One of the reasons we have kids reach their potential and achieve at HIGH LEVELS (100 Basics grads now at the college level) is we do NOT take ourselves, athletics and competition that seriously.  Athletes who are relaxed and own a sense of PROPORTION to to what they are doing are poised to excel.  The majority of training programs and supposedly “competitive teams”  apply WAY TOO MUCH pressure to the unsuspecting athletes, hamstringing nearly all the kids with unreasonable expectations.  Welcome to a different, more sane approach!


Living these ideals off the court is also a goal of ours, one that is not always met with success despite best efforts.  Failing is part of succeeding.  It is a work in progress.


Coach Wooden’s creed given to him by his father.  Basics does our best to stay true to these principles.

  1. Be true to yourself.
  2. Make each day your masterpiece.
  3. Help others.
  4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  5. Make friendship a fine art.
  6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  7. Pray for guidance, count and give thanks for your blessings everyday.


We often consult Daniel Webster (Dartmouth Class of 1804!) when definitions cut to the chase.


Cul-ture (Kul-cher) n:

The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought characteristic of a community or population. 


With regard to Youth Sports, the TWO descriptive words from this definition we will emphasize on this page are PATTERNS and BELIEFS.


Parents of course are decision makers for their children.  Wittingly or unwittingly, parents behavior PATTERNS are often predetermined based on their BELIEFS.


These BELIEFS are often driven by a hugely lucrative and socially engineered Youth Sports culture.  This Youth Sports Culture is counter in MANY ways to Basics culture.


Below are some articles that exemplify our culture.


  • Basics is based on UCLA’s Coach John Wooden.  This New York Times article is a nice summary of the man’s remarkable life as a coach, teacher, mentor and model. His Pyramid of Success is still widely used today.


In honor of Coach Wooden, Basics is developing a Pyramid of Skill.  The building blocks of competitive play.

The state of Mens College Basketball, report by Condolezza Rice.  Basics is involved in this report.

  • Ummmm, parents??  Watch this.  What kids say about their parents watching them play.



  • Kobe Bryant decries loss of skill in American players.  At its root is AAU.  Basics position: AAU has some great players and great coaches.  There is no doubt.  But the VAST, VAST majority of kids (90% +) who play on these teams would be far better served to simply work on their skills.



  • NBA Coach Stan Van Gundy is politically INCORRECT in telling the truth about most/maybe ALL youth basketball leagues.  2:50 video










Fox News Channel 17 report on Travel teams : too expensive, the benefit goes to the tourney organizers. Coach Wooden summary: “Never mistake activity for achievement.”


ESPN:  (you gotta read this one!):  Travel Ball, Elite and Preferred Teams

The Mikan Drill is the most important skill drill in basketball.  Many programs do NOT do the drill regularly if at all.  Maybe Lebron’s comments will change that.  “I did the drill”, LeBron said as if anyone doubted the best player in basketball skipped over the game’s MOST FUNDAMENTAL TRAINING EXERCISE.”  1:00 Video: Coach McGannon and then a 7th Grader executing The Mikan Drill


Recruiting:  this Detroit Free Press article describes the “fraud” of football combines and exposure events. The same can pretty much be said about every sport’s “recruiting days and exposure events”.  These supposed “required” events are at their heart money making endeavors for the organizers. Quote: “The most important thing parents and kids must understand is college coaches pay no attention to any of this garbage.”


This 1:21 clip is at the bottom for a reason.  NO KIDS permitted!!  Lewis Black “discusses” Youth Soccer Tournaments.  Substitute basketball and it’s essentially the same thing.


We hope you find this page and its content helpful.  Youth sports are run like nobody’s business because they are nobody’s business.  Basics believes an educated parent will make the best decision for their kids. Our advice: take the time to measure, understand and interpret to the best of your ability what you are registering your kids for.   Tune out the loud and overzealous.  Listen.  Ask a lot of questions.  Do not be afraid to say NO.
Remember, the most important element of a well run youth program is that program’s ability to model appropriately for your son or daughter.   Programs that do not emphasize this key component of your kid’s development should be avoided.