IF YOU PLAN TO PLAY AAU BASKETBALL THIS SUMMER, BE SURE TO BRING YOUR “FLOOR GAME”.
What is a floor game, you ask? This is what separates you from the rest of the players on your team and the rest of the pack you play against. When you have a good floor game you are a godsend to your team, your coaches, your fans and most importantly to those who love you. And it is usually those that love you that have to watch you play all those games at traveling AAU tournaments. Give them a break, and provide the fans with something special…YOUR FLOOR GAME.
So many players are concerned with scoring points that they miss the message of being a player. They think that if they score a lot of points they will get noticed and get a college scholarship. Basketball is a team sport, and therefore, should be viewed from the standpoint of how you can best serve your teammates. A good floor game serves your teammates. Your skill set is consistent, strong and ready for action. Shot Selection is a priority. The agenda of forced shots, selfish shots, plain old bad shots are not in your bag of skills.
A good “Floor Game” is the ability to manage the game well. You have a sense of urgency to take care of the basketball. Each possession means something to you. You dig and scratch for every loose ball. Every offensive possession must end with a field goal or a trip to the foul line. When the ball is in the opponent’s hands you are contemplating ways to get it back. The basketball is gold and you are not about to part with it. If one of your teammates has a more opportune shot or a higher percentage shot, you give up the pass immediately. There is no thought of your own personal stats, only those of the team. The game flows and it flows through you.
Here’s the really neat part about someone who has a great Floor Game… They are so much fun to watch. They think the game while they are on the court and nothing bothers them. They will not let any distraction disturb their sense of calm or peace while they are on the floor playing basketball. Their demeanor is such that, as a fan, you just want to be a part of their every movement when they are on the floor. You look forward to their next game and plan your life accordingly, so you can be there to witness their triumph on the “floor”. Simply put: that player has game; “Floor Game”.
TO PLAY AAU OR NOT TO PLAY AAU
To play AAU basketball or not to play AAU basketball…that is a great question. I am asked that question several times a week.
AAU basketball has a place in a young persons development and it allows that player the opportunity to use their skill sets. The situation only becomes unproductive when players/parents expect the AAU program to work miracles for the player. High school coaches/AAU coaches have to concern themselves with their overall team production first. Limited practice time and gym space are factors that affect the amount of time that coach/ teacher can spend working on the individual development skill set for any player.
It takes an inordinate amount of time by any coach to work on the individual offensive skill sets of a player. It is a time commitment by both player and coach.
Young players need to spend time working on their own ballhandling, dribbling, passing, and shooting skill work. Bottom line… This takes time! It is boring, it is tedious, and it is plain hard work. It is not fun and you have use perseverance. There are a lot of good players out there, both boys and girls, who will never become great because they will not put the work in to make it happen. AAU programs are all different and they will bring positive things to the table. But one thing they cannot bring is an automatic conviction that if you play on an AAU team you are going to be noticed, eventually be offered a scholarship, and become a terrific college player. If parents are sending players to AAU showcases and they are coming in with the exact same moves and skills that they had at the last two showcases… There are problems.
You never stay the same, you either get better, or you get worse.
Summers are for working on your skill development and getting better. In my 33 years as a college D1coach, I cannot recall one player who became better simply by playing games. Two words I would recommend to any young player, male or female, hoping to achieve their dreams… Repetitions, Practice!
WATCHING FROM THE STANDS!
Retirement provides a person with a lot of wonderful opportunities. The days of the week are now labeled as six Saturdays and one Sunday. It is on Sunday that I rest from all my hard work of the previous six days of Saturday’s.
During the week I usually have the opportunity to sit in the stands and watch the game that I love…Basketball. Sometimes it is six grade girls playing these athletic events. Often, their style of play, reminds me of what happens when you turn the lights on and the water bugs scatter all over the floor. Or perhaps it is a high school game with some talented players and lots of vocal fans.
Things never stay the same. But one thing that hasn’t changed are the reactions of the fans to the officials. The poor officials! I always said that officials have the job of starting out perfect and improving as the game went on. I’ve always believed that the officials are a professional group of individuals. They are there to administer the rules and to allow the youngsters to showcase their talent. They are the managers of the game while it is being played on the floor. It is their job to show good judgment about how many fouls or traveling calls need to be whistled. Truth be told, if the officials called every walk, change of pivot foot, fumble-dribble-fumble, three second, loose ball situation, we would be here forever.
Playing a sport allows our youngsters the opportunity to learn life’s lessons while doing something that hopefully they enjoy. It allows them the opportunity to learn and show respect. It allows them the opportunity to demonstrate real sportsmanship in both winning and losing circumstances. A lot of good can come out of those 24 minutes. Unlike a football game were roughly 10 flags or violations are called in a game, basketball has a lot of whistles in it. The ability to properly manage “chaos in motion” is an art. It takes patience, good decision-making, and a thick skin to officiate our children’s games.
To all who consider themselves a coach and have taken on the task of coaching our youngsters, please think before you scream at the official to call a walk or to call a foul for your side. Instead, think how you might offer a positive suggestion that will enhance your players/students to become better basketball players and true sportsmen.
Coming April 2014
Basketball Pioneer Theresa Shank Grentz, a decorated player and coach, is sharing her twelve pillars of character in her upcoming book, Lessons Learned Playing a Child’s Game. This book is a must-read for athletes looking to advance to the next level in their game. Not only will this book motivate and inspire for on-court success, it will also provide key insights to living a fulfilling, happy, satisfied life away from the court. It is the first book penned by Grentz since leaving the hardwood after spending 33 years as a Division I Women’s Basketball Head Coach, with one highlight of her career being the Team USA Women’s Basketball Head Coach in 1992 at the Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
“I was motivated to write this book because it gives back,” Grentz said, a three-time National Champion and All-American who played at Immaculata College just outside of Philadelphia, PA. “I am simply sharing my experiences with those who are playing the game today.”
Lessons Learned Playing a Child’s Game is a story within a story about how Grentz recruited, and the kind of personality she was looking for in her recruits. There will be plenty of ideas, lessons, and stories shared for today’s athletes and parents going through the recruiting process.
“Lessons Learned Playing a Child’s Game is there for anyone who is looking for a plan on how to go to the next level. It is a road map with lots of stories and examples that relate to all ages,” said Grentz, a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. “It is a bridge of connection and fun. Everything in the book is information that I have learned through the years of playing, teaching, and coaching basketball.”
Lessons Learned Playing a Child’s Game will be available on eBook in November 2013. Grentz wrote the book as told to Dick Weiss and Joan Williamson.
For the latest news and updates on Theresa Shank Grentz, follow along on our website www.grentzelitecoaching.com, Facebook page, and Twitter (@TheresaGrentz12). Explore our website for ways to book Grentz for basketball lessons and speaking engagements.