Had the privilege of hearing Jake Locker speak this weekend. Of the many interesting and challenging things he shared, this stood out to me:
How often we can get this confused in youth sports. Winning in the “wrong way” is risky message to teach our kids. The lesson they learn on the court will translate in to their work and family lives.
So what is the “wrong way” to win? Winning by a ref’s bad call, a technicality, or by intentionally hurting a player are a few that come to mind. But a few grey-area wrong ways to win include; intimidate young refs so they don’t call fouls on your team, always foul the shooter, foul overly aggressively, only play the 5 best players, only play 2-3 zone and forcing the other team to shoot, or press the entire game when it is obvious you will win.
In youth basketball some of these tactics mean kids are not being development as complete athletes and basketball players. And if half the kids on your team sit on the bench the entire game just to win you are really only helping 5 kids.
Check out this video. Yes, the dark-jersey team created a really strange play. BUT why is the white-jersey team pressing them when it is 16-0. Why bother? Even in the half-court why not just let the team shoot.
Doug DeVries has been working in youth basketball for over 25 years. He has a passion to see sports in balance in life, for kids to thrive in sports, and for parents to enjoy the entire process.