By Hoops

This week, I thought I might discuss the rules of the game we all love. We now all play under FIBA or international rules while we used to play with what is usually called Federation Rules which, I believe, were North American. Are FIBA rules better for the game, have the few adaptations we have made been positive, and should we be implementing more or leaving it as it is? I do know that more changes are coming with a new farther 3-point line, the larger key area, and the so-called "no-charge circle".

One very good thing that has come out of the change to FIBA rules is that our entire country (other than Ontario, I believe) is now playing under the same set of rules making adaptation to inter-provincial games easier.  

I am aware that high school games went to a 30 second shot clock and a 10 second mid-court count at the Junior Varsity level in the last few years. Most people feel this was a positive move, especially in games where the skill level is low. One thing I find interesting is that we can watch a local varsity boys or girls high school game using a 24 second shot clock and then go home at watch our televisions with two Division 1 NCAA teams using a 35 second clock. Are we right and they are wrong or vice versa?

Hoops is enjoying writing these columns and especially talking to fans, players and coaches looking for their opinions. So, I decided to do just that on this topic by asking 5 players, 5 coaches and 5 fans. Once again, I understand that this is a very random and a very small sample to draw any conclusions, but I thought it would be interesting nevertheless.

My results indicate that the rules we use, whatever they may be, seem to be of very little consequence to the players, as not one of those I talked with had any negative comments and all expressed no desire to change anything. On the other hand, four of the five coaches felt that FIBA rules make the players play too quickly and that we should all be using at least a 35 second clock. These sentiments were very similar to the thoughts of the fans (mostly parents). Four coaches mentioned that they still do not like having to call for a time-out from the scorer's table and would much rather be able to stop the game by requesting a time-out whenever they have the ball.

Does this mean that concerns about rules are adult concerns only and are based upon their own experiences with the game when they were young and the fact that coaches have had to relinquish some control in games? In other words, are the negative comments based only on a desire to keep things the way they were and simple opposition to any change?

I do know that the philosophy behind FIBA rules is to place as much control of the game in the hands of the players and to remove it from the coaches. The example usually given for this is that time-out rule because, as it is pointed out, when you see kids playing a pick-up game, they don't call time-out when trapped or in trouble - they need to play out of it and not have a coach bail them out.

There is no question that the game has changed. How much of this is due to the rules?

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