"You can’t teach scoring” is a saying that has been used both in the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association. It’s very difficult to turn a 20-goal scorer in hockey into a 40-goal scorer, or a 10-points-per-game basketball player into a 20-points-per game player. Defense, however, is easier to teach.
“You can’t teach scoring” was cited in print in 1981 in a hockey context, and “in the NBA you can’t teach scoring” was cited in 1989 in a basketball context.
25 October 1981, Boston (MA) Globe, “Pro Hockey” by Francis Rose, Sports, pg. 1:
General manager Lou Nanne of the Minnesota North Stars on scoring: “You can’t teach scoring.”
3 May 1983, Boston (MA) Herald, “Harry takes page from Red’s book,” pg. 58, col. 6:
“But Harry is right. You can’t teach scoring. Very seldom does a 20-goal scorer become a 50-goal scorer.”
(Boston Bruins player Jean Ratelle, speaking about general manager Harry Sinden—ed.)
Google News Archive
28 June 1989, Schenectady (NY) Gazette, “Celtics Hope Smith Becomes Another Bird” by Howard Ulman (AP Sportswriter), pg. 26, col. 3:
Forddy Anderson, the Celtics’ chief scout, said Smith “has the talent and motivation to work on (the defensive) part of the game. It’s important to remember that in the NBA you can’t teach scoring and he definitely possesses a great shot and great moves.”
(Basketball player Michael Smith of Brigham Young University—ed.)
12-14-2008, 05:31 AM
“We can teach defense, we can’t teach scoring”.
Says Carboneau in post game interview.
Really? Can’t teach scoring? Maybe that’s the problem.
The Hockey News
A Scout’s Life: Could Duchene topple Tavares?
And as the old hockey adage goes: You can teach defense, but you can’t teach scoring.
VanHockey.com (Vancouver, Canada)
Canucks taking closer look at Western Canada prospects
Posted on February 7, 2013 by Admin
WILD SPENDING: They say you can’t teach scoring. But in the NHL, you’re supposed to be able to purchase it. Maybe $196 million just doesn’t buy what it used to.
Kotoch: A Deeper Look at the NCAA’s Top Scorers
By Joe Kotoch
March 09, 2013 at 11:00 AM
There is an old saying that you can’t teach scoring. Ask any NBA general manager what they need more of, and the answer is almost always scoring.