Fundamental Principles of the Game

When coaches focus on player development, they should coach more towards player success and happiness, rather than specialization of a certain skill. This coaching philosophy is especially important in youth leagues because focusing on player specialization could stunt player growth and hinder their future skills.

The first aspect of this coaching philosophy is making sure players are both capable of playing in today’s game, but also prepared for tomorrow’s game. In order to properly prepare players for the present and the future coaches should train players for a fast-paced game. Training for a fast paced game would involve cardio conditioning, as well as practice drills that go at game speed. On the offensive side of the ball, most team schemes focus on hunting mismatches, players should be informed on how to deal with mismatches both offensively and defensively(Lesson Two, Topic Eight). The current state of the game requires players to have individual skills to create offense, which fits into a greater team offensive skill set. To fine tune these skills youth players should be having practice drills run 1v1 or 2v2 to ensure they get more time with the ball. Defensively, schemes are usually team based and focused on helping each other through rotations, tipped passes, and rim protection. Players today are more skilled than ever before, and nearly impossible to defend individually. Lastly, the game today is more perimeter oriented, which requires shooting and dribble penetration skills. Players should work on shooting and dribbling no matter their position.

At the youth level, coaches should focus on development of all skills, rather than specialization. A term to describe this would be coaching “positionless” basketball. In the past, tall players were told to get under the basket, and play with their back to their basket. Today players are being coached to shoot, dribble, post up, regardless of their position. This coaching style is beneficial because those skills will always be necessary in the future of the game. Coaches can assist with this development by allowing all players to practice all drills.

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