30 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

Friday, October 4, 2013

Open Gym vs. Actual Practice

I spoke with Coach Hoffman last night via text message and we had a back and forth about some of the players in open gym and their play.  Some of them looked pretty good, and some looked not as good as this past summer.  The conclusion we came up with is that there is a huge difference between open gym and actual practice.  It wasn't like it was some ground breaking truth we uncovered, but it is sometimes the most obvious thing that is missed.

What's the difference between the two?  Open gym is about players doing what they think they can do.  It is about them playing and trying to do the things they are capable of, or again, trying to do what they see on ESPN.  Actual practice is when the coaches step in and create structure.  Some players really struggle in the open gym setting with no rules, structure, or role to play and yet when they get into the season with practice and games, they play much better.  It is very similar to good basketball players that are stars on their local team, but struggle on an all star team.

It is a frustrating thing as coaches watch players struggle and not be able to figure it out for themselves, but that's why we get paid the big bucks.  It is amazing that players will continue to butt their head against a concrete wall to try and get through to the other side.  Why do they rarely just use the door?  Any..those decisions with basketball players often times restrict a player from what they think they can do and leads to frustration on their part.  It for sure causes stress on parents and others that love the player. 

But what is more selfish?  Allowing a player to continue to do things that they cannot do, they get frustrated with, and cannot be successful?  Or players recognizing on their own or with the help of the coaching staff that they must not try to do things they cannot do?  If they limit attempting what they cannot do, it will help them and ultimately the team be more successful...but is that why many play for today?