The opening weekend of the high school basketball season featured some negative moments that really bothered me as a former player, coach, official, athletic director and a fan.
First, in many games the losing teams scored under 40 points per game and some in the 30s with some winning scores in the 40s for boys and girls teams.
There are several reasons for these low scores. The first is poor shot selection because some coaches allow their players to decide who shoots, where they shoot from, and when they shoot.
The other reasons for the low scores are poor shooting fundamentals and techniques, coaches not spending enough time teaching shooting, defenses dominating in the early part of the season and too many 3-point attempts.
Other negatives of the opening weekend were parents already complaining about their kids playing time after just one game, a coach complaining in the media about the play of his team, a player receiving a technical foul on a deal ball for unsportsmanlike conduct and a coach complaining to officials even though his team was losing by 30 points.
These negatives are not a great way to start the 2017-18 high school basketball season.
Here is how athletic directors can help their coaches end the negatives.
To improve scoring, have an offensive system determine who shoots, where they shoot from and when they shoot. Also, reduce the number of 3-point attempts.
Parents complaining about playing time is the number one cause of coaches not being rehired. This could be prevented if the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches, the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and the Maine Principals’ Association would get together and come up with a solution.
The solution would be a statement put into all high school athletic contracts that states parents cannot not talk to any school official about playing time, squad selection, team strategy and other players.
Parents should have to sign this contract in order for their child to try out for a team. Coaches can teach life lessons that cannot be taught in a classroom if parents are not hovering around them.
Coaches complaining to the media about their players and team is a big coaching no-no. Instead, take care of any problems during practices.
These days, when a player gets a technical foul, coaches usually take the player out, but later put them back in. A more effective technique to eliminate player technicals would be a team rule that says any technical for unsportsmanlike behavior means the player will be removed from the game and not allowed to return.
Coaches who too often complain to officials should take the officials exam. That would improve their coaching and reduce their desire of trying to officiate while coaching.
The negatives may have occurred due to the excitement or nervousness that often greet the start of a new season. Hopefully, those negatives will diminish as the season progresses.