Originally Posted by Steve Shafley
Basketball players, in particular, need to take a break from pick up games to work on other stuff. Soccer and basketball, in particular, have pick up games that are easy to find, and too much of it is going to pretty much undo anything you do with them, and make them more prone to injury.
I won't speak to basketball (being almost 5'8"--in O-lifting shoes), but I'd have to disagree about soccer. The best players I know are the ones who play the game anytime and all the time. Individual ball skills and creativity are emphasized in more casual games. One of the problems with US Soccer (and a lot of other sports, IMHO) is the "professionalization" of youth sports. The players train year-round, always in a structured environment. We haven't produced a Pele or Ronaldinho, partly because our best athletes play money sports, but mostly because those players grew up playing in the streets constantly.
Anyway, I'll cut this short and get off my rant now, while I'm still welcome here...