FWIW Tom Thibodeau - You practice as you play. Coaches?
To a great extent this is true....Intensity, speed, good fundamentals etc are all important in practice, they lead players into games...However, there is no way to duplicate the adrenalin that games bring...Some players are great in practice, but then can't duplicate those actions in game situations...Then there are those special cases who elevate their performance on game day.
I believe to a great extent this is why experienced players are needed to be leaders, to take charge in pressure situations on the court, and to lead by example in both practice and games..They understand what those tense situations call for, to be mentally tough AND perform....Of course there are exceptions. I had a player who was a "below average student" who made 2 free throws to win a game with about a second left, when the horn sounded and all his teammates were all over him congratulating him, he told me he didn't know his 2 free throws put us ahead towin win by one point when he was shooting!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!!!
I have coached a lot of youth travel teams ranging from 4th-8th grade. Definitely have mixed experiences with this idea of teams playing in games how they practice. My oldest’s eighth grade team a few years ago was often a hot mess in practice with all sorts of disciplinary running every night because they couldn’t stop fooling around. Then the lights would go on on game day and they’d be awesome. My third son’s team (now 6th grade) definitely seems to show a stronger correlation between practice effort/attention each week and game performance.