Are You Old School Basketball?

Are you old school?


We hear the term, “I’m old school” a lot. I probably hear it at least once or twice a day from coaches. But what does this even mean?


Does it mean, “I believe in team play. Moving the ball a a lot for the open shot.”? Possibly. So the San Antonio Spurs are old school.


Does it mean, “I believe in disciplined players and a disciplined team.”? Possibly. If this is accurate then John Wooden was old school. He always believed the smallest details determined a successful player and team on the hardwood.


Does it mean, “Defense is important.”? Possibly. Coaches generally love the belief that defense is crucial in determining success for a team.


At Pro Shot, we believe in team play, discipline and defense. Any coach who doesn’t believe in these aspects needs to have his or her head examined. So I guess most coaches are “old school.”


After thinking it over this past weekend, I believe when many coaches say they are “old school” they might be saying, “I believe only in what my coaches taught me.” In other words, “I am too busy” or “too close minded to learn.”


Life is about learning. One of my favorite sayings is: “Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open.”


Nowhere are minds more closed than in regards to shooting a basketball. It is amazing how many coaches I talk to claim, “I know how to teach shooting to my players.”


“Then why are your players such bad shooters?” And the excuses start spewing out like lava from a volcano. “We don’t have time.” “Shooting is not important.” “My players don’t practice.”


The simple truth is this–If you have a high school or collegiate basketball program that doesn’t shoot well then a good percentage of the blame must be directed at the coaches. You are in control of your program. You are in control of your players.


Many high school and college teams that used our system last year shot over 40% from the 3 point line for the season. Lutheran South in Houston shot 45% AS A TEAM. Why? Lutheran South’s coaches don’t allow a player to shoot “his way.” The players must shoot the way the coaches teach. The coaches are in control of their program.


Shooting cures a lot of woes. If you have no size, you better be a great shooting team. If you lack athleticism, you better be great at shooting.


But if your teams don’t practice shooting, you will struggle with shooting. A few years ago a D-1 Womens College Team in Ohio finished dead last in NCAA in three point shooting. Recently I asked one of the players, “Did you ever work on shooting?”


She responded, “Never.” Gee, I wonder why they finished dead last? As a postscript, the coach never had a winning record and was fired two years later.


As a coach, it is important to try new ideas and search for ways to improve your players especially in the art of shooting.


Below is Part I (of four) interview with Craig Impelman, who was an assistant at UCLA in the 70’s and 80’s. Listen to what he says about Coach Wooden–“A big part of his genius was how open minded he was and how eager he was to learn and try new ideas.” I hope you get a chance to watch this ten minute interview.


If I’m not mistaken Coach Wooden won a few championships and is regarded by many as the best collegiate coach of all time.


Was he old school? Yes and no. He believed in team play, discipline, and defense, but he DID NOT believe that he knew everything. He was open minded and was always seeking new information. In that regards, Coach Wooden WAS NOT old school.


When you consider yourself old school, think about what you mean by that remark. The game is always changing and will keep changing once we are long gone.  It’s fine to believe defense and team work is old school. Make sure though you don’t say you’re “old school” because you don’t want to learn or are too lazy to learn. Players deserve better than that.