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Two Extremes - It's time to take a step back

If you follow any level of social media as a player/parent, media member, coach or fan you will quickly be exposed to the seemingly only two extremes to describe this generation of athlete.

Extreme 1: Player X is a 5-Star, can't miss D1 prospect that every college coach in the USA has offered, will offer or needs to offer a scholarship to if they have any sense. Player X has several highlight videos of explosive dunks, muscle flexes and pointing to the cameras.

Extreme 2: The generalization that the current crop of players are lazy and don't work hard like "we did back in the day". If they are not laser focused on hoops 24 hours a day, 7 days a week they are cheating the grind and should be ridiculed publicly because they don't care enough.

Obviously both of these extremes are exaggerated but you get the point. An entire book can be written on "Extreme 1", instead today we will focus on "Extreme 2" and how the majority of this chatter is done by adults whose playing days are behind them or in some cases never had a day. The problem in my opinion is the lack of perspective shown by adults. Very few can relate to the environment these young people are growing up in at moment. Information is consumed and processed so fast that many youngsters may not grasp or fully understand the current opportunities placed in front of them. As adults we have become a group that "tells' but doesn't teach or assist. We assume youngster should have skills, work ethic, desire, discipline, passion and when they don't the critic is out to say how they don't appreciate opportunity or care enough. When in fact at times it's the adults who have not gone the extra mile to teach and/or guide these kids on how to develop these attributes.

A few months ago we published a contributed blog post Why are there so many basketball “coaches” and not enough “difference makers” in our sport?, in it the author talked about the lack of true transformational leaders at the coaching position and the responsibilities he believes each coach owes to his/her players. Along these same lines I believe anyone who has the opportunity to contribute to a young person has a responsibility to not only hold the child accountable but also teach, provide insight and be a difference maker, as opposed to their next critic.

I'm sure there are some who will say that these are just excuses and we are failing to hold youth responsible. To that I will say there is definitely a personal responsibility component each youth athlete must accept. However, adults cannot neglect their role as teachers and provide the necessary support to allow these kids to be successful and positive contributors to our society as a whole. While today's youth is often accused of having short attention spans and being in the need of instant gratification, we adults cannot fall into the same category. Adults have the benefit perspective and experience, when delivered properly can have a significant impact on our youth as they mature. Let's take a step back from extreme takes and look for a more positive approach.


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