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Basketball's Greatest Mysteries, Including Teamwork


by Ed Riley and a lot of friends

Since the dawn of time, (dontcha just luv the way I started off so official-like?), people have asked the "W" questions, who, what, where, why, when, and are We there yet. Why does the govt. tax us so much? What happened to that guy's hair? Who is that person across the room? When do I get off work? You, know, the "W" questions.

Basketball is no exception. There are a gazillion basketball mysteries to explore. I asked a few of my e-friends to chip in and we have come up with a partial list of these mysterious unknowns. It's been a little slow on the discussion board, our book has been serious for too long, so here's a little basketball fun fer yea.

  • When you are winning by 1 with 2 seconds to go and the other team's worst freethrow shooter goes to the line for 2, why do they always make both of them and you lose? by b-ball ed
  • How does my coach figure out who to sub next? by every player who has ever played the game?
  • Why do kids almost knock each other over with hard passes during passing drills and then on game day each pass is so slow and soft it would not knock over a feather. by SAS
  • Also - What's a bounce pass?? - We practiced them every week and I don't think I ever saw one from my team in a game. by SAS
  • Why does my point guard show up at an important game1 hour before the game but can't find her shoes 10 seconds before the game starts? by Dr. D
  • Why is it that everytime coaches instruct their players to shoot within 10-12 feet at halftime, one of their players launches a three within the first 10 seconds of the first possession which elicits an instructional "No, that shot is too far....." from the coach as the three is drained. Eyes rollback in the coaches head and he stops in midstatement and gives that player a smiling glare and they both know everything is ok. From Ed's Old Buddy of past firepower days, Dave
  • Why does my team practically kill each other during practice scrimmages and then on game day play as if they don't want to hurt a flea? by SAS
  • Why does an outlet position for a guard mean stand in the high post? by JAM
  • How can a player foul out when you specifically tell them not to foul, no matter what? by b-ball ed
  • Why is when you run your offense / a cut and get a score more than once in a row, your players make sure they never ever run that same cut/play again that night. by Raider_Coach
  • Why was I worried when I had a ref say "who's ball is it anyway " repeatedly while blankly staring at the possession arrow? And why did the other coach keep saying it was his ball, every time?? Coach T
  • Why do the weakest players' parents think they are the best players on the team? And why are those parents the most vocal critics of the coach?? by Coach T
  • Why is it that the smallest player on the court seems to come up with the most important rebound of the game? by LC
  • This next one is a great one for newer coaches. How come the other team always seems to get the ball to begin the second half? by b-ball ed
  • Why does it alwas seem like it's your better players who have bad attitudes? by b-ball ed
  • I did the same thing the last time they had the ball, why is it a foul this time and not the last time? by b-ball ed
  • No matter who refs our game, why do they always pick on us? by b-ball ed
  • Why do we teach our kids "you got to learn how to play the game properly," when the pros' don't? by JAM
  • Why is it that your weakest shooter always wants to practice shots outside the 3 point line when they can't reach the basket from the freethrow line? by JAM
  • Why is it that the smallest player on the floor jumps higher than the tallest??? by Sbay Coach
  • Why is it the longer the shorts, the more the player wants to pull them down??? by Sbay Coach
  • When coach call for a press, why does the team press THAT time down the floor but forget to keep pressing after that? by Coach Landwehr
  • Why do coaches call a time-out to tell players what to do and what not to do when we KNOW that they will do the opposite? by Coach Landwehr
  • Why do post players believe that they are point guards? I don't know any point guards who want to go to the block and post somebody up. by Coach Landwehr
  • When every player has their number on the front and back of their uniform, how can you lose your player? THE NUMBERS DON'T MAGICALLY CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GAME, DO THEY? by b-ball ed
  • When you send in a sub and they are waiting to check in, the player you are taking out will always make a great play and then all the fans will say, "Why did that idiot take HER out?". by Coach Mac
  • The worst passer on your team will always want to throw the ball in on your inbounds plays. by Coach Mac
  • The more you want to run clock, the more likely someone is to throw up a three. And if you jump up and yell "NO!!!" as they shoot it, it will go in. by Coach Mac
  • If you have a player who misbehaves in practice and you finally discipline her, her parents will complain that you are picking on her and the other players will complain that you let her get away with too much. by Coach Mac
  • If you almost never yell, but maybe once a season you cut loose on the kids, the principal will walk into the gym at the peak of your tirade. by Coach Mac
  • Why do younger players jump in front of a driving teammate and yell "I'M OPEN" by Coach Kel
  • Why does the ref's can only see my players foul? by Coach Kel
  • Why is what the coach on the next court is teaching his players so much more interesting than I'm trying to teach my players? It must be, because that's where they're always looking> by Coach Kel
  • Why is it that the other team's 3 point shot at the end of the game always seems to go in, while yours comes up a bit short or goes in and out. (Happened to us 5 times a couple of years ago). by Country Coach
  • Why don't the guards see the forwards?? Can they only see horizontal? At what age does the vision improve (I had 9 yr olds for this one) by SAS
  • Why does someone launch a 3 pt shot with 45 secs in the game when you are up by 1 by SAS
  • Why does the other team always seem to find the open man. by SAS
  • When playing m-2-m why does someone need to be triple-teamed (this only happened to me the first couple of games). by SAS
  • My last mystery is what is so magical about the ball that everyone wants to hold it by SAS
  • Why is it that the other team always has fewer fouls than your team? by b-ball ed
  • Why is it that players continually think that playing defense means using your arms, not your feet? by b-ball ed
  • Why doesn't the ref ever give the other coach a technical? by b-ball ed
  • Why is it whenever you tell your player not to foul they do??? - Sbay Coach
  • Why is it when you call a time-out tell your player to spread the floor and run you delay play, they take a quick or unneeded 3 pt shot??? - Sbay coach
  • How does a player play one game as if everything he's learned has finally sunk in, then play the next game as he has all the others? by the boy
  • Why does one of my players alwayers get a style hair cut and a new pair of shoes when we play the number one team??? He always has a bad game!! by coach butch
  • Why is it that whenever a youth team wins, the parents say "My kid is really good" and when they lose the parents say "My kid's coach is really bad". by coach mph
  • Why is it that when you tell your point guard not to dribble straight up the middle of a 2-1-2 zone because he will get stuck, he does it anyway.And no suprise, he gets tied up 4x in a row.
  • And when questioned about said variation from the coaches instruction, he replys "but I'm a good dribbler" by JAM
  • Why when you tell a player to force the player left they get beat baseline right? by mb
  • "That player is killing us. You need to keep them from scoring." After hearing their coach say this, why don't players ask, "Alright coach, we understand what needs to be done. What we need is for you to give us some ideas on how. It's obvious that what we are doing isn't working, so why don't you follow up with HOW to do it?" by b-ball ed
  • I have heard for years that attitude helps to win games. So why do so many coaches scream at their players, humm??? by b-ball ed
  • I once coached a team that couldn't make a freethrow or get a rebound, so why did I constantly want the other team to foul us in the act of shooting, DAH?
  • Why does a player who wears a true medium shorts, want an x-large? Then, they are constantly pulling them up ????
  • Why when you tell a player to stay out of the corners they dribble right back in? by mb
  • Why when playing against a full court press a player picks up his dribble as soon as he crosses the half court line and gets trapped? by mb
  • Why when the other team is shooting free throws and you yell "Box out," invariably you lose the rebound? by mb
  • Why players block out harder to get the seat on the bench closest the coach than they do on the court to get the rebound, which is the reason they are sitting on the bench in the first place. by Boni

If you have any questions, please post them on the discussion board on my website at www.coachingyouthbasketball.net Hopefully you will get prompt help from more than just me.



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



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Excellent video with thoughts and drills on organizing your practices. Learn from one of the greatest coaches of the game, Coach "K".
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