Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Too Many Games!

A few years ago, one of the best local middle club teams would play 100 or so club games a year. I disagreed with that practice then and I am more against it now.

The NBA just played a grueling 66 game schedule in 6 months. Mind you, these are the best athletes in the world. They have the best dietitians, physical trainers, chiropractors, and masseuses. They have nutritionally balanced catered meals, cryogenic freezing chambers and hyperbaric champers to speed up recovery. The NBA game is much bigger and stronger than girls basketball, but so are the athletes. Furthermore, the athletes at that level play at a level where basketball plays are made. The league and refs are interested in protecting players, since players are who generate the revenue that keeps the billion dollar business going.

Now contrast that to the local scene. High schools play 32-35 games a season. Add that to a number of schools that play a handful of games in senseless fall leagues. That is already close to 40 games a high school season. Looking at the competition, a number of kids are not, nor will be basketball players. A good portion of players do not know the difference between a good basketball foul and a hack. A number of kids are out of control and reckless in their movements. Our high school players put themselves at risk more than a lot of other places because of the lack of sound teaching, gifted athletes and basketball IQ locally. Add club basketball into to the picture. Many clubs will play in excess of 10 events per summer. Why?? A typical club tournament guarantees 3-4 games. Ten events at 35 games over a summer period is a lot of basketball. Some clubs will play 15-20 events in the same time frame, 50-60 games in a summer. A reasonable schedule of 30-35 summer games in addition to 35 High School games equates to 70 games from October to July a year for teenage age girls. Pros, and all the vast resources they have, played less games than a lot of local girls this season.

In an attempt not to be negative, I am trying to reason the need of so many games. Are parents and clubs using basketball as a constructive outlet for their children? Family time? Are they playing so many games to keep their daughters in shape? Maybe. I can see the reasoning behind all of those reasons. However, if parents are being sold on this road as the best way to development and gain scholarships, that is a lie!

The best players in the world, NBA players, get better in the summer! Not in a summer league but in personal workouts in the summer. Michael Jordan and his famed 'Breakfast Club' workouts at 7am with the likes of Scottie Pippin and Ron Harper are the example. The 'Hill Workouts" of Jerry Rice during the off season is what he credits for being the greatest receiver in NFL history, statistically.

I have watched local teams play too many games and the some of the "best" players years ago have not gotten better and there college suitors are minimal. If parents and club coaches are playing for school opportunities, obviously, playing upward of 100 games a year is NOT the way to go about it. It is quite the contrary.