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They're Lost or the Missing Link

by Ed Riley

So I get this idea in my head, based on a recent experience or emotion, and I think, "That would make a great chapter!" Now I have found that if I don't write it soon, I lose my train of thought and the emotions behind them. Must be ole fart's disease! So I am ignoring some pressing matters with my local shrink to bring this to you before I lose my train of thought.

Why did I just write the 1st paragraph? Because this will be a short chapter and the 1st chapter makes it a little bit longer? Dah!

I am going to relate an extremely recent experience and hopefully a light bulb will come on in your heads and you'll go, "Yeah, that's what's missing. Now I see! I have been heeeeeled! I see the Light!"

We had lots of our girl's teams play in the preliminary rounds of an AAU tourney this weekend. One of my teams played in the 14 and Under age bracket. I had 12, 13, and 14 year olds playing as a team against 14 year olds. I really didn't care if we won or lost because this was our 1st game as a team. They wanted to play, so we played.

In our Learning Sessions these girls are learning crossovers, behind the back dribbling, spin moves and lots of ball handling skills. I thought that at least we could protect the ball and move it down the court. We have spent eternity learning some of these skills and to watch them in practice makes your heart skip a beat. Some of them are really good at it.

Our 1st game was against a team my daughter's team had played against several times before. (Even though my daughter is now in 9th grade, with the way AAU counts a players age, most of my players were the same age as this team, just a different grade.) Anyway, I knew the team and what they could and would do. I also knew that we would lose and lose big. But that's OK, we were there to play our 1st game and have fun.

Once we were at the game I realized I didn't have enough players to play a game. I went to the other coach, forfeited, and told him if he wanted to play, I could move some of my girls from another team on to this one and we would give him a practice game. We played.

The score was like 84 to 24, we lost. So where's the light bulb that was supposed to appear for you? It's in the describing of our game. In the 32 minutes we played, from my 7th and 8th graders I saw one crossover, no behind the backs, and zero spin moves by my girls. They would dribble right handed, head down, right into 3 defenders, sound familiar?

Let me repeat, 1 crossover, zero behind the backs, and ZERO spin moves! My players had the ability to leave their defenders in the dust, but never used the skills. Why????

In our post game talk, one of my players said to my daughter, "That was a neat move when you drove by that girl. What was it?"

My daughter replied, "A spin move!"

The younger player thought for a moment and said, "Oh, so that's when you use it!"

LIGHTBULB!!!!! "Oh, so that's when you use it!" I know you folks are smarter than I am, so you probably already know what I am about to say. Not only should I have taught them the skills, but I should have taught them when to apply them and why!!!!!

So from here on, I never want to hear "Oh, so that's when you use it," because I forgot to teach them.

Copyright 2001-2002, by Ed Riley, Steve Jordan, Darrell Garrison and Steve MacKinney. All rights reserved.

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