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Watching March Madness

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Basketball Skills Noted While Watching March Madness Plus A Few Other Comments
By Sidney Goldstein 3/28/06

Many consider the Men/Women NCAA basketball championships the best basketball of the year. I agree. As I watch the games, often routing for hometown teams or underdogs, I like to put my basketball thinking cap aside and grab a beer.
The most enjoyable part of the games involve the players. Watching good attitudes; being amazed at the incredible talent on the floor at any time; wishing I had an opportunity to work with this talent. The least enjoyable part of watching is noticing coaching shortcomings which are numerous. Here is a list of some positive and negative things that I notice:

1. In tight situations I rarely see offensive team play. I'm not just talking about the last play of the game, I'm talking about the last 10 minutes of the half or before. The ball usually goes to the hands of the star player; that's it. This is disappointing because the purpose of teaching offense all year is for these tight situations!! Team play makes scoring easier.

2. Defenses not boxing out. Teams being battered under the boards because they are not boxing out. Often the coach calls a time out to implore players to do so. However, trained drilled players box out in games, just like they box out in practice.

3. One thing I'm often happy to see is good team defense. Each player must watch his/her coverage as well as the ball. If the ball gets by the defense, then other defenders must help out; move towards and cover the ball.

4. Big men that can dribble is always an amazing sight. Noticing any player that can dribble without palming would be amazing as well. However, most big time coaches' as well as others consider dribbling a genetic skill like height. You either have it or not. Of course, you can easily teach any player to be a skilled dribbler.

5. Billy Packer, the announcer. He's saying exactly what I'm thinking. He does a great job. Keep Bill Walton in the stands.

6. I don't like teams that substitute the 3 point shot in place of team offense. These teams rarely win. Amongst big time teams, Duke regularly uses this stratagem.

Your comments are welcome.
Sidney Goldstein, author of The Basketball Coach's Bible and The Basketball Player's Bible, has successfully coached both men's and women's teams over a period of 15 years.

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