What to Do About Basketball Politics


Recently, I asked my Twitter followers for blog topics. While 'nutrition' and 'player rankings' were far and away the most common answers, 'basketball politics' came in a surprising third.

Basketball is almost as political as... well... politics.

I have seen first-hand 'politics' come into play at every level -- youth, AAU, high school, college, and the NBA. Some 'politics' are good, others are evil. Some help the game and others pollute it.

'Politics' can affect who makes the team, who plays, who shoots, who is an All-Star, who gets invited to camp, who is ranked, and who wears what shoe. 'Politics' are rampant.

Remember, as pure and as wholesome as we want the game to be, basketball is highly competitive and is a billion-dollar business...even at the youth level. Any time you mix competition and money you will get 'politics' as a result.

Politics affect me, too. But guess what? I am OK with it! No sense in complaining... it is a complete waste of energy.

As Maya Angelu said, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

I choose not to worry about things beyond my control. Instead, I focus 100 percent of my time, energy, and passion to the things I can affect. I focus on the players I do work with. Not the ones I don't.

Coaches, avoid the politics and outside influences and always do what is best for your program and team. Only allow players of high character and substance into your program and play the kids that give you the best chance to be successful--kids who work hard, accept their role, and are coachable.

Players, the only place you can 100 percent escape 'politics' is in the gym, by yourself. If you are smart, that is where you will spend most of your free time.

Alan Stein is the owner of Stronger Team and the Head Strength and Conditioning coach for the nationally renowned, Nike Elite DeMatha Catholic High School boys basketball program. He spent 7 years serving a similar position with the Montrose Christian basketball program. Alan brings a wealth of valuable experience to his training arsenal after years of extensive work with elite high school, college, and NBA players.

His passion, enthusiasm, and innovative training techniques make him one of the nation's leading experts on productive training for basketball players. Alan is a performance consultant for Nike Basketball as well as the head conditioning coach for the annual McDonald's All American game, the Jordan Brand All American Classic, and the Nike Summer Skills Academies. Alan is a camp coach at the prestigious NBA Players Association's Top 100 Camp as well as the Chris Paul CP3 Elite Backcourt Camp. Alan has filmed over a dozen DVDs on improving performance and is a sought after lecturer at basketball camps and clinics across the world. He has been featured in Winning Hoops, Time Out, Dime,,, American Basketball Quarterly, Stack, Men's Health, HOOP, and FIBA Assist Magazine.

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