need advice
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Author:  orlandomail7 [ 18 Dec 2009, 08:56 ]
Post subject:  need advice

My 16 year old son plays on his High School Varsity team, he has been playing basketball since he was about 5. Every team he's been on he's always fought his way into the starting five. He has always been know for his incredible speed, tenacious defense and the energy he brings to the team. Until this year he had always averaged between 10-14 points, 2-3 rebounds 4-5 assists 2 blocks and 2 steals per game.

all of a sudden this year they have played about 6 games against some average and some not so average teams and he's lucky if he even scores. This isn't the case of him not being at the level to play varsity since it's not his first year and in travel basketball he's played on top ranked (state champion) teams. It seems more like he's lost the confidence and belief he had in himself. I've tried talking to him and convincing him he will get back to his old self but it's not happening. His coach gives him playing time to prove himself but he's not executing. I heard him mention to his friends if he continuous to play so poorly he might as well quit basketball.

I don't know how to proceed, he has the talent and potential to play for a long time, he and I were confident basketball would give him the ability to get into college but now he can't get it together. Maybe someone out there has gone through a similar situation and know of activities, drills, or any advice that would help this young man fix this issue.


Author:  Coach A [ 18 Dec 2009, 09:35 ]
Post subject:  Re: need advice

Such a tough situation for a parent to witness. Especially when you've seen what he is capable of doing.

any external influences?
-family problems?
-new girlfriend?
-school grades OK?
-change in school coaching staff?

He's 16 so I'm guessing he is a junior. You said it was not his first year on varsity so he played varsity as a sophomore
last year?
Were those stats from JV or from when he played varsity last year?

Anyway.....if he was transitioning from JV to varsity I could see a learning curve where his stats and confidence would diminish but sounds like he played varsity last year so it may be a confidence thing.
Keep it positive, support him and tell him to continue working hard and it will come back. Basketball, at any level should still be fun. I know he is going through a frustrating time but somehow he has to get back that love and passion for the game.....then confidence returns.......and with becomes fun again.

Does he play AAU ball in spring and summer? Do other teammates play AAU? Maybe other players are improving their skill sets and are now at his level of talent which can be
challenging for a player.

Help is here!
Reply back
We have many great coaches here that will offer good advice.

Good Luck

Coach A

Author:  Coach Sar [ 18 Dec 2009, 10:08 ]
Post subject:  Re: need advice

These were my first thoughts also.... Coach A has given you some good advice... keep supporting him.. be positive and hopefully he will work his way out of this slump... remind him of one the greatest players in the game.. Michael Jordon... he missed a ton of shots and in critical situations also...

Why don't you take him out for a pizza or something.. sit down and just talk whatever... don't bring up Bball UNLESS he does... funny how much we can learn if we just listen to our kids... especially over a meal, it seems to relax them and they feel good about talking about their problems.


Coach A Posted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:35 am

Such a tough situation for a parent to witness. Especially when you've seen what he is capable of doing.

any external influences?
-family problems?
-new girlfriend?
-school grades OK?
-change in school coaching staff?

I would add these--
- drugs / alcohol?
- a friend of his in trouble?

Author:  JoeHaefner [ 18 Dec 2009, 11:44 ]
Post subject:  Re: need advice

Great advice from all of the other coaches here.

I can relate, but my reasoning for dropoff in production was self-burnout. From about 8th grade to 10th grade, I was a kid who would score 15 to 20 points per game and dish out 4 to 5 assists, get a couple of steals, and play some good defense. I also shot the ball relatively well at about 50%. I got the statbooks in the closet to prove it. 

Around my junior year, I started to lose the deep passion I had all of my life for playing basketball and my stats started to drop off where I was scoring 8 or 9 ppg and my shooting dipped to about 40% my junior year. During the offseason, I would never take any time off. After the season was over, the very next day I would be on the court playing basketball and shooting. It's just something I thought I had to do. I didn't think you should take ANY time off if you wanted to be a good basketball. Oh, how my philosophies have changed…

By the time, my senior season came around, I could barely get pumped up for most games. I shot 33% for the season. Thank God for some trash-talking from opposing teams, great fans (a lot of my friends would stay stuff to get me going), and my coach who completely ripped me a new one at a couple of half-times, I could have had a much worse senior season than I did.

I've done lots of digging and thinking, because I don't want other players to experience what I did. I even researched my home and away points per game. 15ppg at home, 4ppg away. That goes back to my friends saying things to get me riled up. It’s pretty funny looking back. They would say things to tick me off and for some reason, it got me going.

I still believe my main reason for performing below expectations was SELF-BURNOUT. This may not be the same for your son, but I just wanted to offer a different insight. If it is a possibility, get him to take some time off after the season and maybe that itch will come back. Maybe have him pick up another sport.

I know my passion came back after taking a few months off after my senior year, which was the first time I had done that since 5th grade.

Author:  Coach A [ 18 Dec 2009, 12:01 ]
Post subject:  Re: need advice

Great story Joe!!
Burn-out is a real issue for many athletes at all levels. My own daughter needed a break this past summer for a couple months. She just didn't want to touch the ball. She had played continuous hoop from last September thru into June. Playing 7th grade travel, 7th grade school team and then U-12 AAU. A total of about 65 games. She eventually bounced back in the late summer going to a hoop camp. She is very happy and content right now playing.....

One question for our parent:

Does your son still show enthusiasm for the game of basketball outside of his own court time? Does he still watch and follow the NBA, college ball? Does he watch highlights of basketball on Sportcenter? Does he play basketball video games? Does he talk about Kobe, LeBron...etc?

Just wondering if he lost his passion for the entire game of basketball or just his current personal woes.

Stay Positive....he'll bust out.

Author:  Coach Sar [ 18 Dec 2009, 12:30 ]
Post subject:  Re: need advice

Burnout.... great point!

Thats one of the problems today.... coaches - AAU etc want them playing year round. Are they nuts? They keep telling them that they can get them a D1 ride. sure they can.... for the EXCEPTIONAL ones.... so can their high school coaches. Give kids a chance to be kids... how many MJs - Kobe's and Lebrons are there?

Quit blowing smoke at them and let the kids take the lead. IF they really feel that they want to practice 12 months a year, then its on them. But look at some of our posts here....... 1st graders..... in leagues playing zones and pressing... are you kidding me!! And we wonder why they get burned out by the time they are in high school.

I encouraged out players to play another sport...or extra curricular activity, enjoy high school, you only go around once... do the things you want to do and I will support you 100%.

OK, got that off my chest... moving on LOL :-)


Author:  orlandomail7 [ 18 Dec 2009, 12:54 ]
Post subject:  Re: need advice

Thanks for all the quick responses,

to answer some of the questions,

Grades are good, currently around a 3.0
He does have a girl friend but i have yet to see him put her in front of basketball.
his stat average is from both JV and Varsity which he was moved up to towards the end of his sophomore basketball season.
He also has the same stat average in travel ball and averaged similar numbers when he attended exposure camps this summer such as Battle of the ranking (breakdown) and NTF "theworkout"

It may be a self burnout thing, he still watches games and he and his friends all live and breathe basketball, but it almost seems like he is over doing himself and not having fun. like the last poster, in the past i have had success by talking trash to him which creates a beast on the court, but that hasn't worked recently. He does say the coach doesn't like him and has favorites. My response has been maybe you've given him a reason? then i tell him bottom line is, when he puts you on the court you execute and do what he asks you to do, like you or not he won't take you off the court... maybe I'm wrong?

He is an incredible athlete and has played football, volleyball and ran track in HS just because. always ended up in the starting line up and has even earned accolades and recognition, i just want him to succeed in his dream like most parents do and what i don't want is for him to give up and take the path that most teenagers take when they don't have these goals to look forward to.

Thanks again for the great advice!

Author:  Coach Sar [ 18 Dec 2009, 14:27 ]
Post subject:  Re: need advice

He sounds like a great kid.... someone you can be very proud of.

As I am reading your post.... just maybe he is used to being on top and now that he has to take a back seat a little bit he is having problems dealing with it? (just grasping at straws since we are not there)

He needs to have fun when he is practicing or playing in the games... thats what its about... FUN! Some coaches are harder on the younger kids on the team.. sophomores & juniors... for whatever reason....

YOU are right... when he gets on the floor the coach will judge him by the way he plays... I don't care if he is Attila the Hun, if he scores 20, gets 10 rebounds and plays shut down defense.. he will play. Why don't you sit down with him and ask him about his goals... on and off the floor..... and take him out for some small talk too... just to enjoy being with each other... he will be off to college soon and then he will be on his own.

Whats that saying... Play HARD, Play SMART, and have FUN!
Good luck and let us know how its going.


Author:  coachmac [ 18 Dec 2009, 22:43 ]
Post subject:  Re: need advice

I am absolutely blown away with all this advice, I have a PhD in Sports Psychology and could not think of a better way to answer that very difficult question. Man! you guys are all so good I am so proud to be a part of this team and its panel. great job guys simply a great Mac

Author:  Coach Sar [ 19 Dec 2009, 08:05 ]
Post subject:  Re: need advice

You are right Mac,

I always look forward to reading what others say... sometimes I cant think of a thing to add..... this IS a great group..... Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

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