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The Problem with Highlight Plays - Issue #34

SAVI Performance
Here’s the problem…
Highlights of big dunks or defenders falling down tend to go viral and everyone talks about it, but it’s hurting our game and teaching the wrong lessons.
Giving attention to videos showing people falling down, getting dunked on or otherwise getting embarrassed is causing young players to shy away from competition.
When a young athlete:
  • wakes up to Instagram
  • eats alongside TikTok
  • falls asleep with to YouTube
…their whole paradigm of what a basketball player is becomes what is captured in a loop of video. The hero is someone who can make others fall, and the loser…well, no one wants be the loser who is made “fail-famous” in a video.

I saw this problem first hand as I was playing in a pick up game last week.
When I got to the gym, I didn’t know anybody. When I got picked up, it was by the loudest, most intense trash talker in the gym. He looked at me and said, “You look like a shooter, you’re on my team.”
Half way through the game my defender double-teamed my trash-talking teammate on the wing, leaving me wide open in the corner. He looked right at me and continued to dribble trying to beat two defenders. He must have meant that I looked like I could shoot, but not catch.
After 18 dribbles, head fakes, and gratuitous gyrations, he managed to get around the defenders and into the paint. Then, as he was falling out of bounds behind the backboard, he flung me the ball. Turns out not only could I catch, but I could shoot too.
As I ran back, I attempted to thank him for the pass. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get him to give me the time of day, let alone a high five. My teammate was too busy jumping up and down in the face of his defender, “YOU GOT CROSSED! All you *#$^@’s got crossed!”
He was more excited about “crossing” someone than the bucket.
I was incredulous.
To make things worse, the defenders didn’t even try to play offense…they bought into the debate. Play stopped so they could argue, but it wasn’t not about the score, a call, or whose ball it was.
“You didn’t cross me,” one claimed. “No one got crossed here. You’re crazy.” They continued to argue for five minutes on whether or not someone “got crossed.”
They cared more about the “embarrassment” of getting crossed than winning the game.
First I got angry, then I got sad, and eventually I left.
I’m guessing this behavior bothers you. I’m guessing you have seen this toxic, selfish trend as well. I’m guessing it pisses you off.
Here’s a hard word:
If something bothers you about your team, your culture or your players - it is 100% on you to change it.
If it upsets me when players are not locked in when I am teaching and it happens in the middle of a practice, I didn’t teach it well enough. Or maybe I didn’t hold the standard with vigilance. Or maybe I wasn’t clear in my communication.
Any sort of change in those you lead begins with you. Any frustration or anger towards a behavior, should be directed right back at yourself.
When you take RADICAL OWNERSHIP, you will adopt a different lens. A lens pointed inward instead of outward. When you flip your focus, you have a chance to do something special.
But, it starts with you!
You can only change your behavior. When we are frustrated with the next generation, remember, we are the ones who taught them everything they know. When they are chasing likes and status, and shying away from embarrassment and hard things - it’s time we look in the mirror instead of yelling at clouds.
Here are 3 lessons YOU CAN OWN…
1. Don't Compare, Compete
When young players care about not being embarrassed, it does one thing more than anything else — it slows them down. They don’t do things like immediately diving on a ball, contesting a shot, battling defensively, trying to take a charge, or sprinting back to take away a breakaway. THEY DON’T COMPETE! I want players that will slip and fall, get dunked on, and are willing to get knocked over. Those players are competing with all their might. Only if you throw yourself completely into the game, and are willing to be foolish with your activity and effort, will you play the right way. Only if you fail to compete will you be made to look foolish. The fear of failure and being made to look foolish is paralyzing many young players.
2. Highlight Plays Lose Games
The most important things that players do on the court are not done with the ball. These essentials do not make highlight reels:
  • Moving quickly to the right spot
  • Executing an offensive scheme
  • Helping on defense
  • Boxing out
  • Running a lane
  • Moving the ball quickly
  • Making the right decisions
  • Talking on offense and defense
These things are undervalued and not celebrated enough. They are the essence of the game and what I love to teach SAVI players and coaches.
3. It's Not About You
While most players are zoomed in while they play, they would be best served if they were to ZOOM OUT. Instead of thinking:
  • What am I doing?
  • How am I feeling?
  • How can I get my shot?
The real impact players are zoomed out and focused on thoughts like:
  • What does my team need?
  • How can WE get the best shot?
  • Who needs energy?
The best coaches are also the ones who get over themselves. Why demand a change in everyone around you when a small change in yourself can make all the difference?
When you’re done growing you’re done.

Willingness to be humbled and implement feedback is strength.

Adversity Strengthens.
I’m Tyler and I’m here to help. Hopefully we can each fight the trend of selfishness, attention seeking and build athletes into strong, competitive, selfless leaders.
The world needs more people like that.
SAVI Cohort Training 
I’m Tyler and I’m here to help
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Tyler Coston
Tyler Coston @tylercoston

I coach coaches.

Christ Follower. Keynote Speaker. Program Clinician. Creator of the LockLeft Defense, Race&Space Offense & SAVI Shooting System.

Email me at for booking.

I'm Tyler and I'm here to help.

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