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PostPosted: 06 Jan 2013, 22:44 

Posts: 13
Hi, my son is 11 and plays for an elite team, 6th grade. He has been playing bb for 4 years now, this his second year in elite. He's not half bad, when he feels like playing that is...He's like I like to say, your favorite football team at times, which one will show up?

It seems to be a confidence issue. At the local YMCA he goes up against kids 15-17 years old and my husband says he 'stuffs' them, what ever that means. But he goes into practice and he is a mild and meek guy and lets the other guys get all the play time. The team has 11 players, so one is alway on the side line and husband says that he sees our son there quite a bit. Some of the other team mates make him feel inferior because he is very quiet and has a social impairment, Asperger's, on the autism spectrum. He is very smart and not mentaly challenged. not sure if the coach should be aware of this matter,husband DOES NOT want him to know. anyone have experience with this type of player?

He is big for his age, 5'8", and is not a good runner at all, very flat footed. His team mates run circle around him and I try to give excuses, but even son has told me Mom, I can run if I want to. So, there it is, when he wants to.....He says he loves the game and wants to get in the game more. I really do'nt know what to tell him anymore.

We keep telling him he has to step up his practices, so far this season, he has a nice seat next to the coaches on the bench. He gets a few minutes play time at most. Last year he did pretty well, was the most improved player., Went nuts rebounding.

The coach seems to be playing his five best for most of the games and refreshes them through the game. My son, if he is lucky, gets the last couple minutes of the game, if they are up, which is a catch 22 with him. Doesn't play because he doesn't try, doesn't try because he doesn't play. I try not to look over at the bench, because when I do, I see him staring at me with eyes begging to help get him in the game. My heart sinks. This kid has over come sooo much with his disability and keeps trying. I've told him over and over, he's got to step things up, practice harder, look excited, get pumped. But, he just does enough to get by and sits and sits.

My husdband is furious at the coach, but, I don't think it is just the coach, it's our son as well. Do I have my son speak to the coach to find out what he can do to make himself better, in order to get in the game? I am afraid the coach is going to come down on him and really turn him off.

Son is going to be doing AAU in the spring, a team that is very high in fundamentals, which should help for next season, but how to selvage this season?

Any suggestions?


PostPosted: 07 Jan 2013, 09:57 
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Posts: 3139
As a parent, this HAS to be difficult to watch... he is a big kid for an 11 year old......5'8 and just his size should get him some playing time - a rebounding monster so to speak. I'm shaking my head trying to figure out why he doesn't play more.

I was a Special Ed. teacher at a major high school and Varsity basketball coach.... while we had some Spec ed. kids in the program, I don't remember having one with this disability. The KEY seems to be, HIM wanting to play and DO what is necessary to get more time. Him doing just enough to get by, will get him just that.... getting by and a seat on the bench. HE will have to WANT to play.... and DO whatever it takes to get on the floor.

As the head coach, I WOULD want to know what type of problems my kids had so I would know how to deal with them.... each kid is different. I don't want to lay this on the coaches because I am not there seeing the entire picture. I think that YOU and your husband should have an "off to the side conversation" with the coach and let him know the entire story..... and ask him why his side of the story is... NOT challenging his decsions... just try to find out his thoughts..... and maybe then your son can go talk to him.... ( don't let him know that you talked to the coach ) and find out what he needs to do to play more.

Being angry at the coach will not help you, your husband or your son - after all, the coaches don't know what is going on and probably cant understand why your son is not more of a dominant player at 5'8".

I hope this helps a little bit, I hope you talk to the coach and I hope your son does as well....I WOULD TELL YOUR SON THAT EVERY REBOUND SHOULD BE HIS .... and that he needs to run the floor a little better... and he should have some FUN playin. I wouldn't put too much pressure on him, after all, he is only 11... this should be all about FUN, Elite team or not.

Good luck.

PostPosted: 07 Jan 2013, 10:04 
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Posts: 1165
He's young. Plenty of time. Be patient. It sounds like he might be scared to fail and goes into his shell. This is very common. As a parent all you can do is be supportive and give him opportunities to learn skills and confidence from good coaches. But don't get carried away. 11 is way young. Steve Nash didn't start playing basketball until he was 13. Now he is the most skilled point guard in the NBA and has won multiple MVPs. So don't be in too much of a hurry and don't make it a "job".

My best advice is to have him play multiple sports seasonally and try to make things fun so he fosters a love for sports. His body needs to catch up with his size and he needs time and experience to develop. Sports like soccer, swimming, gymnastics, flag football, and martial arts will help him develop athleticism. Rotate the sports seasonally. That's what he needs know. Skills will help. But without athleticism and ability to move, it won't matter.

Also consider another developmental team. You have to start somewhere. Maybe he isn't ready for this team yet. A lot can change as kids mature and learn how to use their bodies at different ages.

Here are a few other articles that might be helpful:

Jeff Haefner

PostPosted: 07 Jan 2013, 10:17 

Posts: 13
Thanks for your reply coach Star. We are shaking our heads as well, as to why he is not a monster on the boards.

One 'reason' I can think of, is that they have a new team member that moved to our community this fall, was told to leave the other sports communtiy because of attifude. Same size as ours, looks like they could be twins or cousins. But, this guy, is GOOOOD, AAU for the past three years, attitude is questionable, but he is good. I feel he got into my son's head. One of the problems that my son has, is if he doesn't get things right the first time, he rather sits back, whether it is math, football, basketball, yahtze or what ever. I feel that the presence of this other guy has him on his heels. This other guy plays for 35 out of the 40 minutes each game. No other player will have those minutes other than him.

Last year, my son was comfortable, without the other big guy and played 8-10 minutes a game, he was new to the elite and getting used to it. Coach said he was most improved and if he kept going at this rate, hw will be a monster and his starting center next (this)season. Now, here it is. No monster, confidence squashed, and no minutes.

I will speak with my husband, once again. I really want to have a conference with the coach, I do not see how it can hurt things any more. And I also know, ultimately, it will be up to my son, how far he wants to go with BB. He loves it for now. We are just trying to selvage this season until we can get him to AAU.

PostPosted: 07 Jan 2013, 10:33 
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Posts: 3139
Sar yes - "STAR" - NO WAY HAHA

I hope this works out for you..... but I like Jeff's suggestions too.... get him into some other sports.... play him at a level where he can experience some success..

I really think that a sit down with the coach wouldn't hurt.... and you might talk to your son about outplaying the new kid in town... JUST FOR FUN. Your son is young, he has along way to go and everybody matures at a different time.... mentally and physically. One of these days he might surpirise you.

Good luck

PostPosted: 08 Jan 2013, 17:00 

Posts: 894
I agree with Jeff and Coach Sar, your son is plenty young. Lots of room for growth mentally and physically. Over the years, I've watched hotshot 5th graders fade away and average 5th grade players turn into studs a few years later. You never know, so I treat everyone on my team like they could be the next Michael Jordan.

As far as salvaging the season, you sound hesitant to have your son go talk with the coach. Honestly, most coaches I know respect players that come talk with them one on one. Anytime a player asks me, "What can I do to improve my game?", I love it. Unless you think this coach is only going to lay on the negative stuff without throwing in some positives, then I'd encourage him to talk with the coach.

Another option is getting a few private lessons. My son's confidence was pretty low a few years ago, so asked around and found a coach who came highly recommended and invested in some lessons. Best decision we ever made. Not only did my son's technical skills dramatically improve, but his confidence went through the roof. Parents would comment after games how he'd improved, this would fuel the fire for him to take more lessons and give me ammo to beat the "practice, practice, and more practice" drum. It turned into a snowball effect as the private coach could tell he'd been practicing, parents/players would comment, more lessons, more practice and so on.


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