Someone once said of pro basketball, “…give them both 100 points and just play two minutes”! Granted they play a season that is too demanding to play wide open for 90 games. Many times I hear people say they won’t watch pro basketball. Still, if you haven’t watched the NBA playoffs, you have missed the greatest athletes since Samson. The Final Four in college basketball is evidence of attrition in intense playoffs. Duke and Zion and Shoegate caused pre- tournament pause. Then Auburn and Texas Tech lose their top players. Then Baylor’s MVP in the women’s final.
All knees, and tv showed they weren’t fake injuries. Ouch!
Rules are changing to protect players. Should we pay them? Insure them? Deferred payment? Lawsuits for head injuries?
In the early 70’s I asked an opposing basketball coach about the kind of kid one of his players was. His response: “Wasn’t nothing to him till I whipped him with a jump rope I kept in my office!” I was stunned and said “Coach, you didn’t really do that?” Meaning I didn’t think he would do it. He took it all together differently. He thought I meant he wasn’t capable of doing that. Thus he said ” I stood in the doorway. He couldn’t get out. I did (another of his star players) the same way!”
Lots of changes since those days when “mean man coaches” were the norm. Almost had to be one to get a job.
Forty years ago my team won the NAIA men’s tennis title. One of my players had congenital emphysema, yet won three, three set matches in one day. All coaches can remember those instances. Athletics provides those moments and opportunities. And we don’t want to lose that. If there is middle ground now is the time to find it. But if players (and parents) think the goals they dream of come easy, those goals will go un-scored.
-Excerpt From: Tom Parham. “The Little Green Book of Tennis.” Apple Books.
Secondly, I see the young coaches work the kids too much. Your players are not employees, or machines, and you can run them in the ground. Perhaps the biggest criticism I heard of my teams was that we didn’t work hard enough. But, at tournament time we were fresh, eager and goal oriented. Very often we waxed the “hard workers” whose coach had worn them beyond caring much.
I never had a team that wasn’t ready to put away the racket for a while at the end of the season. It’s call “periodization.”
Old football player–“Our coach is willing to lay down our lives for his school.”