April 2007

The Seattle Times reports on Family SportsLife Today's exhibition on June 16th at Hec-Ed

Coach Tom Newell says he thinks basketball, especially its highest levels, has devolved from the team game it was designed to be, with players spending too much time working one on one and focusing on dunks and other highlight-reel plays.

"That's not the way the game was invented," Newell said. "It was intended to be a template of how to work together and how to set screens and move without the ball and make the various passes that are necessary to make the plays successful."

Eleven-foot rims, Newell thinks, would eliminate the dunk and also require more teamwork to get the ball closer to the hoop.

 See the full story from the Seattle Times...

Family Sports Life Today is proud to announce today that it will stage an experimental exhibition basketball game at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on June 16 at 1 pm.

Former local basketball stars who played in the Pac 10, WCC, Big Sky and local colleges will compete in a game that will feature an 11-foot hoop in what event organizer Tom Newell, a former NBA and WNBA coach and longtime Northwest Native, calls "a science experiment.''

Coach Newell's interest in announcing this unique endeavor is for players, coaches, officials, fans and participants to observe just how a player would "adapt" to a basket that has been raised 12 inches.

His original inspiration was his father, legendary Coach Pete Newell, who in 1961 elevated the basket to 12 feet and held an exhibition on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, where he was the Athletics Director.

Newell believes the game has become stagnant at all levels with players dominating the ball for a "perfect" slam or individual play that draws attention and perhaps the notice of others who can help the player propel this athleticism into something bigger and better down the road.

So, he asked himself "what if..." and devised a game in which the basket will elevated another foot along with a few other tweaks such as eliminating dunk shots during the exhibition, having a 30-second shot clock, and allowing 3-point baskets only during the fourth quarter. There will be four 12-minute quarters and the rules for fouls will be similar to the professional game.

Newell also believes that basketball has evolved enough athletically that it's time to "experiment" with the height of the rim instead of doing things such as changing the dimensions of the ball, the textures and the seams in an attempt to improve the game.

While this may seem like a drastic alteration, he believes that it is no different than the changes football and baseball have made to adapt to the incredible physical skills of today's athletes.

Newell discusses some examples, such as the NFL moving goal posts and MLB moving fences in ballparks in the podcast episode "The NBA Game:  Time for a Change?" at www.FamilySportsLifeToday.com/ForLoveOfGame.  He discusses the experience Pete Newell had in his 1961 exhibition in a podcast episode at www.FamilySportsLifeToday.com/PeteNewell

Admission to the June 16 game is FREE, with Newell asking only that spectators bring a canned food item for donation to the Northwest Harvest Food Bank of Seattle.

Newell promises a "full" entertainment program for attending fans. Spectators, Coaches and others will be asked to participate as an Observer. If people are interested in participating as an Observer of this event, and providing your input on the evaluation of the shot selections, the Pick and Roll plays, Fast Breaks, Post Play and the Defensive alignments, they can register here.

There will be shooting contests for prizes provided by this event's title sponsor, The Legacy Group, a Bellevue-based Capital, Mortgage and Escrow company. Half court attempts for prizes will also be included in the timeout periods and halftime. There will be live entertainment as well.

Pete Newell Interview

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Family Sports Life Today, a Bellevue-based sports website, announces an exhibition basketball game at the University of Washington, Hec Edmundson Pavilion, June 16, 2007, with the game beginning at 1 pm.  Former local intercollegiate student athletes from the Pac 10, WCC, Big Sky and local colleges will demonstrate their adaptive basketball skills playing on a basketball hoop that is 11 feet high. This feature is more of a "science" experiment, presented by former NBA/WNBA Coach Tom Newell, a longtime Northwest native. 

As part of the announcement, Coach Tom Newell interviews his father, legendary coach Pete Newell.  The upcoming "For the Love of the Game" exhibition follows on to a similar exhibition with raised baskets that Coach Pete Newell did in 1961. 

Also, Coach Tom Newell and Coach Guy Perry discuss the NBA game and whether it is time for a change in our podcast episode "The NBA Game:  Time for a Change?"

Coach Tom and Coach Guy talk with Todd Kozinka, President of Planet-Hoops.com.  Planet-Hoops offers a digital video editing system to break down video for scouting and post-game analysis, saving time for coaches.  Todd talks about their DVCoach system which makes the technology available to high schools and small colleges, or for use in producing scout tapes or team season highlight videos. 

DV Coach is available for basketball, soccer, hockey, and rugby.  Highlight videos and editing is available for other sports.

Tom, Guy, and Todd also talks about how coaches can use the service and analyze games, linking with a stats service like CyberSports.  They talk about the potential for high school athletes to do some self-promotion, especially to division-II or NAIA schools.  The Phoenix Sun's Steve Nash is an example of an athelte that was never recruited, but had to market himself.  They compare the $250-500 price of highlight tape to the thousands of dollars spent on AAU travel teams. 

For more information, see

Daniel Jahn, former UW Strength and Conditioning Coach, talks about his company End Zone Athletics and their program for training kids, both one-on-one, and for entire teams.

The LA times reports on the impact of introducing concepts of competition too early for toddlers.

In the center of a field of fake grass, about a dozen 3- and 4-year-olds are attempting to learn soccer -- or a reasonable facsimile. Kicking and chasing after scaled-down balls, some charge ahead with glee, expertly guiding the balls with their feet. Others scoot along hesitantly, their faces masks of intensity.

"Score it in the goal! Score it in the goal!" the coach yells excitedly nearby. One boy nails the goal with a single kick, while another takes three to four attempts. A little girl in pigtails scoops up one ball with her arms and simply drops it into the net.

Such is organized sports for preschoolers. Parents may be crazy for it, but childhood development experts ... less so.


But sports for 3- and 4-year-olds should be very different from sports for older kids.

Parents must make sure that the activities are developmentally appropriate and that the coach can teach a range of skill levels, because children don't progress equally, Branta says.

All 3-year-olds, she points out, can't kick a moving ball -- and having to throw and catch a ball could be frustrating for some. When teaching kids, an emphasis should be placed, she says, on the quality of movement: "How the skill is done, where is the body positioned, where does the foot land -- some understanding of form and technique."

Greg Payne, a professor of kinesiology at Cal State San Jose, adds that sports for 3- and 4-year-olds shouldn't include competition or pressure.


The NBA Game: Time for a Change?

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Coach Tom Newell announces an exhibition, "For the Love of the Game", featuring professional and college players playing with an 11-foot hoop.  He and Coach Guy Perry discuss the change, what they expect for this exhibition, and for the pro game.

The exhibition and follow-up panel discussions will be held in June in the Seattle area.  Admission will be free with a can of food for donation to Northwest Harvest.  The event is sponsored by Family SportsLife Today, Coaches Who Care, Intl., and Best Effort Camps and Clinics.

Update:  The game will be at 1:PM on Saturday, June 16th, 2007 at UW's Hec Edmundson Pavilion.  Admission is free, but we are asking for a canned food donation to Northwest Harvest.  Join FamilySportsLifeToday.com and become an official observer.

Coach Tom and Coach Guy discuss the recent loss of the Franklin Girls Softball team 64-0 to West Seattle.  They discuss the failures by both coaches and the umpire, the impact on players on both teams, and offer suggestions on how the game should have been handled more gracefully.

Over the Top (Episode #19)

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Already this year we've seen several ugly instances where parents lose their sanity and take matters into his own hands--impacting their family sports life FOREVER.  Does watching your son or daughter playing competitive sports make you anxious?  Imagine if there is no score, would you have the same feelings and reactions?  You need to listen to this podcast for parents that are "Over the Top."