ESPN Analyst Jay Bilas Argues America needs more 'teaching' from its coaches.
Bilas says, "No reasonable basketball person can refute the fact that the fundamental skills of American players are slipping, and so is the American game. I believe a primary reason is an increased emphasis on coaching the game, and a decreased emphasis on teaching our kids how to play the game."
"Generally coaching of team preparation, the devising of game plans and schemes to defeat opponents. When you are coaching, you are dealing with the strategies, different offenses and defenses, and putting in plays to take advantage of the skills, strengths and weaknesses of your players. The measure of a coach is the quality of the development of his system, and has been distilled into winning."
"'Teaching' consists of instruction and training of individuals in the fundamental skills of the game, and in teaching players how to play, instead of how to run plays.
The measure of a teacher is not in winning, but in the fundamental soundness and skill level of the players taught. A player with excellent fundamentals and skills can play successfully in any system."
"American coaches, at all levels, have gotten away from teaching, and have gravitated more to coaching.
"Immediate Gratification of Coaches: A greater interest in winning than in developing well-skilled and fundamentally sound players. They are impatient."
Bilas makes some suggestions.
He says, "It takes time to teach and instill discipline. While it may seem more important to spend the majority of time in practice working on the execution of half-court offense, or putting in new set plays, it is far more important to develop the skills of your players."
"Increased Specialization: Kids are identified by size and body type into positions way too early on in their development and are 'coached' differently. The result of this specialization is that our (American) players are boxed in and therefore limited.
"Emphasize working on (motor skills and the finer technical skills of a sport.) Do not divide players, every player works on the same skills making more well-rounded and more fundamentally sound. And they are more coveted by coaches at all levels.
In conclusion Bilas makes solid reasons for his argument that sports parents and coaches should keep in mind.
"The U.S. has the Best Athletes, the Best Coaches and the Most Basketball Resources in the World.
We need to spend less time coaching, and more time teaching, especially at lower levels of the game. We need to encourage coaches to teach, not just to coach, and for players to practice, not just to play. There is not reason why our better athletes cannot be our best players. If we do a better job of teaching, the level of play in the U.S. will skyrocket, and the game will be better for it."