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Basketball Training and Innovation

Several years ago,a college coach and I listened to a trainer’s hustle as he called himself “innovative.” Since then, it has been an inside joke.

I am all for innovation. However, this blog entry and the latest shredded wheat commercial made me think: is innovation making basketball better?

When I was young, the only available source of extra coaching was watching an NBA game on TV and copying their moves or playing against older players and asking for advice. I never had a personal trainer or played year-round basketball. I never traveled out of state to play better competition. I never attended a camp to get exposure.

Do all the personal trainers, DVDs, iphone applications, club programs, exposure events, spring and fall leagues, etc. mean progress? Or, were we better off before?

After all, the players who started the U.S. basketball crisis by losing in international competition in 2002, 2004 and 2006 were the first generation of players to come through the improved system. The players who we criticize because they lack the basketball I.Q. of players from a simpler time or the ability to shoot like players of a bygone era play and train more than ever before.

So, how is it that with all these advances, many would argue that beyond the improved athleticism, there are few advancements in the game? Is it time to put the “No” in innovation? Do players need year-round teams, exposure events and personal coaches to improve? Are players missing out on important means of personal development because there is no personal exploration? Would players develop better skills if forced to copy a professional player or play against older, more experienced players rather than being held back a grade to play against younger, less mature players while having a personal coach correct every mistake?

Are these innovations marketing gimmicks or true progress?

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