This year, the NBA has suggested a change in the overall rules and guidelines for youth basketball. Among many changes, the most prominent ones are the exclusions of zone defense and 3-pointers.
The Changes – Are They Necessary?
The NBA argues that these changes will help with the development and enhance experiences for children. The current rules are more fit for adults, and many believe that children easily get discouraged from playing basketball as the games are long, the basket is high, and many shots are hard to accomplish, like the ubiquitous 3-pointers.
Many changes have been made, but all of them have been set to accommodate players according to their age, which is why the guidelines divide into four segments, ages 7 to 8, 9 to 11, 12 to 14, and grades 9 to 12.
For the first three segments, there are lower baskets as well as slightly smaller balls. Furthermore, neither group will play zone defense, and the 3-pointer shots will turn into regular 2 pointers. The opinions differ, and it doesn’t mean that everyone in the USA will implement the rules (the NBA and USA Basketball do not govern all youth tournaments in the country).
However, 3-pointers indeed are tougher for younger players, even high-schoolers. So, let’s see how prominent these shots are in youth basketball so you can decide for yourself whether or not they should exist.
The 3-Pointers in the Youth Basketball
Many youth sports have been losing in popularity in recent years, but 3-pointers in basketball have always been popular. However, their prevalence is high in adult basketball, which is not to say that they aren’t popular with kids as well. They indeed are, maybe even more so, however, they are not as prominent as they are in professional basketball because the children do not have the physical ability to shoot 3-pointers with relative ease as the adults do.
The basket is high and to achieve 3 points you have to be very far from the basket, which is a tough thing to accomplish when you’re young.
However, youth players do love basketball, and they usually try to emulate their role-models who are in most cases the big shots from the NBA. Since 3-pointers are ˝cool˝ in the eyes of children, they often try their best to perform them. It usually ends up as a waste of time because they sacrifice increasing their skills in other areas of the game.
Many would agree with this assessment, like one of the greatest NBA shooters of all time, Stephen Curry. He said: ¨My dad had the same kind of mentality of development as I got stronger and bigger. He wanted me to make sure I didn’t sacrifice form and mechanics just to be able to shoot an NBA three before I was ready.¨
For children, emulating their heroes is an excellent way to improve their skill, but when they attempt something that’s almost impossible for them at their age, they are wasting time that should be spent on the improvement of basketball skills in general.
We would love to hear your opinion, especially if you’re a parent or a coach, so comment below with your views on the matter.