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Basketball is not rocket science, but as coaches, we need to take the teaching of our chosen subject matter much more seriously if we expect the game to continue to grow. Instead, due to the "willy nilly" approach that many take, there are players running around with no respect for the basketball, turning the ball over and taking bad shots that lead to the ineffective type of offensive performances that are seen all to often in basketball today. Clearly, no one in education (which all coaches are) can argue with the fact that a play that has some organization will be easier to remember than a play that has no rhyme or reason. Hence all of the memorization strategies that teachers use to help their students learn in a variety of subjects. Acronyms, rhymes, word association, mnemonic devices, et cetera are all methods to help with memorization.
Coaches should develop a consistent method for calling offensive plays and defensive attacks. Use colors, numbers, hand signals, or names, but always make them make sense to the player. Random mascots, colleges, or animals are difficult to remember and differentiate one play from another. Whether you choose names, colors, or numbers to signal in plays, you should attempt to make them consistent and meaningful. Choose names that are descriptive or symbolic of the play, such as "split" for a play that splits the post, "4 Out" for a play that has four players out on the perimeter, or "Red" for a stall offense that slows you down or stops early shots. Come up with a system that helps the player remember, rather than one that they have to remember.
As players get older and become more serious about being the best that they can be, it becomes necessary to follow other sports' lead. Football and baseball have taken a pretty scientific approach to strategy and basketball is too far behind. Basketball needs to take the same approach with respect to fundamentals, techniques, spacing, passing angles, defensive coverage, scouting, and play calls if it is expected to thrive in the twenty-first century.