Coach Rob offers some perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of various basketball environments, including Clubs and Feeder Teams, and recommends an effective way to create the perfect development plan for your player.
I get a lot of questions from people asking what Shine is all about. I understand why they are asking – it’s because we are very different. Our concept is unique and, while it’s highly effective, it’s a different approach than what is out there. To help, let me take a second and draw a comparison between Shine and two other more familiar types of programs – “Club Teams” and “Feeder Programs”.
Before I start, let me share with you that I have been a Director for a typical Club Program, a four-year Colorado High School Coach, as well as a Head Coach for a Colorado High School Feeder program so these observations come from personal and direct experience. And, while what I am going to describe is relevant for the majority of programs out there, I am not saying that everyone is created equal. There are some strong programs here in Colorado that place player development on a personal and athletic basis as a core priority and walk it out every day in their interaction with their players and families. There are many others nationally that do the same. This article will illustrate some differences in the emphasis on training and development of your player from each of these programs, and to help educate you to the choices you have as an athlete and parent of an athlete. I think you will come to realize that the answer is not an either-or choice, but a proper combination of all of these options, at the proper time, to accomplish your goals! See you on the court!
Shine Basketball Academy
The Shine Academy is a true player development process for athletes that want to build real basketball skill and IQ and who are willing to work with discipline and consistency. We are also a great fit for parents who value a high-character environment that demands excellence in attitude and effort and that partners with them to instill life skills and values for success on and off the court. We build well-rounded, capable basketball contributors that can have success on any team at any level. We DO hold tryouts and evaluate players for Shine teams that play in various environments year-round. The games, however, are an extension of our training plan for each player – a chance for us to measure the player’s progress as an individual contributor, and to assess less tangible elements like confidence, courage, and game IQ. Feedback from each game is collected and integrated into the specific development plan for each athlete which is executed in subsequent workouts and training.
Characteristics of the Shine Academy:
Benefits of the Shine Basketball Academy:
Some other programs are threatened by us for fear of “losing” a player to Shine. Fact is, players and families are getting smarter about where to invest their time and are making more educated decisions about the best path for their player. We don’t talk anyone out of participating with a club or feeder team. We center our focus around a wholistic development plan for each player, and we educate families on the options available to them based on their goals. Decisions about where to invest their time and money are made by the families.
Realities of training with Shine:
Because everything they do is built around their brand and reputation, the success of CLUB TEAMS becomes critical to remaining a “best” program in the public’s estimation and to future prospective players. The measurement of their quality as a program is based primarily on the resume of wins and championships they accumulate, along with the lists of players they publish whom have worn their jerseys and whom have gone on to play after graduation from high school. Joining a “club team” brings with it a sense of loyalty and unity (a great thing) but also by the nature of the environment creates an “us against them”, status-based culture whereby each club competes with others in the market for notoriety as the area’s/region’s/nation’s “top ranked” program.
Recruitment, not player development, is the name of the game for most of these programs. Not necessarily because these programs don’t care about developing players – ask any of the program Directors about their Mission or visit their website and you will hear about how player development, character, and life success principles are part of the program’s core values. But watch a typical practice or ask a parent of a “club” player how satisfied they are with the development of their son/daughter as a contributing teammate and you will find that unless players arrived with pre-taught skills and capabilities, the club experience typically does not provide adequate attention and direction for individual players seeking to improve.
Many players seek acceptance to these programs because they, like most of us, want to be a part of a winning experience. Often times, however, these programs either don’t have the time or the patience to engage each player and address their individual development needs. What the player brings to the tryouts is the basis for the level of team they are selected for, if they are selected at all. The “best” (most athletic, biggest, strongest) players are selected first and to the top teams. The question is: what happens to the majority of other players who are investing the same time, money, and attention to the club environment? In many cases, these players hang on to their status as a part of a winning program, but soon realize (often in hindsight when it’s too late) that they did not become the player they could have been because there was not enough focus on their own personal development.
Characteristics of Club Teams:
Benefits of Club Teams:
Realities of Club Teams:
Feeder teams are designed to provide a consistent, reliable source of incoming players for a particular high school. Like Club programs, they hold tryouts to select players for their teams and seek to field as many teams, at as many levels as possible. Players selected are typically grouped by current grade so as to establish “classes” of teams that can play and grow familiar with each other over time, thereby ensuring that the high school program will have a good selection of players from which to choose come tryouts in November. While there are a few well-developed feeder programs in the area that are tightly integrated into the high schools, many of these programs are led and organized by parents of players, sometimes on a volunteer basis. The quality of coaching varies greatly within most of these programs, with game emphasis often being reduced to pursuing wins. Feeder teams compete in the same leagues as the club programs do, and like the club environment, there exists a competitive “jockeying” for rankings and best win/loss records. For the feeders, this translates into a more positive public impression of the quality of the basketball program at the respective school, and hopefully translates into a stronger desire for players to attend and play at that institution.
Characteristics of Feeder Teams:
Benefits of Feeder Teams:
Realities of Feeder Teams:
FACT: A student cannot be required to practice or compete outside of the season as a condition of making the team. – CHSAA Bylaws (click to see full article)
What’s the best option?
As I said at the start, now that you have a better understanding of the differences, advantages, and realities of each type of program, hopefully you see that as a serious player – or parent of a serious player – the decision is not which one to choose, but rather, how to integrate each of the available options to support your player’s long-term goals and ambitions related to basketball.
Developing a player’s basketball skill and IQ, or ANY skill and IQ, is a process of making daily decisions about where to invest your time for the greatest return. This is an individual decision that is unique for each player and cannot be made as a consensus or with a desire to “follow the crowd”.
The Shine Basketball Academy is the thread that connects a player’s experience in club ball and feeder teams throughout their basketball career. We do what the other programs don’t have the time or experience to do – focus on your player’s individual development needs, tell them the truth, and provide the tools and environment for them to grow and become a true contributor for whatever team they play – inside or outside of Shine, in middle school, high school, junior college, college, or beyond.
Contact us today to get more information or to request access to our training environment or teams. We will help you identify where you are today, and support you on your journey to where you want to go! If you have questions, contact me directly for a personal consultation about your options. I’m at 303-591-4022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you on the court!
Coach Rob Pierson is the Director and Lead Trainer for the Shine Basketball Academy in Broomfield, CO.