How's the game changed that much?

I have had the opportunity to run many clinics and camps over the past 21 years. This spring Doug West and I are running a weekly clinic to help youngsters learn the basics of practicing to become better players. We have built the format based on our years growing up in Altoona Pennsylvania and having coaches stress jump ropes, ball handling and shooting. In executing our format, Doug and I are amazed at how difficult rope jumping is for these youngsters. The conditioning and agility necessary to jump rope can be applied to the jumping and coordination required on a basketball court. Why has jump roping gone away. Right now Doug and I use jump roping as a warm up to our skill preparation stations. Something so simple as to take a rope and tape the ends and jump. Double leg, single leg, alternating legs, double jumps and crossing. I have noticed that double leg jumping is very difficult for the majority of the players. Trying to transition from one exercise to another is very rare among our participants as well. The lack of immediate gratification from jumping rope warrants our constant reminder that times are a changing.

This lack of the basics is seen all over the program as we continue to teach ball handling and shooting. Many of the participants need to improve the basics with speed, cross over and change of speed ball handling at its' simplest form requiring much repetition. Shooting hand and foot placement requiring our constant reminder and teaching. Of course these kids like playing games but lack the fundamentals of proper practice and the basics. I hear it a lot about how things have changed but basketball. Yes maybe you are required to dribble faster, and the game is more physical on both ends but I refuse to see the changes in this great game.

The requirements are simple. Learn to dribble the ball with both hands changing speeds, changing direction and running with the ball with speed dribbling. How about shooting. Good base, focus on the front of the rim, elbow in and an extended follow through with back spin. When and how to pass to your teammate. The use of screening and hand offs to get open. Defensive mindset with quick feet and be selfless with help defensive position. Guarding the basket.

I get excited thinking about all I want to teach but need to realize that the simple truth is in the basics. If I take what we learned from some great teachers in Altoona Pennsylvania Coach Swogger and Coach Taneyhill there was nothing fancy about what they taught. Being basic and repetition helped. What else helped was the fire within to get better each and every day.

Here's hoping Doug and I can keep it simple and lite a spark along the way.


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