What High School Basketball Needs Most

By January 27, 2017 No Comments
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What would have the most impact on high school basketball? What would most coaches like to see put in place?

-More contact days?

-More games allowed?

-Better equipment?

-More shooting machines?

-A longer season?

-Separate divisions for public & private schools?

Those are all great ideas, but the one thing that should be universally mandated is a shot clock. You’re lucky if you coach in a state that has the shot clock. In Missouri, we don’t. Only eight states have a universal shot clock.

The use of a universal shot clock has been a topic of conversation for decades in the basketball world. People against it’s use cite the lack of a national rule. They argue without a national rule it’s too difficult for states to adopt shot-clock rule and implement it. Advocates against the shot-clock also argue the high school game is fine the way it is. Why change it if there’s no strong national outcry for it’s use?

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Other arguments against its use include:

-Elimination of team play

-Takes away strategy to slow game down

-Administrative costs

Although I can see where these arguments come from, they don’t carry much weight with me.

The only argument against it that really has merit is the cost factor. It will cost more money to install shot clocks and pay for someone to administer it during a game. The initial cost of installation can easily be offset through fundraising. The average team has 12-13 home games a season. Schools already pay for two-three score book officials and could easily pay for a shot-clock administrator. There doesn’t seem to be a problem with football teams having and using a play-clock, so there’s no reason why costs should prevent basketball from having shot-clocks.

The shot clock will improve the level of individual skill and quality of team play. The game has changed. It’s the same as it was in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Europe has changed the way the develop players and it’s time we do too.

By implementing the shot clock, coaches will be forced (and this is a good thing) to improve the strategies and philosophy. Teams will become more skilled and capable of running advanced concepts. Individuals will become better ball handlers and shooters.

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The implementation of a shot clock would dramatically increase the fundamental skill level for high school basketball.

The worst argument I hear against it is that it would not allow a lesser skilled team to slow the game down; therefore it wouldn’t allow them to a chance to be competitive. I couldn’t disagree with this more. Sure, you may keep it close for a few minutes, but the better team will still win big. And nobody wants to watch that boring brand of basketball.

When you stall it’s an admission of defeat. You’re telling your team, your opponent, and everyone in attendance you don’t think you can win. It’s a loser’s mentality. Even if I know the other team is far superior to ours, we’re still going to go out and give it our best. Our message is not to play to the scoreboard, but to play to a standard. Be the best team you can team, regardless of the opponent’s size or skill.

The true measure of success is becoming and doing the best which you’re capable of.

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Who wants to go watch a game of catch? Not me.

Upsets happen more at the collegiate and professional levels because teams are forced to execute. They can’t just hold the ball with a lead. They must finish the game.

I actually think the shot clock would help the lesser skilled team. The coach could devise a great defensive game plan and force the other team into bad shots. The shot clock always gives you a chance because it forces the offensive team to execute. It reinforces to your team that defense matters. A great defensive effort will make up for a poor shooting night.

Some may argue that :35 is too short for high school. I looked at our team’s possessions from a recent game and the longest one was :24 seconds. There’s not many possessions that last longer than :35 in high school.

So, why is there a need for a shot-clock if most possessions don’t make it to :30 seconds? It’s simple. It will improve the skill level throughout the game. Modern concepts and terminology will be more prevalent across our country, not just in pockets, as it is now. Teams will be forced to execute; not stall and play a boring game of catch.

Do you agree? Is the shot-clock needed for high school hopes? What other rule changes would you like to see? I would love to see two 18-minute halves as opposed to four 8-minute quarters.

As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!


Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.