South Africa's basketball community

Development of Basketball

By on May 23, 2008 in News

by Bojan Palic-Sports Administrator at The Glen High School

Dear fellow basketball enthusiasts,

Firstly, Victor, well done on the site. It’s an amazing thing you are doing and I am so glad that we are finally talking about how to improve basketball.

I have been following the LOP versus GBL debate for quite some time. Although I am very excited about the fact that there are other people that are just as passionate about the progress of the game in South Africa, I have to wonder whether we have lost focus. We are all too concerned about which side did what to whom, and which side did not follow proper procedure that we have lost the fundamentals of what makes a game grow in a country. Getting kids on the court.

I am saddened by the state of the development, at grass roots level, of the game in the country. I am a high school coach at one of the stronger girls basketball teams in Gauteng. Our school has had numerous Northern Gauteng, Gauteng and National team players over past few years. All of this can be attributed to a focus on the development of the fundamentals, to the passion of the coaches and the willingness to learn and improve their knowledge.

Having been involved in high school basketball for a number of years, I have seen that although the most well organized aspect of basketball in the country, there is dire need for development of basics at this level. This is not a new issue and we are seeing the repercussions of the lack of fundamentals in “higher” levels of the sport such as the university level. When a university coach get a player that does not know how to run a fast break; what it means to “fill the lanes”, how to run a pick and roll, does not know how to post up etc. one must wonder what are our future players being taught. Already we are seeing that the pool of players that we are being presented with at senior level is sorely lacking of fundamentals. It is no wonder that South Africa is not a not known as a competitive basketball nation in Africa, not mention Europe. Granted we are producing players that have gone to play in DIV III colleges in America, but there very few and far between.

One might argue the fact that basketball is not a popular sport in South Africa and the funds that are available are not enough to be able to compete with the likes of Angola and Nigeria ( both competed at recent World Championships). However, if a national federation for a specific sport exist, it goes without saying that funding is available to run the federation and that the growth of the sport should at the forefront of the federation’s agenda.

I might be repeating case points that older basketball enthusiasts have been uttering for some time. One must wonder what some coaches are teaching their kids when a team is able to have achieve results like 56-2, 100-6, 44-4 consistently against different schools. This shows to me that the coaches, in all honestly, do not have a clue about basketball or coaching basketball and in most cases do not know about either one. One must wonder what is happening to develop fundamentals of players, when the same two teams will play each other in the final of their district league, the final of a number of invitational tournaments Johannesburg and a the final of a tournament in another province.

The saddest thing about the whole situation is that there kids that want to play that have a hunger to learn about the game but due to some ill informed coaching are not being taught proper fundamentals, resulting in losing to a team by 50 points (in a running time high school match). What happens to these kids? They get so de-motivated and quit the sport. That is not what we want. In order to compete for popularity with the 3 major sports in South Africa, we cannot have kids quitting the sport due to bad coaching.

I also have to mentioned the coaches of the stronger basketball playing schools. After a team wins 100-6, can one honestly say that the team learnt anything. In order to put that sort of score on the board in a running time game you have to be playing pressure man on man for 40 min against a team that is evidently at a beginner stage. I recently coached my team against a team that, in all honesty, was weak. After the 1st quarter the score was 20-0 (in our favour). I decided we would run no fast break and would wait for the opposing sides defense to set up. My team had to make 10 passes , without a turnover and no bouncing, before they could attempt to score. Some might object to this, but I am confident that my team leant something in that game.

The interesting thing about the growth of the sport, that in our school, basketball is competing with soccer for popularity (in terms of number of players and teams) but the players rather decide on soccer because they see no future for them in basketball.

I sincerely hope that we can bring back the focus to the development of sound fundamentals of basketball in our young players and start improving the standard of play in the country

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There Are 4 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Baller says:

    i agree with Bojan in terms of the focus in basketball. i believe development is the way to go hence we need a league that caters for kids be it under 8 or so. the more our kids play games the better they understand and learn.

    we always find the scores of 80 points difference but then the blame doesn’t entirely lie on the coach. remember that there hasn’t been any coaching development in years and people take to the sport because they love it and try to help. on the other hand lets accept that there are beginners as you mentioned about the game you played.

    they will need atleast 2 to 3 years to get better but can only happen if they play games more regularly. on the other hand as coaches we should atleast assist each other. it won’t hurt if for instance you arrange with the coach of the team you playing to visit his school or he visit you training sessions to learn. that way we developing each other.

    on the other hand,our schools should screen coaches before employing them. that way we get to bring better coaches through the system.

    Bojan, can you please let us know when your team is playing again and where. also directions. would love to come watch the games.

  2. Kw3ku says:

    Just maybe!!!
    FYI. There are games this coming Sunday at the TUKS indoor courts from 09h00am,Tuks is hosting VUT(mens senior) and TUKS ladies hosting TUT!!
    Just as a suggestion maybe coaches should organise for their kids to go watch such games maybe 1Sunday in a month ie. when TUKS is hosting the games(logistics and admin HS coaches know this very well 🙂 ) Ideally this will arouse interest and maybe through word of mouth within peers we will have turnouts at the games.

    Just a thought

  3. Interested says:

    Bball people in SA don’t like taking advice, criticism or sharing knowledge so I doubt a coach would go ask for help from someone that has just trashed his team by 80 pts… But people need to realise when they need help or when its time to move on, because if you have been coaching for long and you don’t see improvement or development, GET HELP or go do something else.

    It all comes down to BSA, which needs to be fixed 1st because they should be organizing the coaches&referees programs and run clinics for kids around the country.

    I agree with K, lets get the schools to come and support GBL and LOP.

  4. Bojan says:

    Thank you for your responses and opinions. I agree with all of the things you have. At the end of the day it is the responsiblity of BSA to organise coaches clinincs. However, cleary this is not going to happen any time soon. So what are we suppose to do?Wait around for BSA to sort it self out?In an ideal world BSA will get their act together and put together a plan for each aspect of the sport i.e. junior development, coaches association, referees association etc. Until that happens it is up to us, the coaches, administrator, players and basketball enthusuists to do our best to improve the game.

    We cannot wait and we should not wait for BSA to do something. If you take a look at the more “successful” high school basketball coaches, they didn’t succeed beacuse they went to a basketball clinic. They succeeded beacuse they made a committment to becoming students of the game and taking it upon themselves to learn more about the game. There are numerous resources on the net, where one can pick up a lot of drills, plays, defenses etc. The information is there, we just need to use it.