Post Rules For Youth Motion Offense?

By Don Kelbick


Your site is great and I’ve learned a lot from the motion ebook. Thanks.

I coach 5th grade boys and we’re 0-5. We started using the motion after the first game. The offense is still a mess, but we occasionally get a give and go for a layup that looks kinda like basketball. So while I’m extremely frustrated, I have to admit that we’re improving and the boys haven’t quit.

My only rule now is to basket cut after a pass if the point can’t pass to the wing. However, he just starts dribbling and turns it over. If the point does make the pass and the wing can’t pass it back to the point, he just starts dribbling and he turns it over. The result is usually a fast break for the other guys.

I’m looking for another rule and would specifically like to get the post guys involved in the offense. The rules I’ve seen all seem to be geared to the guards. Any rules for the post guys?

Also, do you have any thoughts on a set? We start in a 1-2-2 now, but that leaves a lot of real estate for the guards to cover against pressure and also seems to clog the lane if the give and go does work. I’m thinking of moving to a 1-3-1 and having the low post move to the weak side after a pass.


The answers to your problems are child development issues not basketball issues. I would recommend that you find a couple more rules, such as what do you do if you can’t pass to the cutter and what do you do if you are the next receiver and can’t get the ball, but I think you may be missing the big picture.

You say to yourself, “some plays look like basketball,” and “the team is improving,” and the “kids are still playing hard,” and that is a result of coaching. You getting frustrated is the result of the score. I wonder how much of what the other teams do “Look like basketball,” or is it just kids on the other teams being able to do a couple of things individually. To stop that, work on defense and the game will even out. Also, in 5th grade, they shouldn’t post players, all the players should just be learning how to play.

The reason that the kids dribble and get it stolen is more a development issue than anything else. How good of a ballhandler can a 5th grader be? It has more to do with the way they perceive the world. Spacing, timing, speed, etc. are all things in life they need more experience at. There is a reason why young kids shouldn’t cross the street by themselves, because they don’t have enough life experience to determine how far away a car is, what speed it is traveling and how long it will take to get there. It is worse on a basketball court because it is all new experience and there is nothing in real life they can draw on.

If the kid is going to dribble, at least tell him where to go and forget about the offense. If you are going to put the ball on the floor, take a lay-up.


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  1. BUD — November 1, 2009 @ 5:19 pm


  2. gerard — May 31, 2012 @ 11:24 am

    Hello, i work allready a few years with motion in a 4 out-1 in, its work verry well, i work with a lot of spacing and filling te spots after cuting or sceening.With my post i leave him in the paint for help inside for screening and with te fourt pass i let him go to ballside for pick and roll or postplay

  3. the MAXX — June 1, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

    I would consider going 5-out to start with to keep the middle free. Basket cut on every pass and fill the open spot. Once they get that, then you can move to a 4-out with a guy at the high post. If you do want to stay in a 1-2-2, then maybe consider a screen-away wing motion with a separate screen-away post motion. Good luck!

  4. Shawn Brown — January 10, 2013 @ 11:52 am

    I’m into my 4th year of coaching and 2nd with Grade 5/6 boys. I haven’t set up a lot of set plays for the kids or from the post. However, I have incorporated a few screens from the post position so that this allows the guards to drive to the basket and also pass to the forwards if necessary. One of my reasoning into not doing to many plays is that it doesn’t allow the kids to be creative. I watched one of the teams in our division use screens for every play and only a couple of kids were able to actually touch the ball; and they lost. For me that is not development of a player. If you can get the basketball into your players hands as much as possible this will make them a better player.

  5. Ted — January 15, 2014 @ 12:53 pm

    I have coached my now 5th grade boys now for 3 years, most of them have played 2 years now. We have taken our “lumps” in games for the past 2 seasons especially, but focusing more on defense for the past month, moving feet, closing out, and boxing out, are really paying dividends. I have seen more improvement individually when they each focus more on what they are doing and it shows team-wise on the floor.

    At this age, individuals that are more athletic will dominate games on each end of the floor. That is just the way it is. But, help defense, moving without the ball on offense, everyone can, and should be, involved in the games. We have a number of different motion sets we use, but the best is 5 out, nobody posted up. Our last game against a team we couldn’t win against for the past 2 seasons, we ran this play non-stop because we ran it correctly and they could not stop us. Someone may have a differing opinion on posting up, but I feel when they are a little older, they can learn how to properly post up better than at a young age. Moving without the ball is something that kids need to learn early on, that is why motion offenses are so great to use.

    Good luck!

  6. Dave B — July 28, 2014 @ 4:17 pm

    Just from my perspective I like to use a basic dribble rule that helps them think attack. Only dribble for three reasons: score, set up a pass, spacing. Then when we do scrimmages whenever we dribble I ask them which of the three they were doing. But that is my 5th overall rule.
    1. Always move on pass or dribble (helps with the spacing if they know they are supposed to move as soon as a player puts it down).
    2. 10-12 foot spacing
    3. All cuts are attack cuts (hard and looking for ball).
    4. All catches are aggressive, squaring up in triple threat immediately.
    5. We only dribble for three reasons.
    Those have helped me give some structure to teach from. Then you can add in Concepts (don’t use the same name as rules because these can vary by game/opponent). We added one for guards (either backdoor cut or sprint for a dribble hand-off when ball is dribbled at you to keep spacing) we don’t do guard on guard ball screens because we have seen that is a big turnover spot and normally high in the offense. We added another for the post when we see a full front (tells team to get above FT line to eliminate help there. We have two good post players and they get fronted a lot. Also our post guys don’t go out to the three except to ball screen and then they roll or pop to a spot that is back inside for them. But we do have times where the C pops out to a 5-out look if needed, then it is more an extended short corner.
    Just my thought process. Might be helpful. :)

  7. Garrett Murphy — January 23, 2015 @ 11:26 am

    My daughter plays on a 5ht/6th all-boy team in an all-boy league (yeah, she’s kinda vicious). After working with me and going through Don Kelbrick’s Post Moves camp, she’s developed an incredible skill set in the high-and-low post. I have her posting up both on the off-chance I can get my guards to pass the ball as well as she can get us offensive rebounds. I don’t have any requirements for anything like “every 4th pass needs to go into the post”, but then again, we’ve had a total of 8 practices so far with an entirely new team…it’s a struggle just to get them to pass the ball to each other, let alone pass strategically.

  8. Joe Haefner — January 25, 2015 @ 12:40 pm

    I agree, Garrett. At that level, there are more important things to probably spend your time on than having your kids pass the ball into the post on every 4th pass.

  9. Chris Corbett — April 12, 2015 @ 11:42 am

    With the very limited practice time you have available… I think it is a waste to spend time teaching offensive sets. They will have a new coach with a new offense next year and they will not have building blocks. Focus on teaching fundamentals like dribbling, fastbreak offense. man to man defense full court and communication. Those will all be building blocks for them.

  10. Jack — April 20, 2020 @ 12:16 pm

    I agree, Garrett. At that level, there are more important things to probably spend your time on than having your kids pass the ball into the post on every 4th pass.

  11. Jack — April 21, 2020 @ 1:41 am

    please, enter me! This is fantastic!

  12. Jack — May 18, 2020 @ 2:41 am

    great style of workin g

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