No Cuts for ages 12 and Younger

In 2022, we enter year 16 at Basics.  The sense of clarity we have been blessed with is ACUTE with regard to youth sports.


There is also an ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF WHITE NOISE.  Loud announcers, screaming fans, “experts” in your face everyday, Type A parents and families in every community who “know” the best route to take, fancy and glamorous ads from billion dollar entities that dominate your kids psyches, college programs that resemble corporate cheerleading more than students at a ball game, camera aware cuff linked coaches roaming the sidelines, local youth programs that have little creativity and hamstring generation after generation to mediocrity.


It’s a mess. It’s not pretty.  Criticizing or telling the truth as we see it can easily be misconstrued as sour grapes or negativity run amok.


What would Wooden do?


We know because we we have a direct tie to UCLA and have often asked that question:  What would Wooden do?  Why not inquire?  Why not ask what the greatest coach of all time would do in the face of this white noise, this culture, this overwhelmingly complicated maze of kids, competition, money, travel, and a million “experts”?  You won’t believe his answer.


He wouldn’t do anything.

What?  What do you mean he wouldn’t do anything?


That’s right.  He wouldn’t do anything because he didn’t worry about issues he could NOT control.  He only worried about things he COULD CONTROL.   And that was simple: primarily, Coach could control the players in his charge, today, in the gym.  That would be his focus.  All the other stuff could wait.


And that’s a roundabout way to the issue why you hit this link to begin with: why Basics does not cut before age 12.

  1. #1 reason: why in the world would you cut a kid that young?
  2. #2 reason: does winning really matter when the kids just want to play?
  3. # 3 reason: same as # 1, just reiterated for emphasis….
  4. #4 reason: kids develop at VASTLY different times and ages. We have seen DOZENS and DOZENS of kids over the years who could not TIE THEIR SHOES at ages, 9, 10, 11, 12 who then become the BEST players (or among the best) by simple hard work and intrinsic motivation.