August 13, 2004, Newsletter Issue #175: DIRECTION OF BASKETBALL IN THE U.S.A.

Tip of the Week

In the United States players, in general, no longer understand shot selection and team play, decision making and execution, movement anticipation and pattern recognition, using peripheral vision and spatial awareness, or have any general concept of relative motion and court sense. Game intelligence is at a minimum.
Even when they win, they look worse doing it. At least in the eyes of a basketball purist.

Internationally the game is still a game of movement, passing, open shots, team creativity, and deception. The game as Naismith intended for it to be played. TEAMmates, playing TEAM basketball, for the TEAM. The teammates that they have practiced with and shared blood, sweat and tears with, over a long period of time. The teammates that they care about - and wouldn`t dare let them down.

American basketball players have become obsessed with bigger, faster, and stronger. The goal is to overpower - not to outsmart. Individual creativity is emphasized to battle the more prevelant (and often times legislated) man to man defense. Coaches get intoxicated with the athleticism that some players exhibit and the coach`s "basketball vision" get`s blurred. Coaches have turned to aggressive, attacking styles of play that are meant to cause turnovers and create easy shots. Fouling for profit, in hopes that the officials "can`t call all of them"! However, what it has created is a generation of players that can only play that helter-skelter style.
Now, how many times do you really look at the USA Olympic team , see a player and say, "he ...really has court sense"...sees the floor"...understands the game"...or...has a high basketball IQ"? Not many!

In the `60`s and `70`s basketball training was all about fundamental skill aquisition and footwork. In the `80`s and `90`s it was about physical training and getting bigger, stronger, faster. In this millenium, we need to address the final frontier...the brain!

Players, and coaches, need to return to the basketball concepts that make this game so great. The timing and synchronizing of player movement, the synergy that teamwork creates, and the perfection of offensive skills - with NO slippage allowed. Do not settle for mediocrity - demand perfection!

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