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PostPosted: 15 May 2013, 20:23 

Posts: 2
Hello everyone.
Hoping someone has some suggestions for a new basketball dad. My daughter is a 1st year player in the 3rd grade. She played on her school team earlier this year and did fairly well, so after the season ended, she tried out for a "select" 3rd/4th grade team and made it. Our hope was that this league would really help to develop her knowledge and skill of the game, but we are not seeing much progress in some areas. As I watch her in the games, she is very hesitant throughout the game-not quite knowing what to do, where to go, etc. She lacks what I would call "court sense"-the purpose or logic of what to do at any time and anticipating what she should be doing to create opportunities on both offense and defense (where to stand, where to run, when to pass, when to drive and shoot, etc.). Her individual skills are progressing-ball handling, shooting, etc., but these all seem to be overshadowed by a lack of confidence or intensity that seems to be rooted in confusion. Can anyone else relate to this and/or have some advice they can offer that can help develop this area of my daughters game? Also, I am curious in terms of practice frequency. Our team only practices once/week for 90 minutes. I am curious to know what the typical frequency and duration of practices at this level are or should be. Appreciate any thoughts and suggestions.
Thanks, Rob


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PostPosted: 16 May 2013, 06:46 
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Rob -

Your daughter is in 3rd grade, a very young kid. Let her enjoy this... its a game. You say that she is learning all the necessary skills.... so she is on the right path. You learn how to play the game / court sense by playing. Encourage her to have FUN, because at this age, thats what its all about... FUN!

I'm not sure about how much practice time they should have at this age... but 90 minutes a week seems a little low. Go outside and play with her, you can have her work on some of her skills while you are playing... and don't make it too difficult for her..... success breeds success.

Try arranging a "Play" date with a few of her friends... so they can just play a little ball... shooting contests etc. Not too organized, it should be about them having FUN and growing a love for the game. JMO

You might want to buy this video by Bob Bigelow.... great for coaching young kids.

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/store/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=31&cat=Coaching+Youth+Basketball


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PostPosted: 16 May 2013, 08:00 
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I agree with Coach Sar.

3rd grade is really young. As a parent of an 8 year old, I completely understand that it's easy to worry about getting left behind, etc. And your concerns are the same as many other parents I talk with. But don't worry about "court sense" right now.

The most important things are to have fun, practice some skills, learn to love the game, develop confidence, learn to not worry about mistakes or fear failure, hustle, and TRY YOUR BEST.

My daughter will be going into 3rd grade this year and doesn't even know what a free throw line is, yet alone have court sense. However I do put her in lots of seasonal and age appropriate sports so she can develop fundamental movement skills, balance, coordination, and athleticism. So if one day she decides to get more serious about basketball, she'll have the foundation she needs to succeed. I also try to encourage hustle, trying your best, having fun, and not worrying about making mistakes. Just try your best. When I see hustle, even if it's only 3 seconds of a 40 minute game, I point out the hustle and give her positive reinforcement for that 3 seconds of hustle.

Steve Nash didn't start playing basketball until the age of 13, so they have plenty of time.

As someone that coaches high school, trains players, and studies basketball for a living I probably have a unique perspective. But I think most kids specialize way to early. I have never seen a 3rd grade that can shoot with "proper" shooting form at a 10 ft basket. So 3rd grade is definitely way early and we only use lower baskets, small basketball, and the only "games" we play are 3on3. With 5on5 you have to share the ball with 9 other players and don't get many touches. 3on3 is much better for development.

Hope this helps.

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PostPosted: 16 May 2013, 21:14 

Posts: 2
Coach Sar and Coach Jeff,
Thanks for your advice and wisdom on this topic. I will try your suggestions around trying to get some more casual basketball time with my daughter to work on some of the fundamentals while keeping it fun. I will also check out the video series that you recommended.

BTW. This website and forum are a tremendous resource for coaches, players, and parents. Thanks for your efforts in putting it together, maintaining it, and providing input to Dad's such as myself.

Thanks,
Rob


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PostPosted: 20 May 2013, 17:15 

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Late to the party here but thought I'd throw in my two pennies worth. Already been said, but 3rd grade is pretty young, plus, this is your daughter's first year playing. The whole "court sense" thing comes with experience (playing time) and coaching, don't sweat that part right now. Most of the other 3rd graders are trying to figure that out also.

I'm a huge fan of 3 v 3, so if you have a league that offers that, sign up. It's the best way I know to help develop that "court sense" you're talking about and it also gives everyone a chance to dribble, shoot, rebound, pass, etc.

If your daughter ends up having fun and wanting to play each week, you win. Avoid the temptation to make those daughter/dad bball times about improving her basketball and more about fun. Sneak in the fundamentals and keep it fun. Have contests between you guys: Who can dribble the longest with their weak hand? Who can dribble with two balls? Who can look up and count the fingers on the other person's hand while dribbling?

Last suggestion, enjoy watching her play and tell her that you enjoyed watching her after practices and games. It will be tempting to say something like, "You did a great job, just one thing you could do better...". I've found the teaching moments are better received a few days later during those one on one times.

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PostPosted: 21 May 2013, 07:38 
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Rob, great ideas. Your post inspired me to write up a quick article giving parents idea on how to sneak in some fundamentals and have fun with their kids. Working on that now. Thanks!

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Jeff Haefner
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PostPosted: 21 May 2013, 10:33 

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Jeff -

Look forward to reading it when you're finished. It's funny, even with my 8th grade son I still use that technique. He'll want to shoot around and play H-O-R-S-E, so I make the rules swish only. Game lasts longer, more shots, and it definitely helps his touch. Plus, I have a better chance of winning. After some swish games, he talks me into a few "off the garage roof, hit the neighbors dog, catch the ball mid-air and do a 360" games. Guess who wins those?

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