Are young athletes today watching enough sports?

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By Rich Winter

Kids watching sports to become better athletes came up twice in my periphery yesterday. Early in the day I was chit-chatting with Sacred Hoops coach Tuffy Morrison. At the fall Lakota Nation, the White River girls, who entered the tournament with a 3-13 record rattled off six consecutive wins and finished in 4th place.

Watched White River quite a bit in that tournament. One of the players that stood out was White River freshman setter, Kelsey Morrison. I’d never met Kelsey, never seen her play sports (She was on the All-Native 14-U squad for Sacred Hoops this summer), nor did I know the player I was watching was a freshman. Morrison directed traffic pretty well from the setter position and she just seemed like a heady player who, as a freshman, really understood everything that was going on in the matches.

I asked Tuffy about that Wednesday and he basically said, “She watches a lot of sports.”

All kinds: volleyball, basketball…WATCHES…learns.

Yesterday we named Todd County senior Josh Rowland our Sacred Hoops Athletes of the Week. This kid is as good a WR as I’ve ever seen in South Dakota and one of the things that came out of the interview with Todd County coach Bob Kornely was: “On weekends, Josh watches college and pro football and he really pays attention to what wide-receivers are doing on the field.”

Kornely begged the question of young people watching sports today. “I don’t even know if they watch football anymore, maybe on you-tube.

There are a lot of sports lessons to be learned from watching sports.

Sports Center is awesome, but when you see a bunch of plays strung together in a highlight reel you miss all of the stuff that led up to ‘just’ the highlights.

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Watched a little bit of the Lakers vs. Warriors preseason game last night.

You ever watch LeBron's body language and see all the little things he does for his teammates?

Early in the game, teams feeling each other out…Laker young guy makes a basket off a Lebron assist…tough finish, in traffic, the guy makes it and LeBron comes over and pats him on the back…Early encouragement, that is what leaders provide.

There are so many components to getting better at sports/basketball.

Sacred Hoops Director Jordan Long suggested if you want to get better with ball handling, carry a ball with you at all times….How many people do that?

Here at Sacred Hoops we talk a lot about being prepared for the upcoming season. Weight-lifting, a must. Skills training, a must. Multi-sport athletes, finding a way to work on your game during the off-season.

If ya really want to get better, to start understanding the game from a bigger perspective than just highlights, encourage your kids to sit down and watch a game. Watch with them, talk about things like screens and out-of-bounds plays, and boxing out.

So many little facets of understanding this great game of basketball come just from immersing yourself in the game. See how defenders hold their hands. Watch the lost art of the low-post entry pass…..

Or, watch this kid named Shadeed Shabazz play on-ball defense the way it is supposed to be played…