This is my 17th season coaching High School basketball and I have had the privilege to coach in three separate states and several different schools. In addition, I have worked with some very good AAU basketball programs. The major change I have seen in the last 5-6 years is that players are becoming numb to losing.
The problem that I see is that these kids play in meaningless tournaments throughout the offseason with their AAU team where the main goal is exposure. There are no standings to worry about, no conference or district titles to strive for, and definitely no end championship that they have to qualify for (except for the top tier shoe company circuits). They go from event to event where they play 3-6 games regardless if they win or not. Winners are given medals on a ribbon that get lost or put in a junk drawer in their room. What's even better is I see AAU teams forfeit tournament games and don't even compete for the championship. This is now seeping into high school basketball where when kids lose a game or start to lose a game it doesn't sting as much as it once did.
The individual performance is now the lead question every kid gets. Parents, family, and classmates are less concerned with a team win and more invested in the player's point total. Social media is now filled with individual highlights and player stats. Gone are the days of papers posting high school box scores from around the area/state. Kids are worried about getting their shot blocked or ankles broken by an opponent because that will be seen by their friends on Twitter the next day.
Winning isn't everything with coaching or playing the game of basketball but we should be pushing our players to compete to win. Losing should sting, it should hurt, it should drive us to be better. We should care that we didn't perform to our best or that someone was better than us. That is how we improve.