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How to convince kids that there’s more than scoring in basketball

Today, most kids see the soaring dunks of a LeBron James or the unconscious three-point shooting of many college stars (think Dell Curry’s kid, Stephen, for Davidson in the 2008 NCAA tournament) and all they seem to care about is scoring points.

How do you convince a young basketball player that there are many facets of the game beyond scoring?

Things like learning to play defense so well that you can actually help your team more by shutting down the opponent’s top scorer than worrying about how many you score each game.

Or by becoming a team leader, helping other less-talented teammates to remember where they’re supposed to be in certain offensive or defensive sets.

Or at a young age that they simply will be more effective and help their team more by taking good shots from 10 to 12 feet rather than trying to emulate their NBA heroes by shooting three-pointers all of the time.


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Mar 03, 2012
The only way
by: Anonymous I believe that scoring is very important but it all starts on the defensive end. If you play stifling defense scoring will take care of it’s self

Jun 03, 2008
Great Advice James
by: Anonymous I agree with James on this.Basketball coaches have to reinforce the importance of passing, defense, teamwork, etc… and praise the players for these skills.

Obviously, shooting is a critical skill in basketball – after all, if you can’t shoot and score – you can’t win games.

However, the other basketball skills needed to become a complete player and a complete team are just as important. It’s up to the coach to emphasize this during practices and games.

Jun 03, 2008
The Score is Secondary
by: JamesN I think it is in the way you react as a coach.In a basketball game situation I always compliment the passer that makes the assist (or attempted assist if the shot misses), or a defensive effort that leads to a turnover before I will say anything to the eventual shooter/scorer. The shooter gets praised, but not as vigorously as the others.

They know what pleases me & hopefully learn by that. This is reinforced in training with drills always having multiple components to them & the shooting is almost secondary. Even when doing something like form shooting I focus on the technique of the shot rather than the outcome (you see plenty of bad shots go down…