Often when players are asked, “What game would you like to play?” The answer is resounding, “Knockout!!” It is rare that the rules and strategy of knockout has to be explained to players, but it occasionally happens. For those unfamiliar with the game, a video clip of it is provided with this article.
Several high school varsity coaches in Bergen County, NJ, have stated that when coming to view town travel team practice they are disheartened to see the team playing knockout.
Some shooting instructors say knockout is detrimental to players’ shooting and coaches should forbid it.
Should Knockout be banned from youth basketball? Absolutely not!
Should Knockout be used to teach a player how to shoot? Absolutely not!
This is where the difference lies in whether or not Knockout should be played.
If a high school varsity coach is coming to watch a youth travel team practice, they are coming to see the following:
1. The players: where they are in their skill development.
- In other words, how far away they are from where they need to be in order to play in high school
- Their current abilities.
2. The players: their attitude and behavior
- Are they hard workers? Are they team players? Do they have sportsmanship?
3. The coaches
- Who are they people that are developing these players for the high school program?
- Are they teaching them the skills they need to play at a higher level?
Does knockout give an adequate picture to any high school coach about the above criteria? No. Do any games similar to Knockout provide this picture? Probably not.
Does that mean it needs to be banned entirely from youth basketball? No, but it needs to be in its proper time and place. The day another coach, a parent, or anyone, is coming to view a practice, and possibly critique it, is not the time to play Knockout.
The day coaches are teaching shooting instruction is not the day to play Knockout.
- Players enjoy it.
- Coaches can use as an incentive.
- Encourages a healthy competitive behavior
- If you are playing Supreme knockout (when both baskets are used at once and if players are still in the game, they run to the opposite basket) it works a little bit on conditioning
- Concentration is needed to take foul shots, get rebounds, and finish shots.
- Most players jump over the foul line during this game, which means they are not practicing a foul shot.
- Players are in a rush to score first so their form is not often proper.
- Some players deliberately miss the shot, throwing it as hard as they can off the backboard, to score off a layup.
- The time used to play this game in practice could be used for something more productive.