SoCalHoops Men's Forum
September 12, 2011:
“Too much of anything, isn’t always a good thing” What’s going on in Basketball lately?
Burnout or Over Playing
Burnout or Over Playing
The last four years I’ve witnessed a growing trend in our sport, the overwork and burning out of players.
I go to many games and practices in the course of the year at all levels of basketball (from hs to pro), over 164 the last two years. There are times that it seems to me everyone is comatose. Not playing with passion or sense of urgency. Most of all it looks like kids (and coaches) are not having fun.
The college coaches are being measured more and more by wins/losses and not by athletes graduating and becoming good citizens. That used to be the measuring stick, now very few seems to care. It’s frustrating to see freshman kids transfer because they haven’t played a lot there freshman year. Heck it’s college basketball, unless you are really good it’s hard for anyone to play a lot that first year. Once a rule existed that said, “you couldn’t play varsity your freshman year.”
I think the combination of year round training and specialization in one sport is proving to be far more damaging than originally anticipated. There have been some D-1 signees that are quitting to just be students.
Is basketball still a sport or is it a job for 18 year olds?
It has always had a magic feeling to me and I truly love the sport. That’s why I don’t understand some players of today. If you love to play something so much, you never play it by yourself, or on your own?
Parent Involvement and Coaches/Fundraisers are Over Extended
The criticism and parental involvement of coaches at all levels is a SILENT TEAM KILLER. The fact that a parent has access to internet, travel teams and individual training doesn’t make them an expert.
I remember Coach Pete Newell (at the big man’s camp, 5 year attendee) at a lobby bar meeting asked myself and two other coaches, our opinions on parent involvement (must have been 2003 in Vegas). He couldn’t believe how much it was happening. He stated, “it was going to hurt society, more than just basketball”. A true guru was right!
Back to my point about overplaying and burnout in basketball. I think the last two years since the CIF changed the association has changed the rule it has been great for the high school coaches. But at what point is too much, too much. Since I do go to a lot of campuses, and know many coaches, I am always listening and watching them. I think most coaches look exhausted and overworked. I wish there would be more opportunities for them to see some of the travel stuff and see what happens on that end too. The riff between HS and Club is still big. That needs to get fixed. Something can be said about re charging your batteries.
Since you now need to be a major fundraiser most coaches see the X and O part of the game as great fun, especially practices, or at least I do. Making a player better I think is still makes me the happiest. Did any of you sign up to be a major fund raiser/coach? With the passage of the ACLU’s “no player” must pay to play, is the State of California going to fund athletics? If not, I see many high school coaches quitting and high schools not funding sports at all in the future. I see many high school coaches are now running travel teams and leagues at their schools. Nothing wrong with that, but there used to be rules on dealing or talking with 7th and 8th graders, potential players at your school. I see that abused more now than ever. It’s more of an integrity issue to me. Now someone can coach a kid for five to six years or even more. Again, it seems few people are monitoring the kids.
Players having to decide what sport(s) to play in high school
I am hearing many kids state, I am going to try this sport and that sport. I hear them say, “Oh, maybe just one since it’s too hard to play two anymore. This from an 8th grader. How do we know what sport he is going to be good in? Why can’t he play multiple sports anymore? I know that most kids are only going to play high school sports. I am super competitive and want to win whenever I coach. I understand many coaches are the same way. But since I haven’t coached in high school for awhile it seems to me that many are putting personal successes and winning above teaching and educating. It’s not their fault, it’s administrators and parents putting unrealistic expectations on them and the kids. Some of the best times I have had coaching is a team at South Gate HS that went .500 for the year, but I felt we got “every drop” out of the boys. I think the number of kids that are going to play some sort of college basketball is below 1%. So after all the hype 99% of kids are done after high school.
The Entitlement in Basketball/Summer stuff
Watching a sport show the other night the topic was tennis. They talked about training methods in foreign countries. One former tennis star, John McEnroe said, “I went to the high school I was supposed to go to, I played different sports, I lived at home with my family. It helped me become a better player and for me made each junior match important to me." The show talked to staff at training facilities in Spain. The Spanish trainer said, "We put heart monitors on our players and they go to 65-85% on average in the course of practicing. He stated when some American players came to train there heart rates were 40-65% on average." Is this a trend in our sport? Are we just being out worked. Watching the FIBA championships, the Europeans don’t look soft to me, they look fundamentally exceptional. How many coaches think their players are coasting? Is it the year round play or sense of entitlement that some believe is in basketball. I believe it is we have gotten soft. I am guilty of this too. If I work them as hard as I know they need, than they might quit. Finally, I just said, “screw that”. If your not tough and don’t want to work hard then I don’t want you. I slept like a champ after that. Heck, I knew in school if I didn’t work super hard in the class (well not so much there, but in hoops), that I would get beat out or wouldn’t play. We had teammates that didn’t play at all, but were loyal and were part of something bigger than all of us….a team. So tired of the primadonna’s and the ratings in basketball. Throw it out and let’s get back to teaching fundamentals and toughness.
At the summer events in July I was exhausted, not only dealing with college coaches, but trying to do to much in a short time. My team was good, but talk about exhausted. We were spent. Many players are judged on one game in the summer. Some are receiving scholarships on one great performance. I know of one player that had 1 point in an all star game and averaged 4 points a game in high school and got a full D1 ride. It was based on one great Las Vegas performance against a horrible/younger team. WOW, is what many coaches said. Often good players have a sub- par game and drop off the radar. That puts a lot of pressure on a 17 year old. I think it’s way to much pressure! Many colleges are unable to take a kid out to lunch, talk, get to know them and build a relationship with a prospective player. I don’t have the answers but I hear the colleges complain all the time. The summer is important, the spring too. I hope the NCAA, AAU and High Schools can figure a way to maximize exposure and minimize over exposure and harm.
In closing, I know I ranted but I love this game. I would like to see the architects, founders and stewards of the game help it get through some of the things that are hurting it. Although, I appreciate your opinion, it is in fact your opinion. You have the right to write something. Just give it the same thought and respect that this game deserves. I would appreciate and respect your input.