Dear Players and Parents,
Many of Breakers players will soon be looking to take the next step to play Representative basketball, or are already involved, and there are certain things I can advise you on with this very important decision.
1) Make sure there is a heavy emphasis on basic fundamentals at the under 12/14 level. Are the coaches competent enough to teach this or are they concerned with winning games only. If the coaches just run drills without heavy points of emphasis, then they really can’t coach at the true Rep level, and will not benefit the players in performing at higher levels. These coaches also tend to generalize and give very little individual feedback.
2) If they play zone defense in any form at U/12 and 14’s, don’t sign up under any circumstances. Does the coach develop teams or just worry about looking after a few of the most talented players in the group?
3) Will the teams have the right balance of players? Unbalanced teams that have far too many small players will not get too far at this level of basketball.
4) What does the coaching structure offer as the player matures and moves up in each age group. There is no point joining a club that only satisfies a player’s development in one or two particular age groups. I would take a serious look at what goes on at each level of any club and is there a senior program that encourages junior players to step in to true elite basketball, or offers links to college programs in the USA.
5) What does the club want to achieve with their program. Past history will help identify several characteristics on what was achieved, and are there clearly defined goals and a path that players can follow to possible State Team, AIS and senior basketball. If the club does not support a link between juniors and seniors I would steer clear as they will never act in the best interest of the player.
6) Is the clubs committee, loaded with self interest promoting parents, or are there independent people who will make pure elite basketball decisions. Never underestimate these people they will make decisions that directly affect young players and coaches (not always positive).
7) Any elite program must cut players that are not up to the standard and rigors of the competition. If the club is a sport for all club this will not develop great basketball players or teams.
In conclusion go to several try outs (all clubs offer these to potential players), talk directly to coaches, other parents and club officials. Watch these coaches in action concentrating on all the points I have made. I am always available to discuss your needs and what it will take to succeed at this level. Representative basketball is a huge commitment, in both time and travel. There are several elite programs a short drive from the local area and so with that comes a good choice of clubs you can get involved in.
I am a firm believer in kids trying several sports before making the decision to specialize. I will contact several clubs on behalf of Breakers and all our players will be welcome at their respective tryouts. I will give an honest and independent assessment of clubs you are interested in and whether the athlete is ready for that next step. If you have any concerns about any program please don’t hesitate to talk to me about it. All players, not just at the Breakers Club have my utmost respect and I will help them in any way I can to achieve their dreams.
MARK WALKER 2014