Monday, August 3, 2009

Interesting article on Lack of Fundamentals

Legendary College Coach, Hugh Durham gives his opinion on why fundamentals are lacking in today's game. The article is taken from the great site,

By Hugh Durham

I was a division I head coach for over thirty years and I witnessed many changes. One could probably come up with a lengthy list of the changes that have helped to make the game of college basketball, the exciting sport that it is today. But somewhere along the way one thing has become less important.

Have you ever heard of the concept of fundamentals?

Somewhere during the course of my career, fundamentals exited through the turnstiles. There are a number of players that display excellent fundamental play, but there are few “teams” that can boast a roster of these players. It’s an entirely different brand of basketball today. It’s a game fancy dribbling and high wire acts. That is what the kids saw on television, growing up, so it became their fabric.

The Sports Center showcase doesn’t focus on players that take charges, diving on the floor for a lose ball or the post player getting excellent position and then power dribbling to the basket.

Instead it’s about the around-the-back through-the-legs over-the-head pass or that nifty dunk. So many players today are more concerned with creating and “naming” new dunks then they are with executing an in-bounds play.

And how about all of this fancy dribbling? Any halfway decent player can play Houdini with the basketball. In fact a lot of kids can put on a dribbling exhibition, but they don’t know how to pass or shoot the basketball. It’s all about pizzazz today. You won’t find a lot of a crisp, solid passes on YouTube, but you will find plenty of basketball magicians.

Some will disagree with my assessment of today’s game, but it is a fact that fundamentals are lacking in our game today.

So who is to blame?

By no means can we lay this on the AAU coaches, as some have implied over the years. The fact of the matter is that the players are more physically developed and seasoned because of the AAU coaches.

The fact that dunks and a fancy handle are sensationalized on television and the Internet is a factor, but in my opinion it’s the summer structure has greatly contributed to the lack of fundamentals.

It wasn’t that long ago when players spent their summer practicing with their high school teammates. But now kids are playing 40 to 60 games over the summer, often with a new team every week.

Players gain valuable game experience, but it’s difficult to develop any type of chemistry and continuity when you are playing with a number of different players. And unfamiliarity breeds individualism.

It’s all about one-on-one or catch-and-shoot. This environment eliminates the development of fundamentals.

Like any sport, college basketball has evolved into a different game today. The tempo, intensity and excitement level are at a higher level than ever before. But pure athleticism has become the dominant force in the game.

Maybe I am just a throwback to a different era of coaching, but I am sure even the youngest of coaches would agree that something as simplistic as a good-solid pass into the post has become a lost art.