Saturday, July 25, 2009

Get in where you fit in

So many great articles have been written about the need for kids to make sure they choose the right college based on fit. However, I have read few articles addressing the need for parents to make sure that your child is in the right club. What is the right club?

The right club for your child is the one in which your child "fits". Here is an example:

An out of town kid flies in to play with a local club recently. As always, this kid is playing up in grade a few years. Her small frame belies a tremendous ability and desire to succeed. This kid is a female version of Allen Iverson. I have personally seen this kid score 30 points on college bound kids at 10 years old. She is a volume shooter. For her to thrive, she needs to take a lot of shots but she has a remarkable ability to get hot and make a lot of them. She excels in an unstructured environment that rewards creativity. So how did her trip to play with the local club turnout? Terrible!!! This kid played with a team that is the antithesis to her style of play. This team runs a ton of set plays and is very structured. This team has little need for creativity. Creative players turn the ball over more than conservative players and turnovers spelled the end of her playing time. This player chose to play in a foreign environment in an exposure event. Instead of getting college coaches' attention, she was exposed for the negative things that she could not do. Her father called me to express his concern. He was a little disheartened that a BCS school that was raving about his daughter at an earlier event(with her regular club) was watching his daughter struggle for playing time with this new team. His 12 year old daughter already had received two letters from this major conference school and numerous smiles, winks and waves from the coach who sent them. As his very gifted daughter sat dejectedly on the bench after not playing up to her caliber, he texted me that he just received word from back home that 3 more letters had arrived from BCS Conference schools for his little bench warmer.

Now, some may say that this child is not that good. The fact is , this 12 year old made the All Tournament Team at one of the most prestigious events in the country while playing against girls 3-5 years her senior. THE KID CAN PLAY. The problem is that the kid can not play in a system that cherishes the things that she is not.

I always equate the great game of basketball to the sweet science of boxing. All boxing trainers think they are the best and that their boxers are unbeatable. Like basketball, different styles come from different regions and styles make fights.

I love Mexican fighters. The predominant style in Mexico is aggressive. It is 'straight-forward-I'm-coming -so-be-ready', style of boxing. This style makes for exciting(and violent) boxing matches, with the action being nonstop. But, a punchers nightmare is an expert counter puncher. Floyd Mayweather Jr. has made a ton of money beating Mexican trained fighters because of his unique ability to slip(dodge) punches and counter punch for points. His Detroit style brand of boxing is even more specialized since his father and uncle(both pros in their day) trained him different from the average Detroit fighter. My point is that, Mayweather has made some of my favorite fighters look like they are not very good because of his style. A bad basketball fit can do the same to certain players.

When choosing a club, parents need to make sure that the clubs philosophy lines up with theirs. More importantly, parents should make sure that the club is a good fit for their daughters talent, ability and skills.