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  • jon2247

Sitting in the mess

"This looks awful...there's some chatter from the parents that the girls look like they're actually getting worse" is the text I got from my wife watching my daughter's 6th Grade Flash team play at a tournament towards the end of last Season.

What she was describing was a messy game--poor rebounding, turnovers, and lack of execution in general. What was most upsetting was the fact that it seemed like every girl was taking awful shots, with few of them falling. They lost the game handedly.

I thought to myself, I've been to many of my daughter's practices and I know that it is simply illogical to think the girls could actually be getting worse with how they've been trained and how hard they work. Then it hit me...

A drill I've seen these girls do countless number of times is decision making off a catch. Essentially if you are open when the ball is passed to you, you rip your eyes to the rim and if a defender is slow in closing out on you, you shoot the ball. It does not matter if you are a shooter or not, you let it fly if the 'read' is there. "Good shot!", "Way to shoot it", "Good read!" is what you hear from their coaches in this drill--regardless of those shots end in a make or not.

Now translate that in the game and this is what it looks like--messy. The girls probably were not in range, not in rhythm, or both. Their shooting technique was probably off. What everyone saw was a team of awful shooters who won't stop shooting. This is not what I see.

What I see is a group of 6th Grade girls who have been gifted early on in their basketball careers with the confidence to shoot the basketball. Yes, there is technique, rhythm, range, and other things to learn and develop over time, but your willingness and confidence to shoot the ball comes first.

While a small microcosm of the game, this is an example of how coaches and teachers can have a profound impact. It is what we mean when we say we hope to play to a different scoreboard.

As a parent myself, I am challenging myself to 'sit in the mess' as I watch my kids grow in the sport they clearly love.

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