Magic, Bird, and MJ Had This Youth Experience In Common - You Need To Let Your Players Make More Mistakes (Here's Why)

I recently signed up my two boys for some soccer training. They have two skill development sessions a week where they work on skills and game-based drills (1v1, 1v2, 2v1, 2v2, 3v2, and 3v3 drills).

They also have two Saturdays a month where they strictly play 3v3 for an hour.

But here's the kicker...

The coaches actively encourage (and even celebrate) mistakes!

You might be thinking...

"Huh? What? How are mistakes a good thing?"

Well, let me explain why I believe this approach is critical for youth development in ANY sport or activity...

And why basketball parents, coaches, and administrators need to take note!

First off, many adults today complain that players today lack creativity, problem solving, or basketball IQ.

(They often reference old school superstars like Magic, Bird, MJ, and Dr. J to prove their point that players today don't have the same level of basketball IQ.)

However, it's important to think about their youth experience versus our youth experience today...

Back then, many of them first learned basketball on the playground with friends and even adults.

They usually didn't start playing organized basketball until age 13-and sometimes even later!

Today, it's the complete reverse.

Many kids first experience basketball in a league by the ages of 7 or 8...and even earlier.

And the problem now is that organized basketball at the youth level is immediately geared towards winning.

Standings and even stats are tracked constantly with the goal being to accumulate more Ws right away.

Now wanting to win isn't necessarily bad, but it shouldn't be the main focus for youth players.

In fact, focusing on winning discourages mistakes and actually hurts youth players' long-term development.

Because to truly flourish, players need to practice in an environment where mistakes are okay.

That's where creativity, problem solving, and basketball IQ can really develop!

And kids will surprise you. There are often times where they will bust out a move or solution that you didn't even think of when they're given permission to take risks and "fail."

But that won't happen if you don't allow them to make mistakes.

This is why I'm glad my 2 boys are also involved in 3v3 soccer training on Saturdays-it creates that perfect environment for learning.

And it also aligns with our philosophy at our Breakthrough Basketball Camps.

  1. Teach basketball moves and skills that improve shooting, ball handling, scoring, footwork, and decision-making.
  2. Apply the skills in environments like 1v1, 1v1, 2v1, 2v2, 3v2, and 3v3 drills.
  3. Encourage mistakes and unique problem solving in these drills and other scrimmaging without the stress of winning games.

Because unfortunately if we don't provide a camp environment like this...

Many basketball players won't experience this and reach their potential and truly maximize their development.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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