By Jeff Haefner
Here’s a guest post and very good lesson from Coach Ken Sartini. We really think he was on the money with this, so we decided to post it on our blog. Enjoy…
I went to church this morning and as I was looking through the weekly bulletin I came upon this:
Jesus said: ” A foolish person builds a house on sand…. A wise person builds a house on solid ground. ”
The Deacon spoke on this at length during his homily and it got me thinking. Since I always told my students about building a house and that it takes a good foundation for it to last, but with a poor foundation the building will crumble. I told them that their education was the foundation for their lives. Get a good education and build a good foundation for your future.
This holds true in basketball also. If we are to have a good program we need to build from the bottom up… ( the foundation ) and that begins at the lowest level possible, teaching the fundamentals of the game and how to play, NOT just sets and winning as the end all. Good solid fundamentals are the foundation of your programs. As a varsity coach I loved it when kids came in knowing how to play m2m defense, be able to read and set screens and how to shoot. I didn’t care what offense they ran, as long as they had these basics, we could teach the rest.
Now comes the planning part.
I was talking to John Jenkins and we were discussing fundamentals vs winning and we came to the conclusion that while the basketball fundamentals are extremely important there are other things that the players need to know in order to implement these. He related to me of a college coach that came in to coach some of his younger kids and taught nothing but fundamentals. Since they didn’t run a press offense in practice, they got destroyed and never got the chance to do much in games.
John and I talked about some kids that were shooting the ball off their left eye and pushing the ball instead of good solid fundamental shooting. We had some kids that came in and they were dribbling with their right hands, taking the ball to their left side before bringing the ball up to the proper side to shoot. It takes a lot of time to break bad habits like this.
So, to all you lower level youth coaches, plan your practices wisely!
Make a good practice plan, just like you would have a lesson plan in the classroom. I realize that at some levels time is a big factor – so planning is even more important. If you don’t know how to make a good practice plan, search the Internet and find the answer….. or find a mentor to help you learn that skill. Use your time wisely, make sure that you cover the things that they are going to need to play the game while teaching good fundamentals. Help them build a good foundation so they can continue to play as they progress through each level….. and they will have some success.
While everyone wants to win…. in the end.. who really cares if kids go 30-0 and cant play when they reach high school because they are so far behind fundamentally. That is the measure of your success as a youth basketball coach.
OK, that’s my sermon for the day. Sorry if I bored you… but like I always say…JMO….
If you’d like to contact me or ask me a question, just leave your comments below.
Coach Ken Sartini
In the long run, it’s not what we have done, but what we have become through all of our experiences.