Has Teaching Critical Thinking Actually Worked?

 

Throughout the day my husband and I listen to sports radio (ESPN out of St. Louis) for news of the St. Louis Cardinals. Since St. Louis doesn’t have a major league football or basketball team, and their soccer team is just in its second year, a lot of the reporting is Cardinals and Blues (hockey). They do some national stuff, but most of it is pretty local.

It is way more amusing than political talk radio. And I have learned a lot about a lot of things. Like hockey players have the best names in sport. And they are rarely spoken of by their last names (Pavel Buchnevich, Jordan Kyrou, and Colton Parayko come to mind). Full names only. And that EB Granite is Bernie Federko’s choice for kitchen cabinets. (Whoever on God’s green earth Bernie Federko happens to be.) And some of the broadcasters have incredible memories for sports personages and statistics. Holy Moly! Carey Davis (former football player and high school coach) is my favorite of the broadcasters, because he is genuinely outraged when athletes don’t give effort in their play. It is truly a fun time, even if you don’t really care about the teams.

At any rate, let’s come in from left field and get to the point.

The other day a discussion ensued over the fact that eight NHL coaches had lost their jobs in the last couple of months. Eight.  Jamie Rivers (former hockey player and broadcaster) posed the question of this being a generational issue. Jamie noted that when he played hockey, if a coach said, go do this, you just went and did it. No questions asked. Now, apparently, the athletes want to know why they need to do this. There appears to be a clash of coach/athlete style that is starting to result in some unemployed coaches. Carey Davis stated that when he was coaching high school football he had a mom come up to him to ask why her son, ‘who knows football’ was sitting on the bench. (Seriously, moms of high school football players complain to the coach? The horrors for her son!) Davis explained that her son may ‘know football’ but since he was unwilling to learn our playbook, he was going to sit on the bench.

I really started thinking about this issue. There could be a whole constellation of reasons that athletes are questioning their coaches. I wonder how playing video football (or any other video sport) changes the perspective of an actual athlete. Do they get the impression they ‘know the game’ even though they have little actual experience? How does the name, image, likeness money train and transfer portal in college sports change the way the athlete relates to his coaches? (See, I told you I learn a lot of things.) Does the ability to make money in college, and transfer when things are not to your liking, provide more of an impetus for the athlete to forge his own path regardless of what he may need to learn to actually be a great player? If a coach demands hard work and effort and you are not in the mood do you just pick up your ball and head to the portal? What about those sideline moms (and dads)? Are the coaches allowed to have the integrity to tell parents that if their son or daughter is not going to work at their craft, they will be sitting on the bench? What if this is college, and the parent is a big alumni or donor? Or is the questioning a part of normal adolescent contrariness when faced with authority? Or has the push for teaching critical thinking actually paid off? Are these athletes asking why because they want to understand the complexity of directing a team effort and how they fit in? I would hope that at the major league level, the questions of why would be the latter. That they continue to explore their sport and how to make themselves and their team better. But it’s really hard to say.

Any thoughts?

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  1. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Not to be flip -but I think the emphasis has been on the criticism part of the activity, with little emphasis on the thinking. Kids are called learners, not students and people in schools don’t think they have a responsibility to teach and transfer knowledge. There seems to be a whole lot of opinion-ing going on, without the accompanying knowledge and work to experience. You don’t get to an NHL team without skill and a lot of hard work for years. They are very young when they get into the juniors, but they’ve already learned that  having strongly held opinions often works. 
    And then there’s the money the owners pay these incredible athletes, hoping for some of the magic dust that makes a team a winning money making team. 

    • #1
  2. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Coach Sabin didn’t like his players’ reaction to losing:

    The game turned out to be the final one of Saban’s career as he shocked the college football world by announcing his retirement less than two weeks later. In a story recounting his decision-making process to retire and Alabama’s ensuing coaching search, Saban told ESPN the way some players on his team acted immediately after the loss and in the ensuing days “contributed” to his decision to hang it up after the 2023 season.

    From ESPN:

    “I want to be clear that wasn’t the reason, but some of those events certainly contributed,” Saban said of his decision to retire. “I was really disappointed in the way that the players acted after the game. You gotta win with class. You gotta lose with class. We had our opportunities to win the game and we didn’t do it, and then showing your ass and being frustrated and throwing helmets and doing that stuff … that’s not who we are and what we’ve promoted in our program.”

    Saban also talked about how the way the college football landscape is changing influenced his decision. He estimated that “maybe 70 or 80% of the players you talk to” wanted to know about their playing time for the upcoming season and how much they would be making in NIL money. 

    • #2
  3. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    NHL coaching jobs seem to turn over faster than any other pro sport. It’s rare for coach to last more than 5 years or so.

    27 of the 32 current coaches have been in their positions fewer than 4 years. The longest-serving is Jon Cooper of Tampa Bay, who’s been there since 2013. Of course he’s won two Stanley Cups. Mike Sullivan has been Pittsburgh’s since 2015, but he’s also won the Cup twice.

    Right now, 4 teams have interim coaches because their head coach was fired during this season.

    It may be that most NHL owners are impatient and don’t wait more than a few seasons to move on from one guy and try someone else. I’ve been following hockey for 40+ years, and it seems rare for NHL players to openly cause coaches to be fired, other than by their poor play. 

    The team I follow, the Washington Capitals, has a rookie coach who the youngest in the league at 41. After winning the Cup in 2018, the team is on its 3rd coach. Barry Trotz coached them to the Cup that year but left in a contract dispute after being there 4 years. His successor, Todd Reirden, was “coach-in-waiting” and had been pursued by other teams but didn’t do much in 2 seasons and was fired. Peter Laviolette was a veteran coach who lasted 3 years after losing early in two playoff seasons and then missing them in the 3rd year.

    • #3
  4. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    EODmom (View Comment):
    Not to be flip -but I think the emphasis has been on the criticism part of the activity, with little emphasis on the thinking. Kids are called learners, not students and people in schools don’t think they have a responsibility to teach and transfer knowledge. There seems to be a whole lot of opinion-ing going on, without the accompanying knowledge and work to experience.

    Thank you, EODmom. Well said! 

    • #4
  5. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    I don’t think athletes going into major college sports are as raw as they once were. Generally kids now participate in their sport year round and often receive specialized training and often compete nationally. Since kids are more polished products they don’t have to teach the fundamentals like they used to. I think when kids reach a certain level they think they should be a bigger part of the team. They were always one of the best if not the best athlete in their field. It’s always hard for a that kid to accurately assess their own ability. Heck, I was a crappy athlete who played team sports and I was always mad at the kid getting more playing time than me. I was probably delusional. The worst insult I ever got was when a coach pulled me from a basketball game for missing an 18 foot shot. This was before the 3 point shot. I’m that freaking old. I told him I was wide open and had to take the shot. He told me “You were wide open for a reason.” Ouch… I probably didn’t help my cause with my statuesque defense either.

    • #5
  6. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    thelonious (View Comment):

    I don’t think athletes going into major college sports are as raw as they once were. Generally kids now participate in their sport year round and often receive specialized training and often compete nationally. Since kids are more polished products they don’t have to teach the fundamentals like they used to. I think when kids reach a certain level they think they should be a bigger part of the team. They were always one of the best if not the best athlete in their field. It’s always hard for a that kid to accurately assess their own ability. Heck, I was a crappy athlete who played team sports and I was always mad at the kid getting more playing time than me. I was probably delusional. The worst insult I ever got was when a coach pulled me from a basketball game for missing an 18 foot shot. This was before the 3 point shot. I’m that freaking old. I told him I was wide open and had to take the shot. He told me “You were wide open for a reason.” Ouch… I probably didn’t help my cause with my statuesque defense either.

    I expect the NIL era to further distort athletics, away from the sports to their detriment, at least for awhile. It contributes to making the athlete a commodity rather than an exceptional athlete who plays at an exceptional level. It further contributes to erosion of any remaining scholarship connected to the student athlete. How can a 19 year old kid attend to college work and training while maintaining his NIL brand? (It seems everyone has a brand.) 

    • #6
  7. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    NHL coaching jobs seem to turn over faster than any other pro sport. It’s rare for coach to last more than 5 years or so.

    27 of the 32 current coaches have been in their positions fewer than 4 years. The longest-serving is Jon Cooper of Tampa Bay, who’s been there since 2013. Of course he’s won two Stanley Cups. Mike Sullivan has been Pittsburgh’s since 2015, but he’s also won the Cup twice.

    Right now, 4 teams have interim coaches because their head coach was fired during this season.

    It may be that most NHL owners are impatient and don’t wait more than a few seasons to move on from one guy and try someone else. I’ve been following hockey for 40+ years, and it seems rare for NHL players to openly cause coaches to be fired, other than by their poor play.

    The team I follow, the Washington Capitals, has a rookie coach who the youngest in the league at 41. After winning the Cup in 2018, the team is on its 3rd coach. Barry Trotz coached them to the Cup that year but left in a contract dispute after being there 4 years. His successor, Todd Reirden, was “coach-in-waiting” and had been pursued by other teams but didn’t do much in 2 seasons and was fired. Peter Laviolette was a veteran coach who lasted 3 years after losing early in two playoff seasons and then missing them in the 3rd year.

    You may know: my memory is that the NHL drafting protocol has a big impact as well. Does the winner of the Stanley Cup lose some post position in the next draft? 

    • #7
  8. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    EODmom (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    NHL coaching jobs seem to turn over faster than any other pro sport. It’s rare for coach to last more than 5 years or so.

    27 of the 32 current coaches have been in their positions fewer than 4 years. The longest-serving is Jon Cooper of Tampa Bay, who’s been there since 2013. Of course he’s won two Stanley Cups. Mike Sullivan has been Pittsburgh’s since 2015, but he’s also won the Cup twice.

    Right now, 4 teams have interim coaches because their head coach was fired during this season.

    It may be that most NHL owners are impatient and don’t wait more than a few seasons to move on from one guy and try someone else. I’ve been following hockey for 40+ years, and it seems rare for NHL players to openly cause coaches to be fired, other than by their poor play.

    The team I follow, the Washington Capitals, has a rookie coach who the youngest in the league at 41. After winning the Cup in 2018, the team is on its 3rd coach. Barry Trotz coached them to the Cup that year but left in a contract dispute after being there 4 years. His successor, Todd Reirden, was “coach-in-waiting” and had been pursued by other teams but didn’t do much in 2 seasons and was fired. Peter Laviolette was a veteran coach who lasted 3 years after losing early in two playoff seasons and then missing them in the 3rd year.

    You may know: my memory is that the NHL drafting protocol has a big impact as well. Does the winner of the Stanley Cup lose some post position in the next draft?

    It’s like every other pro sport where the worst teams get the highest draft picks.

    • #8
  9. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I pay zero attention to sports. What you describe in student and early professional athletes sounds a lot like the experiences I read from businesses about their youngest employees. Attitudes that I characterize as: entitled, think they should be running the show, think they know more than those with more experience, don’t want to work harder than they choose, more concerned about their own status than about the team (or the employer or other organization).

    [I get mild perverse amusement listening to my 42 year old son-in-law complain about the work ethics of the rotating cast of “lazy, disconnected” 24 year old graduate students and “post-docs” (just completed Ph.D.s he supervises.]

    So maybe it’s generational. It will be interesting to see if it’s a transitory or a persistent characteristic. 

    Since I don’t pay attention to sports, I can’t evaluate whether the young athletes are engaging in true critical thinking. But outside of sports I see little to no evidence of real critical thinking going on among the young. 

    • #9
  10. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Jeff Jackson the head coach for the Notre Dame hockey team has held the position for 18 years and 9 months. The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team coach, Kevin Corrigan, has held that position for 36 years.

    Coaching longevity in an athletic program provides some stability for a student athlete to navigate both academic and athletic commitments. It doesn’t necessarily produce national championships, but it does help an athlete earn a degree. Whether it is football or any other sport there comes a time when an athlete retires due to injury or age.

    Our grandson plays for a soccer club that coaches’ players that range in age from 6 year-olds to high school and college age players. I don’t ask him if his team won or lost, nor do I ask him if he scored a goal. My wife and I have been to some of his games and after a game we just ask him if he had some fun playing.

    • #10
  11. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    It is just possible, I suppose, to teach ‘thinking’ of the critical, lateral, or outside-the-box varieties. 

    It seems it is much easier and more rewarding to teach partisanship, sloganeering, and resentment. 

    Educators need to understand that their customers are always right. 

    • #11
  12. jmelvin Member
    jmelvin
    @jmelvin

    Regarding the coach whose mother asked why her son was riding the bench, had I been in the coach’s place I may have been inclined to say “Your son is riding the bench because I didn’t cut him from this team, but gave him an opportunity to learn our playbook instead of someone else.  He hasn’t and thus he rides the bench until he does or I find someone who will.”

    • #12
  13. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    jmelvin (View Comment):

    Regarding the coach whose mother asked why her son was riding the bench, had I been in the coach’s place I may have been inclined to say “Your son is riding the bench because I didn’t cut him from this team, but gave him an opportunity to learn our playbook instead of someone else. He hasn’t and thus he rides the bench until he does or I find someone who will.”

    Our son played high school and club hockey for years, and contributed to every team he was on. In his senior year his school got to the state championship game, and the opponent was a strong team that had won several championships. The coach decided he’d have to ride his best players and pretty much played two lines most of the game. Our son and a couple others never left the bench, the goalie stood on his head, and they won 2-1. He didn’t say a word about not playing, got to carry the trophy and smiled as broadly as the rest of them in the team pictures.

    • #13
  14. Juliana Member
    Juliana
    @Juliana

    thelonious (View Comment):

    I don’t think athletes going into major college sports are as raw as they once were. Generally kids now participate in their sport year round and often receive specialized training and often compete nationally. Since kids are more polished products they don’t have to teach the fundamentals like they used to. I think when kids reach a certain level they think they should be a bigger part of the team. They were always one of the best if not the best athlete in their field. It’s always hard for a that kid to accurately assess their own ability. Heck, I was a crappy athlete who played team sports and I was always mad at the kid getting more playing time than me. I was probably delusional. The worst insult I ever got was when a coach pulled me from a basketball game for missing an 18 foot shot. This was before the 3 point shot. I’m that freaking old. I told him I was wide open and had to take the shot. He told me “You were wide open for a reason.” Ouch… I probably didn’t help my cause with my statuesque defense either.

    This is one aspect I had not considered. Youth sports is big business and in some areas the competition is fierce. My grandsons play baseball. You start with tee ball and community ball, but once they hit 5th grade it was more structured (and expensive),  and they had to tryout for a local club. This meant more practices and travelling games and tournaments every weekend throughout the summer.  By the time they got closer to high school there was fall ball and individual training at a high cost. If you didn’t do the expensive extras it was unlikely you would make the high school team. Neither will ever be a great player, so to me the cost is really high not only monetarily but in time and how it disrupts family. However, I could see how a big fish in a little pond could overestimate his own abilities. 

    • #14
  15. Juliana Member
    Juliana
    @Juliana

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    jmelvin (View Comment):

    Regarding the coach whose mother asked why her son was riding the bench, had I been in the coach’s place I may have been inclined to say “Your son is riding the bench because I didn’t cut him from this team, but gave him an opportunity to learn our playbook instead of someone else. He hasn’t and thus he rides the bench until he does or I find someone who will.”

    Our son played high school and club hockey for years, and contributed to every team he was on. In his senior year his school got to the state championship game, and the opponent was a strong team that had won several championships. The coach decided he’d have to ride his best players and pretty much played two lines most of the game. Our son and a couple others never left the bench, the goalie stood on his head, and they won 2-1. He didn’t say a word about not playing, got to carry the trophy and smiled as broadly as the rest of them in the team pictures.

    That was one of my grandsons as well. The coach made it clear to him that he was on the team because of his work ethic and positive attitude. So he was the bullpen catcher. Still got a state championship ring. He is now a bullpen catcher for his college team at Omaha. Although you know deep inside he would like to actually get into a game, he recognizes his limitations and cheerfully is a part of something he loves to do.

    • #15
  16. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Juliana (View Comment):
    Although you know deep inside he would like to actually get into a game,

    Jeez, even if he is a weak player, how much trouble would it be for the coach to put him in in the first inning?

    • #16
  17. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    Juliana: Or is the questioning a part of normal adolescent contrariness when faced with authority?

    @juliana , there is a ton in your post for an ex-coach to ramble on.

    Players have always questioned coaches. The difference is they used to try and execute the coach’s vision, regardless of reservations. Caveat: there are a lot of bad youth/high school coaches. Most of them are bad, meaning they don’t know what they’re doing in one of these areas: managing a game, managing practices, or managing the players. They may know a sport, yet have no idea how to teach it. They may not know how to manage a roster, or how to set up a practice to achieve specific goals.

    Two things bad coaches do is indulge interfering parents and cater to players perceived as stars. This has an effect on athletics as a whole because the bad coaches outnumber good ones.

    I coached girls and boys at the high school level. For the boys, my vision for the team had to compete with theirs. For example, I had a “star” who wanted the team built around him. I don’t do that, but the coach I replaced did. We never had that problem with the girls because they wanted the same thing we did: build a serious (but fun), winning program.

    Juliana: Or has the push for teaching critical thinking actually paid off? Are these athletes asking why because they want to understand the complexity of directing a team effort and how they fit in?

    Yeah, that can be part of it. For example, one of the sports I coached was lacrosse, and almost all of my players had more experience with it than I did. They had more information to evaluate my performance.

    Most players look for a reason to buy in. You have to provide it, but at the level where parents are most involved, many coaches don’t know it. For the lacrosse girls, I did my homework and recognized patterns and similarities with other sports, then applied them to develop practices and a system of play. The players did not expect it, they asked me to coach, but figured they’d be advising me. They did, it was a fun collaboration, and we won a lot of games.

    There are successful programs that tolerate very little of that sort of thing. It’s the coach’s way or the highway. A confident coach doesn’t need the threat. 

    Juliana: Does the ability to make money in college, and transfer when things are not to your liking, provide more of an impetus for the athlete to forge his own path regardless of what he may need to learn to actually be a great player?

    It’s mostly about playing time, presumably so they’ll be drafted into the pros. Some transfers are about playing for better programs. In basketball, college is no longer about development. Yes, there are programs that can develop you, but the best players just slip through as required on their way to the NBA. Basketball is a completely different game with a different skillset compared to 15 years ago or more. There are very few basketball players among the elite. Most of them are strong athletes who play basketball, their basketball skills would lead to nothing but turnovers if the game was called the same as it was for Jordan, certainly for Magic and Bird.

    We’ll see what it leads to, but Saban sees little good in it, apparently. He’s closer than any of us. 

    • #17
  18. Juliana Member
    Juliana
    @Juliana

    Than you for your insight. Although I am not a big sports fan, never played organized sports, or coached, I find the psychological aspects of sport to be fascinating. 

    • #18
  19. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    Chris O (View Comment):

    Juliana: Or is the questioning a part of normal adolescent contrariness when faced with authority?

    @ juliana , there is a ton in your post for an ex-coach to ramble on.

    Players have always questioned coaches. The difference is they used to try and execute the coach’s vision, regardless of reservations. Caveat: there are a lot of bad youth/high school coaches. Most of them are bad, meaning they don’t know what they’re doing in one of these areas: managing a game, managing practices, or managing the players. They may know a sport, yet have no idea how to teach it. They may not know how to manage a roster, or how to set up a practice to achieve specific goals.

    Two things bad coaches do is indulge interfering parents and cater to players perceived as stars. This has an effect on athletics as a whole because the bad coaches outnumber good ones.

    I coached girls and boys at the high school level. For the boys, my vision for the team had to compete with theirs. For example, I had a “star” who wanted the team built around him. I don’t do that, but the coach I replaced did. We never had that problem with the girls because they wanted the same thing we did: build a serious (but fun), winning program.

    Juliana: Or has the push for teaching critical thinking actually paid off? Are these athletes asking why because they want to understand the complexity of directing a team effort and how they fit in?

    Yeah, that can be part of it. For example, one of the sports I coached was lacrosse, and almost all of my players had more experience with it than I did. They had more information to evaluate my performance.

    Most players look for a reason to buy in. You have to provide it, but at the level where parents are most involved, many coaches don’t know it. For the lacrosse girls, I did my homework and recognized patterns and similarities with other sports, then applied them to develop practices and a system of play. The players did not expect it, they asked me to coach, but figured they’d be advising me. They did, it was a fun collaboration, and we won a lot of games.

    There are successful programs that tolerate very little of that sort of thing. It’s the coach’s way or the highway. A confident coach doesn’t need the threat.

    Juliana: Does the ability to make money in college, and transfer when things are not to your liking, provide more of an impetus for the athlete to forge his own path regardless of what he may need to learn to actually be a great player?

    It’s mostly about playing time, presumably so they’ll be drafted into the pros. Some transfers are about playing for better programs. In basketball, college is no longer about development. Yes, there are programs that can develop you, but the best players just slip through as required on their way to the NBA. Basketball is a completely different game with a different skillset compared to 15 years ago or more. There are very few basketball players among the elite. Most of them are strong athletes who play basketball, their basketball skills would lead to nothing but turnovers if the game was called the same as it was for Jordan, certainly for Magic and Bird.

     

    NBA players today are much more skilled than they were during the glory days of Jordan, Magic and Bird. There were a ton of guys back in the day who couldn’t shoot and had no scoring ability. Players are much better shooters and scorers than they were back in the “glory” days. They just are. Look at the top 100 players today versus the top 100 players of 1994. There’s just so much more depth and high quality players. Just watch Nicola Jokic play. His skill level is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. I’m a guy who prefers the old game versus the new game but I can’t deny the skill level of todays’ players. 

    • #19
  20. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    thelonious (View Comment):
    NBA players today are much more skilled than they were during the glory days of Jordan, Magic and Bird. There were a ton of guys back in the day who couldn’t shoot and had no scoring ability. Players are much better shooters and scorers than they were back in the “glory” days. They just are. Look at the top 100 players today versus the top 100 players of 1994. There’s just so much more depth and high quality players. Just watch Nicola Jokic play. His skill level is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. I’m a guy who prefers the old game versus the new game but I can’t deny the skill level of todays’ players.

    They’re unable to dribble legally (without carrying the ball/turning the ball over in their palm).

    Nitpicky, but that’s a skill, and everyone had to have it at one time. Not so much with Jordan.

    A dunk is primarily an athletic feat. It used to be fairly rare, now it is some players’ main method of shooting, so shooting percentage goes up. Is that what you meant by “much better shooters”?

    Jokic stands out because he is skilled in a league of diminished skills. They simply don’t play the same game, so, yeah, play the game with a 1994 ref and the team selected from 100 best ’94 players are going to win. The 2024 players are going to get called for all sorts of body checks and charging fouls, and probably a few more walks than their ’94 counterparts.

    Edit: If they changed the rule on dribbling, I’d be okay with it. They haven’t. From the NBA:

    1. A player who is dribbling may not put any part of his hand under the ball and (1) carry it from one point to another or (2) bring it to a pause and then continue to dribble again.”

     

    • #20
  21. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Chris O (View Comment):

    thelonious (View Comment):
    NBA players today are much more skilled than they were during the glory days of Jordan, Magic and Bird. There were a ton of guys back in the day who couldn’t shoot and had no scoring ability. Players are much better shooters and scorers than they were back in the “glory” days. They just are. Look at the top 100 players today versus the top 100 players of 1994. There’s just so much more depth and high quality players. Just watch Nicola Jokic play. His skill level is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. I’m a guy who prefers the old game versus the new game but I can’t deny the skill level of todays’ players.

    They’re unable to dribble legally (without carrying the ball/turning the ball over in their palm).

    Nitpicky, but that’s a skill, and everyone had to have it at one time. Not so much with Jordan.

    A dunk is primarily an athletic feat. It used to be fairly rare, now it is some players’ main method of shooting, so shooting percentage goes up. Is that what you meant by “much better shooters”?

    Jokic stands out because he is skilled in a league of diminished skills. They simply don’t play the same game, so, yeah, play the game with a 1994 ref and the team selected from 100 best ’94 players are going to win. The 2024 players are going to get called for all sorts of body checks and charging fouls, and probably a few more walks than their ’94 counterparts.

    Edit: If they changed the rule on dribbling, I’d be okay with it. They haven’t. From the NBA:

    1. A player who is dribbling may not put any part of his hand under the ball and (1) carry it from one point to another or (2) bring it to a pause and then continue to dribble again.”

     

    When it got to where the outcomes of games could be decided by how the referees treated the various rules infractions and when that varied depending on who was playing, I quit watching.

    • #21
  22. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    Chris O (View Comment):

    thelonious (View Comment):
    NBA players today are much more skilled than they were during the glory days of Jordan, Magic and Bird. There were a ton of guys back in the day who couldn’t shoot and had no scoring ability. Players are much better shooters and scorers than they were back in the “glory” days. They just are. Look at the top 100 players today versus the top 100 players of 1994. There’s just so much more depth and high quality players. Just watch Nicola Jokic play. His skill level is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. I’m a guy who prefers the old game versus the new game but I can’t deny the skill level of todays’ players.

    They’re unable to dribble legally (without carrying the ball/turning the ball over in their palm).

    Nitpicky, but that’s a skill, and everyone had to have it at one time. Not so much with Jordan.

    A dunk is primarily an athletic feat. It used to be fairly rare, now it is some players’ main method of shooting, so shooting percentage goes up. Is that what you meant by “much better shooters”?

    Jokic stands out because he is skilled in a league of diminished skills. They simply don’t play the same game, so, yeah, play the game with a 1994 ref and the team selected from 100 best ’94 players are going to win. The 2024 players are going to get called for all sorts of body checks and charging fouls, and probably a few more walks than their ’94 counterparts.

    Edit: If they changed the rule on dribbling, I’d be okay with it. They haven’t. From the NBA:

    1. A player who is dribbling may not put any part of his hand under the ball and (1) carry it from one point to another or (2) bring it to a pause and then continue to dribble again.”

     

    Watch the last iconic shot Jordan made and tell me that he wasn’t palming the ball by that standard. That was in 1998. He also pushed off against Byron Russell btw. With the 3 point shot being an important element of the game, you can’t play in the NBA today if you can’t shoot. Saying players can’t shoot today is absurd. People have always complained about the NBA not calling travelling. I’m sure there were complaints about George Mikan getting away with travelling.

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  23. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    thelonious (View Comment):
    Watch the last iconic shot Jordan made and tell me that he wasn’t palming the ball by that standard. That was in 1998. He also pushed off against Byron Russell btw. With the 3 point shot being an important element of the game, you can’t play in the NBA today if you can’t shoot. Saying players can’t shoot today is absurd. People have always complained about the NBA not calling travelling. I’m sure there were complaints about George Mikan getting away with travelling.

    I don’t dispute anything you said. It’s worse now. I was courtside for a recent college game, Indiana vs. Minnesota. These guys are amazing athletes. They’re not amazing basketball players. The Minnesota PG was unguarded in to 15′ and couldn’t hit a thing, didn’t even make you worry. When someone went into the lane, there was no guile or finesse, they muscled it to the rim. It was a feat, to be sure, but a feat of strength and athleticism. Every time it happened, multiple fouls went uncalled. It’s a game and they call it basketball.

    The refs did do a good job calling the extra step, but definitely didn’t call the rule as stated. Maybe I’m just hiding bitterness for all those traveling violations they called on us way back when we were little. ;-) What can I say? I’m a Hoosier. I forgot my standards when the Pacers were good, so no moral high horse here.

    Edit: We got off topic, but this does relate. The development of athletes into players used to be a forgone conclusion, but it doesn’t happen to the degree it used to. Why? The short answer is club sports, including AAU Basketball. There are some better coaches in club ball, but it’s mostly about money. Things naturally move to efficiencies and one of them is it takes much less time to sell an athlete with potential than it does to develop a player.

    That’s where the game has gone. Kids and parents will go to whomever promises them the most, then the coach’s job is to hook the kid into the college pipeline. There are kids and coaches out there that work one on one on development and that’s why we still get some players out of the system.

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