One of the things that has changed over the years is the increase in “organized ball” kids are playing–games with coaches, uniforms, officials, scoreboards and concession stands. In many ways the AAU and grassroots basketball organizations can be helpful to players, but one of the places I think it has definitely hurt kids, ironically, is in the area of competitive spirit.
I say “ironically” because one would think that playing a high volume of games would increase the competitiveness in kids; however, I see the exact opposite. I grew up in an era of pick up games in a park that boasted players such as former NBA players Mark Price, Craig Ehlo, John Bagley, David Jamerson, David Magley and more. Whereas that was certainly a luxury that didn’t exist on most balacktops, the concept was simialr in just about any park one went to back in the 1980′s and 90′s. WIN OR GET OFF THE COURT!
In the park where I played with those players, Valley Vista Park, there would be a 4 game wait most nights, all really good players + the pros. Games were to 11straight (do not have to win by 2) by ‘ones’ so GAME POINT had A REAL SENSE OF URGENCY. Today, kids know that there is always another game, win or lose, and I believe that this scenario has really diminished the competitive drive of even some of the highest level young players.
Now, I realize this is a blanket statement and I also realize there are exceptions to the rule, but as I talk to coaches around the country, im not alone in my thoughts on this issue. I’d like to hear comments from our members at beyondthehardwood.com answering the question: HAS GAME POINT LOST ITS MEANING?