Friday, December 5, 2014

2014/15 Underway

The first Boys Rankings have now been released.  As always, these are subjective in many cases and the intent is to be a positive motivator for teams to measure themselves and to improve.  They are also an excellent metric to determine the quality of teams in a tournament where a coach may not have any experience or knowledge of the others.  It can be very frustrating to sign up for an event, where the opposing teams are far above a teams current level, or to be far below a teams current level. 3 straight Blowout wins or losses, seldom contain a positive element for either side.

Girls rankings are pending some feedback from Coach's.  They will be delayed until after the Christmas Holidays.

Any coaches that wish to participate in the poll please email:
rich@blacktopsports.net

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Role of the Feeder Club


This is my first attempt at a real blog on the web site.  I was looking to find a subject that would be worth discussing, but not be too polarizing.  No need to get a war of words going.
So I think anyone who is possibly reading this, is very familiar with Wisconsin Sports Net,  and the chat boards.  If you aren’t familiar with that site, I highly recommend checking it out. Especially for those of you with 8th graders that are about to become fully involved in High School basketball.  Here is the link for anyone who hasn’t visited the site before.
So let me get to the subject for this article.
I recently read a posting in the forum about the lack of state titles by the city teams, and the reasons for the drought.  Is it due to the bracketing and putting the majority of the teams from the powerful city conference in one sectional, and the rest in one other sectional, ensuring they would knock themselves out and reduce their chances? (yes that was a nice extended run-on sentence I know)   Is it the rise of AAU programs and their proliferation throughout the state?
I am thinking the answer is far simpler.  It’s the feeder club.  In the suburbs and rural areas, it is much more likely to see a feeder club team start for a specific class, and see them progress from 5th grade onto HS. Now it is much more common to see a team to start at 3rd and 4th grade. Sometimes as young as 2nd grade.   I don’t want to debate or question the value and importance of starting at that age, but focus on the structure of the clubs.  Using the boys side as a reference, you will see a lot of the teams ranked on their come from specific programs.  Take a look at the Coach’s poll on the boy’s side.  You will see clubs like Kimberly, Sun Prairie, and Oshkosh North appear at each age level.  There are others and I am not trying to limit the accomplishments of any club, but look at the structure. 
You are seeing a group of kids, getting to play a lot of basketball,  against other quality programs for an extended period of time.  Most of these clubs have multiple teams at each grade level, and they are split up evenly for much of the year, and then bringing their top players together for runs at the bigger tournaments and the state invitational tournament.  Whether you agree with the structure or method, it is hard to ignore the results.   There are few if any of the city teams that will have a feeder club play from 5th grade thru HS together.  They are more likely to play with an AAU/Grass Roots  club.  If your familiar with the AAU teams, then you are know that it is extremely difficult to keep roster integrity year after year.  Every year you will see players leaving this program for that program, or players attempting to play for multiple teams.   The feeder club teams are benefitting from those early years of building chemistry, and an understanding of their HS system and what their role is. Take a look at Onalaska's state championship D2 team, and then look at how they performed at the State invitational during their middle school years.  Take a look at Germantown's 2012 senior class, and how they did as well.  It is hard to deny the impact a strong feeder club can have on your HS program.
I cannot see many HS teams being able to compete at the higher levels  without having a very strong feeder club system.  A new HS coach would be well served to look at the local feeder club program and working closely with them to ensure success at the HS level. 
So, for all of you out there working with your local club for boys and girls, your efforts are making an impact for your local HS and each of you should be very proud of the work you are doing.  I think the more successful programs will have a very positive relationship between the HS coach and the parents of the younger kids.  The more positive that relationship, the more success that is realized, and the more the kids will enjoy the experience.  At the end of the day, that is the main reason we all do this right?

Rich M.