By Hoops

In this, the second installment of my commentaries, I would like to discuss the basketball being played in our high schools and junior high schools, and why it appears that some schools seem to always be in contention for conference and provincial championships while others seldom are or, if they are, only sporadically.

It is Hoops' opinion that the main reason is the difference between running a program and having a team. If you look at the schools which are consistently in contention and regularly appear in all top ten rankings, these are the same schools that have consistency with their coaches, some of whom have been there for many years.

This is sometimes the root of recruiting allegations directed at some schools. In truth, it could be the athlete recruiting the coach, rather than the opposite, which can and does happen, meaning good players might want to play where they know they are going to get good coaching and a competitive schedule. Can we blame them, no matter what the affect on their community school?

As in many organizations, it often comes down to leadership. In education, this means the school boards, superintendents, and principals. It does not appear that Education Manitoba, or any school division, have any real policies governing athletics. Some administrators seem to understand the importance of teams in our schools and make the effort to hire and support quality coaches ensuring that their schools offer quality basketball programs over the long term. Players get good coaching at the younger grades and progress through to the varsity teams, ensuring success.

I am aware that teacher unions avoid this topic and would prefer that the present system of volunteer coaches remain outside of any collective bargaining discussion. However, it is Hoops' opinion that until school divisions develop strong policies governing the need to hire and support quality coaches in all of our schools, many schools will only continue to be able to say that are fielding teams on a year-to-year basis rather than offering a quality program that the school can be proud of over the long term.

We welcome your comments on this topic by posting them below!  Basketball Manitoba welcomes submissions from the basketball community to its website.  If you would like to become a regular contributor, please contact our webmaster.  
Subscribe to Email Newsletter
Share this article to...