Goals Higher than 10 Feet

Los Angeles rookie Candace Parker slams down two of her 10 points with 29 seconds left to play against Indiana. Parker joined teammate Lisa Leslie as the only players to dunk in a WNBA game.

Photo Credit: USA Today

I was recently approached with the question should female basketball players play on nine-foot goals to make the women’s game more exciting on all levels? The old me would’ve said yes without any hesitation. I always dreamed of being able to dunk and if I was able to play on a nine-foot goal instead of the normal 10-foot goal, that dream would’ve come true. Twelve inches is a big difference. However, I recently had the privilege to experience a WNBA game first-hand. The Washington Mystics battled the Atlanta Dream and it was an intense, high-energy game. The ladies balled out, and a lot of their plays should’ve made “SportsCenter’s” or “Fox Sports Live’s” top plays. To see that type of performance was reassurance that the women’s game is moving forward in the right direction. Now, I had a former high school girls basketball coach say that lowering the goals would increase the women’s game and bring in more fans. This statement may be true because if more women are dunking, catching alley-oops, slapping the glass and playing above the rim, this may garner the attention of more fans. On the other hand, this excitement comes at a cost. Essentially, this change would water down the women’s game. I’m all for change if it’s for the better, but this change would negate everything female basketball players have worked for thus far. To play with a smaller ball is one thing – many women can play just as well with men’s basketballs – but to change the height of the goals, female ballers would have to change their shots and that’s a problem.

Women would probably agree that, although it’s tempting, they don’t want the easy way out. Goals shouldn’t be lowered to nine feet, female players need to continue to play at a higher level. Many fans and college coaches are looking at girls basketball at the middle school and high school levels and focusing on the bad players instead of the talented ones. There are some players who get involved with the game at a young age, work hard and their performance shows, while others may play because their parents want them to, their friends are playing or other reasons that are a reflection of their performance. Genetically, males are more athletic than females, so male basketball players playing above the rim comes more naturally. Although there are athletic women who are explosive and can dunk , if fans judge the quality of the women’s game based on it being above the rim, then female basketball players will never be good enough. To me, excitement is not limited to dunking, it’s a jaw-dropping crossover, a nice pass, a good strip on defense, converting a circus shot or a blocked shot that gets fans out of their seats. This is the excitement that is more and more prevalent in the women’s game.

Another observation is that the talent of girls and boys basketball – at the middle and high school level – seems to diminish every year, with the exception of a few players. It’s more obvious with the girls than the guys, but it is something to pay attention to. Players are also a lot smaller now than past generations. High school players are starting to look like middle school ones. Size also impacts how someone judges the quality of the game. However, once you get to the college and professional levels, the quality of talent is much better because coaches can recruit and draft the players they want, instead of having to play with the hand they are dealt at the grade school level. Nevertheless, female basketball players should have the mentality and work ethic to be more than the best player on their team, in their state, in their region or in their country, but to be the best player in the world. If more of them have this mentality and work ethic, we would not be having this discussion.

In contrast, the shot clocks should be the same for men and women at the college levels. The men have a 35-second shot clock and a 10-second violation, whereas the women have a 30-second shot clock and no 10-second violation. I think both men and women should have a 35-second shot clock and a 10-second violation. This would help pick up the speed of the women’s game and the excitement level. A lot of times, women spend most of their shot clock in the back court and they struggle to get a shot off. A 10-second violation will help them play with more of a sense of urgency. However, the NCAA recently made the women’s three-point line the same as the men at 20 feet and nine inches, so that’s a plus. Furthermore, the WNBA now uses the same 24-second shot clock as NBA players. The difference in shot clocks at the college and professional levels are fine, because the goal is for players to be able to make adjustments as professionals. Most importantly, a shot clock is long overdue at the high school level. One of the most boring parts of the game is a team constantly holding and passing the ball around. At least a shot clock forces a team to shoot and creates more possessions in a game. What’s your take on this matter?

4 Comments on “Goals Higher than 10 Feet

  1. I would love to see a shot clock at the high school level. Also, an interesting comparison to look at would be the difference in court size, etc.. between the men’s and women’s game in other sports.

    • A shot clock at the high school should’ve been implemented years ago. I really don’t understand why it hasn’t been. I do notice that softball fields are smaller than baseball fields. Is there a difference in field size such as soccer and rugby?

    • First Brittany I think women should not take it as being unequal to men by lowering the goal. We play this game for the love of it and most definitely the money. Fans want to be entertained and I think the woman’s game displays that whole heartedly. But people couldn’t stand to watch the Santonio Spurs until last year because their style of play was so bland and fundamental. It’s nice to see someone crossover and either pull up or finish with a pass. I even love to see great ball movement with or without the ball in the half court. But nothing compares to you beating your person off the dribble and someone helps and the help the helper gets dunked on by the slasher that received the ball from the initial penetrator. Then you force a steal followed by a three. Crowd goes nuts. The two most popular teams in the NBA this year we’re Golden State and the LA Clippers because of their style of play. If owners can’t sell tickets they can’t pay major contracts. And if I’m a marketing company I want endorse a brand that’s gone pay off. AND THE END OF THE DAY FANS WANT EXCITEMENT after along days work at the office. Lowering the goal to 9 feet, changing the shot clock, changing the 10 second rule, and put in the defensive 3 seconds makes this game a billion dollar industry.

      • I agree with the defensive three seconds, change in shot clock and 10-second violation. These changes will help with the speed of the women’s game. I understand your point in lowering the goals. If it will result in more ticket sales, higher salaries, more endorsements and more marketing and advertising them I’m for that. At the end of the day, we want the women’s game to grow and be better. Great job comparing the Spurs, Clippers and Warriors. The Spurs aren’t exciting to watch – partly because they’re older and majority of the team is foreign and basketball isn’t above the rim overseas. Can’t deny that Spurs still find a way to win. But entertainment is crucial. We shall see what executives choose to do in the near future.

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