[SamRines.com] Placing an emphasis on winning has halted individual player development. Win. Win. Win. Where is the teaching? Not the coaching, the teaching. Not the training, the teaching. Kobe Bryant said it best,

“I hate it [AAU] because it doesn’t teach our players how to play the right way, how to think the game, how to play in combinations of threes… I think everything is a reward system. I think the coaches who are teaching the game are getting rewarded in one fashion or another. It’s just a showcase. I think it’s absolutely horrible for the game… I got lucky because I grew up in Europe and everything there was still fundamental, so I learned all the basics.”

Fundamentals.  I have never seen basketball as bad as I have seen it in it’s current state. Players at every level are lacking fundamentals. Where the offseason used to be about individual development, now it is about the spectacle of AAU basketball and collegiate exposure. Players need time to fail, time to improve their game without constantly being scrutinized in front of people. Players need practice.

Since 1971, the Sam Rines program has been providing players with individual training in “the clinic.” For more than 4 decades, the philosophy has remained consistent, begin with footwork and layups and gradually advance the workout from there. It is meticulous and repetitious. But it works. Pros, overseas players, hundreds of college players, and even more high school players have benefitted from the clinic.

Unfortunately, the clinic has become less popular due to the growth of AAU basketball and high school open gyms. Meanwhile, player skill level is at an all-time low. Players are no longer taking the time to perfect the details of the game. Individual practice is hard. It takes discipline, it is boring, and sometimes it is not fun. However, it works.

And I must mention that not every coach is a teacher. It is hard to teach the game if you have never experienced playing the game in any capacity. You can be a great leader, and/or ‘x and o’ coach, but it may be more difficult to teach a player the details of the game. [More on that later]

But now I ask you, where is the teaching in grassroots basketball?

Kobe Bryant with current college coach Ben Luber, Rider University