As of Summer 2022, there are only 8 state athletic associations in the United States that have adopted the use of a shot clock at the high school level. The wave is coming though, with Georgia ready to play ball with a shot clock this season and Connecticut likely next to join. If my research serves me correctly, Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has an upcoming vote at the end of August to determine the implementation by the start of the 2023-2024 season. That means 41 states still have the potential to go viral from some captured video of a team’s possession during the state tournament imitating Dean Smith’s 4-corner offense for the remainder of a quarter.
Change starts with the governing body, and the NFHS has recently approved the allowance of shot clocks moving forward. Prior to this decision, any of the aforementioned 8 states that were early adopters had to forfeit their seats as part of the NFHS basketball rules committee. So, the move by the NFHS should be the 1st indication that implementing a shot clock at the high school level appears to be inevitable. The second comes from the changing of the guard in the coaching community.
The poll above is the largest sample size I could find, but similar search queries via Twitter produced consistent results regardless of the author. There feels to be a generational shift in the coaching community. Today’s coaches seem heavily in favor to adjust to the times, and it would be my hypothesis that the players are equally as eager to compete under the use of a shot clock. Therefore, very little pushback would come from the stakeholders that are involved between the 94×50 dimensions; it is the powers at be that are most apprehensive to make the change.
The counter arguments against the shot clock are pretty consistent, typically starting with the financial restraints and the personnel limitations. This isn’t intended to be some sort of empirical article, so I won’t hunt down the numbers to recognize the median amount spent by school districts to install a shot clock. However, I find it hard pressed that rural areas in North and South Dakota, or small New England states (i.e. Massachusetts and Rhode Island) have found a way to make the one-time investment work. It has been my experience coaching in Massachusetts that the scorer’s table consisted of two people: working the book and the scoreboard (clock included). When is the last time you’ve been to a high school game with or without a shot clock that had less than two people working the scorer’s table? My guess is finding support staff for a nominal fee is equally as feasible for the remaining states.
“BuT STalL BaLL iS A sTRAtegY TOo. Go PlAY DeFENSe!”
Did I do that right?
Why would coaching strategy stop after the implementation of a shot clock? At the very least it puts the hands in the appropriate powers for who should determine the result of any game – the players. Basketball should not be a game of keep-away. And for the amount that some of these student-athletes are investing into personal trainers these days, I’m certain “monkey-in-the-middle” has a low usage rate during workouts.
Coaches continue to get older, while players keep staying the same age.
Coaches are often encouraged to meet the players where they are, and by that, recognize what’s trending in the game and adapt our efficacy to teach the game as it evolves. Administrators responsible for gatekeeping the modernization of the sport should consider upholding a similar standard.
Implementing a shot clock offers uniformity to the sport, and an additional element for athletes to develop cognitively. With the decision by the NFHS to permit 35-second shot clocks by state associations without kicking them off the rules committee; it seems like only a matter of time for the rest of the country to join the other 8 states.
And I think the majority of the coaching community would agree.