The game of basketball has evolved greatly in the past few decades. Since Dr. James Naismith threw the first soccer ball through a peach basket, the game has experienced numerous changes. Different eras have had their respective rules, and changes in these rules have thus created new trends.
The ability to dunk the basketball altered the face of the game in the 1970s. Even though the 3-point basket was part of ABA in the 1960s, it wasn’t until Larry Bird and Magic Johnson’s rookie season in 1979 that the NBA adopted the rule. Once a fashionable trend, today the 3-point shot is an offensive weapon that riddles defenses.
Rules have changed and so have players. College and professional players alike are getting bigger, faster, and stronger. This evolution of the game has created new coaching trends in basketball as well. Youth basketball is where the learning experience begins and new trends are fostered. Here are two new trends in youth basketball that coaches should take notice of and incorporate in their teachings.
Dribble and Drive to the Basket
The archaic coaching philosophy was to pass, pass again, and then pass even more. Some coaches adamantly insist that no one take a shot until a certain number of passes have been made. Basketball fanatics will remember the locker room rant in the movie “Hoosiers.” The coach berated the team for taking any shot before there were at least four passes.
Today’s game has a new trend, however. Quick, skilled dribblers operate from the point guard position. These gifted dribblers are coached to penetrate with the basketball. This often times mean dribbling their defender around in circles until they create a clear path. If they can beat the first line of defense, they either create an opening to score themselves, or find an open player to pass to. The old strategy of passing the ball around the perimeter has given way to this new trend; driving the ball to the basket.
Force the Dribbler to the Baseline
The second change in coaching trends for younger players is a byproduct of the first. Since players are now coached to push the ball down the center of the lane towards the goal, it is a defensive strategy to force them to the baseline.
Old-school coaches would have players running wind-sprints if a dribbler beat them on the baseline. While letting a dribbler drive unabated along the baseline isn’t the idea, keeping players from forcing the ball down the middle of the lane is the objective.
The new theory is that the baseline can be used as an extra line of defense. When the help-side-defensive strategy is employed, the dribbler can be trapped on the baseline. This technique cuts off a direct lane down the middle to the basket.
This change in defensive philosophy helps to defend the previous objective of driving the ball to the basket. Players are now taught to create a breakdown in the defense by driving down the middle. Therefore, to counter one trend, coaches now teach a new philosophy to defend it.
Basketball changes as players grow and new rules are implemented. These are two of the newest trends in coaching youth basketball. While one teaches an offensive objective and the other a defensive strategy, they are closely related. New trends will undoubtedly continue to evolve and coaches will be entrusted with teaching their young players these constantly changing ideas.