The High School Basketball Effect

The High School Basketball Effect

Teach, Coach, or Control


As the High School basketball season gets underway, we eagerly anticipate seeing the kids play and look for all the new skills and abilities that were developed and worked on over the summer and off season.  The result of 6:00AM runs and weight training, the basketball camps, the fundamentals skill training with the personal instructor, and the tournament games and games and games.

Something is strange out on the court, it’s halftime and the score is 17-11.  What, 11 points at halftime, my son should have more points than that all by himself?  The scores of our 3rd grade games were higher than that at halftime!

What is going on out there on the floor?  Why are the kids looking over at the bench every five seconds.  What is this 1-4 high, 2-3, high post, number 3 stuff?  What is all this talk about the definition of a good shot, and the value of the basketball.  We didn’t take a single 3 point shot in the entire game!  In fact, out of the last 10 offensive possessions, we only got 2 shots.  We just seem to look over nervously at the coach and have him scream out a set play, make 5-6 passes, try to set some screens while mechanically running to designated spots, and then walk, throw a bad pass, or find another way to turn it over.

So a question for the parents and coaches - are the kids being taught, coached, or CONTROLLED?

Parent’s Answer - CONTROLLED

Coach’s Answer - I’m trying to COACH them.

We all know the best coaches are TEACHERS of the game.  COACHING the team can be effective, but it seems a lot of coaches are trying to CONTROL the players and the game.

What would happen if the coach told his players that the team goal was to shoot the ball as soon as possible when the ball was across half court and open within 25 ft of the basket?  And, crash the offensive glass hard for a put back of any missed shot?  Is there any chance at any level of play, that you have 11 points a halftime?

Basketball players have to play the game.  It is best when the kids play with instincts and fundamentals skills that have been taught and developed.  It becomes obvious when kids are being CONTROLLED by coaches because the instinctive play and natural rhythm of the kids is completely disrupted.  I understand that coaches do a lot preparation for the season and spend endless hours at clinics and camps learning and deciding how the team should play.  The X’s and O’s always work on the napkins.  But, there is no 14-18 year old mind that is effected on a napkin, no confidence that is built or destroyed, no motivation that is generated - only X’s and O’s that are CONTROLLED with the pen and paper.  

The kids really want to do what is expected by the coach and the program.  What would happen if the coach and program expected and encouraged the kids to play with the confidence and skills that they have worked so hard to develop?  To use their instincts, basketball knowledge, and confidence to play the game.