Building from the ground up

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I have discussed the issue of building an athletic program before, and, for the most part, the subject of building a program has centered around football and usually the team I cover – and that is the Huntingdon Mustangs. All the county schools that play football have had success at their respective schools, but over the long haul, Huntingdon has had more success.

All the county schools have had success on the basketball floor, but not at the level that the football teams have had. Huntingdon has not had near the success for boys’ and girls’ basketball compared to football. Huntingdon girls have been to the state tournament five times, and I think have been among the final four teams twice in their history. The Huntingdon boys have never made it to a state tournament.

So how does a team build a successful basketball program. Common sense would say that if you are successful in some sports, then you should have success in all sports, because at a school of Huntingdon’s size kids are playing more than one sport. Huntingdon has always had great athletes, but somehow it hasn’t always translated to the basketball floor.

You start the build with tradition, and that is definitely one of the building blocks for Huntingdon in football. But winning builds tradition, and Huntingdon has not always had that on the hardwood. The one thing you can’t do is start in the middle. You have to start youth teams at an early age and get the kids to playing a lot of basketball. Some of that has started in the last couple of years, but it takes time to start a kid in the fourth grade or so and keep that going.

You have to have a lot of parents that are willing to put in the time and coach a lot of teams, and you need to start them at an early age. Football, baseball and softball have been doing this for a long time, and it shows in the success at the high school level. Huntingdon’s baseball team has been to state six times, and softball has been nine times.

It also takes a lot of patience and time to work on fundamentals of the game, such as dribbling, passing, shooting and especially foul shots. It takes time to build a program, but if you have talent, then it can be done.

For more of my ramblings, check out the Beating Around the Bush Podcast available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Facebook.

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