America needs more teaching from its coaches
By: Jay Bilas (exerpted from ESPN.com - Part 1 of this article ran in last month's edition of the GamePlan)
Fundamentally sound players need to be able to handle the ball, shoot the ball, pass the ball, and use their feet. Unless a player has these basic skills mastered, he will be limited and therefore easy to guard and difficult to play with.
Here are the basic skills needed by every player on the court:
If a player cannot handle the ball with either hand, he will get attacked and overwhelmed by the defense because he cannot go anywhere off the dribble. To be a competent ballhandler, a player needs to be able to control the ball with either hand, and know the proper use of the dribble given the situation. Once a player knows when and how to dribble, how to set up his man to make a dribble move, and has the basic skills and footwork, he becomes much harder to guard, and much more valuable to any team. The best way to become a better ballhandler is to handle the ball more often. Repetition is the key to success as a ballhandler, whether it is doing game speed drills in dribbling around cones or executing the footwork and handling of a spin move, rocker step or reverse pivot. Ballhandlers must also learn to handle the ball playing against a defender. That is the only way to learn how to protect the ball, use the body, and learn to set the defender up for counters. If you want to make players better handlers of the ball, make them handle the ball. And make the big guys handle it in the same situations you ask guards to handle it.
I coached for 23 seasons at five Division I schools. I was a loyal member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association all that time, and I've sat courtside at more club and high school games than I could ever begin to count. But somewhere along the line I missed the memo about the recent change. You know the one I'm talking about -- the one that says that coaching and screaming and ranting and childish behavior are now synonymous.
Having spent so much time in the gym through the years I thought I had seen pretty much any behavior that some Bobby Knight wannabes could possibly offer up. On that count, I was right. Where I was wrong was the extent of the "look at me" behavior that permeated the bench this past summer.
Town after town, tournament after tournament and game after game, coaches (and I hesitate to categorize them that way) stomped their feet, threw their hats, verbally abused officials and players, and acted as if the outcome of their games had a direct bearing on the welfare and future of our great nation.