Denver Youth Basketball – What I Dislike About The Game

Denver Youth Basketball - What I Don't Like


Denver Youth Basketball: You Can Do Better!

Youth basketball, when played the right way, can be a very entertaining and fun game to watch.  On the other end of the spectrum, when it is played the wrong way and is permitting bad habits for the participants, it can also be extremely frustrating to watch.  Some characteristics that I have seen in youth basketball that I hope will soon correct themselves for the better are players that have too much interest in shooting the 3 pointer, players that prefer being “cool” with the ball rather than efficient, and players portraying a poor attitude.

Obsession with the 3 Point Shot:

The 3 pointer is a great tool in today’s game.  It is a weapon for a team that has players that can utilize it effectively.  This line helps spread the court, allows for an inside-out game, and overall adds to the excitement of basketball.  Also, the obvious point that is being left out here is the simple fact that it is the shot that can provide a team with the most points in a single flick of the wrist.

In youth basketball however, I find that there is an obsession with this shot that limits the growth of the individual as a player.  Players pass up open lanes to the basket for layups by settling for the much more difficult and lower percentage 3 point shot.  They pull up for the 3 pointer in a two-on-one fast break rather than pursuing the basket, making the defender commit, then either passing or laying the ball up for the easy 2 points.  In addition, young players do not have the physical strength to shoot the 3 point shot with good form.  This hurts their development as a shooter.  I firmly believe in that in young basketball players, the mid range shot is a viable skill till they are ready to step out and take on the 3 point line.  Developing the mid-range game is a skill that will be effective for players throughout their career.

Being “Cool” with the Basketball:

One facet of Denver youth basketball that I absolutely cannot stand is being “cute” or “cool” with the ball.  These two terms can be used interchangeably in describing when a player spends too much time performing fancy through-the-legs and behind-the-back sequences that lead to nowhere rather than performing a quick move that allows them to blow by the defender.  These terms also describe when a player makes a no-look or behind-the back pass that does not allow the team to accomplish the desired goal of putting the ball in the basket.

I am all for players that have the talents to utilize the no-look pass, behind-the-back pass, and other amazing moves when that is what leads to the best play for their team.  All the time we see highlights of the great Magic Johnson making incredible plays like these.  The difference between him and players that are “cute” with the ball is that his passes confuse the defense and  get to their teammates with a chance for them to score in a scenario where that would otherwise not happen with a normal bounce or chest pass.

As young players, the fundamentals need to be mastered first.  Then, when the skill level increases and the time to make that appropriate behind-the-back pass presents itself, go ahead and make it.  The point is to do it for the good of the team rather than put on a performance.

Not Being Coachable:

It speaks so much to a young person’s character when they are described as a coachable player.  This means a person responds to a coach or person of authority, they are disciplined enough to take criticism and learn from it, and they keep a positive attitude on and off the court.  These are all great qualities that will translate to several aspects in life for a young adult.

However, when a player is classified as “uncoachable,” it means that they have a bad attitude and don’t understand how to properly learn from criticism.  This is something that is noticeable in youth basketball today.  Players arguing with the ref, talking back to their coach, or presenting a smug or downtrodden look when they are taken out of the game, are all examples of not being coachable.  Having the ability to take instruction and learn from it constructively are habits that will help young athletes down the road.

Things to Improve in Youth Basketball:

  1. Less focus on the 3 pointer
  2. Being effective rather than “cute”
  3. Becoming coachable