one young girl with a professional net-rushing future in mind, but he says that the roadblocks are often the parents, who don’t have the patience that it takes to allow this style to mature. “You have to lose for a while if you go that way,” Bollettieri says, “and who wants to do that?”

This happens with post players frequently. The tallest player is told to stay close to the basket and be tall, and he is prohibited from dribbling. How does this enhance the player’s development?

Similarly, eight and nine-year-olds shoot three pointers with poor form because they are trying to win the game. However, these shots develop bad habits.

In both cases, coaches, parents and players concentrate on the immediate results, not the process and the player’s long term athlete development.

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