Basketball Tryouts: The Dreaded Mile

Talked to the varsity basketball coach Tuesday after hearing they had several guys in tryouts who could not make the required mile time of 6:30. Now, we can debate the value of the mile for basketball, but it is certainly a tradition that most of us faced every November. I hated every second of that stupid mile, but I made damn sure I came in under the required time. There was no way I was going to fail or run that mile more than one time. That meant I worked a little harder on weekends and after volleyball practice, making sure I was prepared for that dreaded afternoon.

I was amazed when this coach told me 5 of the 13 guys trying out (some are still in football and soccer), failed this test. How sad! Over one-third of these young men didn't have the general aerobic fitness to run a mile in 6:30? Why? Are they that unmotivated to prepare? Are they just dumb? Do they think playing half-court is the only thing you need to do to prepare for the high school season?

The one kid who is being highly recruited (a 6'11" junior) made it in 6:05. If a 6' 11" 230 lb guy can do it, anyone can. The difference is that he is motivated to succeed; he realizes he is responsible for his physical preparation and that it takes work.

But I'm not sure many kids realize what it means to physically prepare anymore. Some do, but others go for the ESPN bling (dunks, fade-aways) and skip the hard stuff (free throws, conditioning, a low balanced position on defense). They want the privilege of playing on a high school varsity team handed to them. What a shame.


Anonymous said…
What are the ways we can get them to understand the work involved? And the understanding that the work might feel uncomfortable but is so worth it? It's very hard to fight the culture of entertainment and short-term gratification.
Tracy Fober said…
I'm not sure we (as teachers or coaches) can do that for many kids. I think the parents have more to do with instilling self-discipline and the value of earning anything--physical, academic or whatever.


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