Sunday, November 2, 2008

Emphasizing "disciplined creativity"

Saw a note in the LA Times the other day about UCLA coach Ben Howland's disapproval of jump passes.

According to the story, during UCLA's only open practice of the season last week, "more than once Howland yelled about such passes."

Coach Howland has made it clear to his players that he does not appreciate "passes made from the air." As one player put it: "He likes the jump stop."

What Coach Howland is stressing is discipline and fundamentals. That's been the hardest thing for my 12-year-old son, who's watched so many NBA games that he wants to emulate the Pro style of ball skills.

His CYO coach stresses good fundamentals. His AAU coach stresses one-handed passes off the dribble. His CYO coach makes the kids run when they don't throw a two-handed pass. Both coaches are right.

My Dad had me do things like throw behind-the-back passes against a tennis wall to practice those. He also made video for me at a young age of Pistol Pete, Earl the Pearl, and Ernie DiGregorio, believing that players needed to have "creative basketball minds."

He stressed discipline, but saw the importance of having the ability to create and master many skills.