Renard Beavers, El Camino Real assistant Girls basketball Coach and Head basketball coach for Threat Basketball teaches female athletes of all ages the skills they need for middle school, high school and college levels of basketball. Threat is a travel team that offers year-round training. At El Camino, Renard is instrumental in helping keep the speed of the game at a fast pace and prepping the players to be looked at for college scholarships.
Lisa: Hi Renard! This is Lisa Williams with Local Online Visibility. How are you?
Renard: I'm doing great! How are you?
Lisa: I'm doing well, thank you! Today's interview is with Renard Beavers, Varsity Assistant Girls Basketball coach for El Camino High School in Woodland Hills and Head Basketball Coach for Threat Basketball Girl's Travel Team. We're going to go straight into the questions today.
As we look around, more girls than ever are playing basketball. What is the level of commitment with so many girls playing basketball today?
Renard: Well, I think the level of commitment is definitely growing. It is pretty high. There are plenty of rec. leagues and travel teams, and there are a lot of schools that have teams, so it's becoming big. College basketball has helped a lot with getting girl's more interested in playing basketball as well as the WNBA.
Lisa: I know at the Pop Warner level and definitely at high school level, boys are very competitive and trying to gain athletic scholarships. Are girls as competitive at these levels?
Renard: They are not at the boys level yet, but it is really getting there.
Lisa: And what do you attribute it to?
Renard: I think that information is the key. There's so much more access to information. ESPN is bigger now. The Internet is larger now, so when you see these stories or hear about other female athletes that have obtained basketball scholarships, it goes from a myth to a reality. It was a myth fifteen years, ago but now it is reality. Someone you know may know someone who is a girl and received a basketball a scholarship now.
Renard: Before, it was unreachable or seemingly unobtainable just a few years back to get a scholarship.
Lisa: Yes it's much more obtainable now. I read that with your Threat basketball program your goal is to get the girls ready for the high school level. What do you find girls are lacking to play on Varsity at the high school level?
Renard: I think the biggest thing is basketball IQ and court sense, which is kind of the same thing. The other would be getting familiar with the speed of the game.
Lisa: Can you elaborate on the basketball IQ?
Renard: Yes, since so many girls are playing now, that means there's a lot of training going on too. A lot of girl's today can shoot, dribble, pass, and play defense. They know about ball handling drills and defensive slides and a lot of individual aspects of the game, but the strategy of the game is a lot of times overlooked. The good and bad thing about basketball is you can play a basketball game and as long as everyone is running back and forth and no one is double dribbling or traveling, it can seem like a successful game, but there's a lot more strategy involved with cutting , when to cut when to get open, when to guard, when to not guard. I think a lot of the younger players are not being taught the strategy as much as the skill of the game.
Lisa: And how to you go about teaching basketball IQ?
Renard: That is one of the hardest things to teach, but what I try to do is have segments of practice where we walk through a lot of scenarios and I explain it. That's one way. The other way is film. Nowadays it's so easy to get games and practices on film. It gives the visual tool of what they are doing right and wrong. From coach to coach, it's easy to talk about the game, but when you're talking to a middle school person about basketball you have to remember they might not be able to visualize everything so having film is good, and taking the time to walk -through stuff is good also.
Lisa: So it sounds like girls are not starting to work on these skills until middle school instead of elementary school, and boys are working on these skills in elementary school, so what do you attribute that to?
Renard: Yes, I think its two things. That is one of them, that boys still generally start earlier, but the other one is boys have more avenues to play when it's not on a team. For instance, at their elementary or middle school, generally there are going to be more boys playing ball at lunch time. Or you can go to the park and find a pick-up game and there's plenty of boys games, but girls, there's not as many games. It's hard to find a pick-up game where you can go to the park and there are ten girls playing basketball.
Lisa: Good point. Of course, they could always play with the boys, but I guess that is not going on as much at lunch time and at the park. I'm guessing it is not as appealing to the girls, only some girls.
Renard: There's always going to be a few who will play, but the ratio from girls who are dedicated basketball players to the amount that are playing with boys, the ratio is off. There's a lot of girls who just are not getting in those games. There's a lot of boys who are not really inviting them as well. The boys have to be more open to letting the girls play with them also.
Lisa: And speaking of resources, there are now many more resources, travel teams and such available then say ten years ago. What can girls do to improve in the off-season?
Renard: I would say another important thing to do for a girl is to watch games without being a fan. Analyze games on TV, whether it be college basketball or professional basketball. Do not just watch the ball when you're watching on TV. Watch the defense. Try to recognize what defenses are being run. Try to recognize what the offensive team is running. Individually watch certain players who do not have the ball and imitate what they are doing and pay attention to what they are doing correctly. I would say watch games with a better basketball eye. And another thing they can do is drills and skills. The best players, they go out and shoot hoops in the front yard. They do not just play when they are at practice.
Lisa: That's good. Whether that means they're out there dribbling or whatever. Develop their skill sets.
Renard: Yes. One thing about girls' basketball, if you can do one thing well, that will get you pretty far and you can work on the rest as you go, but learn to do one thing well, whether it's shooting, passing, dribbling or defense.
Lisa: And that brings me to my last question, what suggestions would you recommend to parents of girls who play basketball and to the girls themselves?
Renard: For the parents and the girls I would say ask questions. Sometimes as a parent it can be tough, because there's a natural element of being a little biased to maybe your daughter or your daughter's team, but the more you can ask questions and find out what is out there, the better as perspective you will gain and honesty is the key for the parents. Also support your daughter more than coach your daughter. Some parents want to coach but they sometimes just need to support and let the kids figure it out because they are just kids and it takes time to learn. For the kids, trying to get in a situation where if you're not the best one on the team, do not be intimidated by that because you can leapfrog a lot of players just by dedication.
Lisa: Great advice! Well Renard, thank you for your time and good luck with your coming season!
Renard: Thank you so much! Thanks for taking the time to highlight girls' basketball!
Lisa: Absolutely, we enjoy highlighting local businesses and people making a difference in the community.