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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2013, 11:00 

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Is it normal for coaches to just let the kids play a game without defining roles? Kid played in several games this weekend. I asked him if the coaches told them that Jimmy should play point guard. Response, "no, he just took the ball." The problem is Jimmy is a dribbler -- like a spider money on crack. He dribbles, dribbles, and dribbles until one of three things happens (in order of frequency): 1) dribbles off his body for a turnover, 2) a wild shot, for a turnover or 3) a bad pass for a turnover.

We have another kid (not mine) who can bring the ball up, under control and find the open pass. So why would a coach continue to allow Jimmy to bring the ball up?

Shouldn't a coach let the kids know who he wants to be the primary ball handlers? Who he has in there for defensive purposes -- i.e.; to guard their quickest player? Who is the outside shooter? Etc.


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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2013, 11:47 

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Depends upon the age of players, league (rec or competitive w/ tryouts) and the coaches philosophy. Now that I'm dealing with freshman/JV players, I can't tell you how many 6' 0" - 6'3" players I see that wished they'd been allowed to handle the ball more. I'm sure they were one of those kids that got stuck as the center because of their height in 4th/5th grade.

Two schools of thought from my point of view. If we're dealing with 7th/8th grade competitive basketball with tryouts, then I'd expect to see more kids in defined positions. If it's more of a development league, I'd expect to see kids moving around in different positions, regardless of the outcome. I'm more in the second camp, although it was painful, we wanted 5 point guard caliber players on the floor at all times. So, in a sense, we forced all our kids to be multifaceted on the court. It paid off when they all made the hs team.

In the situation you described, it isn't that Jimmy shouldn't be allowed to dribble, it's that the coach should be correcting Jimmy when he dribbles too much. The coach should have rules regarding why you dribble, how much, and have some basic guidelines, imo. Jimmy should also be corrected if the coach is telling him to quit shooting so many 3's, etc. So, I think it's more of a coaching issue than a position issue.

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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2013, 12:43 
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I agree - if these are young kids, they need to learn all the skills, even at the 7 & 8th grade levels. The center of today might be the point guard of tomorrow. Its up to the coach to teach everyone all the skills... some will be better at them than others.... just part of the game, especially at the early ages. The more kids that can handle the ball the better off the team will be.

By the time they reach the 6-8th grade levels and certainly when they reach high school, the positions will be more defined You see a lot of teams running Princeton type offenses today.... 5 out open post. Everyone needs to know how to handle the ball, read defenses, pass ( the right one ) and catch the ball.

Like Rob said, its up to the coach to teach these skills. IF your practices are planned well, the kids will know what their role is. They knew who the best shooters were, the best free throw shooters, ball handlers by what we did in practice. I learned something early in my varsity coaching career, don't allow anyone to do something in practice that you don't want them to do in games.

I didn't have to tell certain kids that they shouldn't shoot the 3 ball.... they knew... our rule was simple, don't do things in games that you don't work on in practice.... unless the ball is in your hands and time is running out on the clock, then there is no rule. Get a shot.

As for youth ball.... its different, teach them the fundamentals and then let them have fun.


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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2013, 13:30 
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When i coach youth players (2nd - 6th grade), everyone gets to play point guard, wing, and post. They all learn all positions. Who knows where they will end up when they get to high school and playing multiple positions really helps with their long term development.

In addition, I could consider doing the same with 7th-9th graders, especially if they were beginners. However in a competitive league at that age it can be tough. So we just work in PG skills during practice.

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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2013, 14:49 

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Coach Rob wrote:
In the situation you described, it isn't that Jimmy shouldn't be allowed to dribble, it's that the coach should be correcting Jimmy when he dribbles too much. The coach should have rules regarding why you dribble, how much, and have some basic guidelines, imo. Jimmy should also be corrected if the coach is telling him to quit shooting so many 3's, etc. So, I think it's more of a coaching issue than a position issue.


I'll agree with that. So is there not a point at which the coach should say, "hey Billy you switch with Jimmy and bring the ball up." I guess that is where my frustration lies. If it is not working, make a change. We have other players who can bring the ball up. We lost a few close games because of a coaching failure to make the necessary in game adjustments.

And why do coaches constantly keep their best 3 point shooter on the bench, down by 9 with a min or so to go?


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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2013, 16:33 

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golfman25 wrote:
I'll agree with that. So is there not a point at which the coach should say, "hey Billy you switch with Jimmy and bring the ball up." I guess that is where my frustration lies. If it is not working, make a change. We have other players who can bring the ball up. We lost a few close games because of a coaching failure to make the necessary in game adjustments. And why do coaches constantly keep their best 3 point shooter on the bench, down by 9 with a min or so to go?
I can imagine as a parent this is very frustrating. Without knowing how much experience this coach has or your league parameters, it's hard to second guess why those decisions are being made. Could be some outside influences going on that you're not aware of, who knows?

This past summer, I had to watch my son play on the freshman summer team (instead of coaching for the first time in 10 yrs). As a coach, I can tell you that was extremely difficult. It took a few games for me to just relax and let the coach make his decisions, right or wrong. We lost a few games that we shouldn't have, but in the end, everyone survived and my blood pressure came back down.

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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2013, 16:56 
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golfman25 wrote:
I'll agree with that. So is there not a point at which the coach should say, "hey Billy you switch with Jimmy and bring the ball up." I guess that is where my frustration lies. If it is not working, make a change. We have other players who can bring the ball up. We lost a few close games because of a coaching failure to make the necessary in game adjustments.

And why do coaches constantly keep their best 3 point shooter on the bench, down by 9 with a min or so to go?


Like Rob said, we don't know the rules that he is coaching under..... or, it could just plain be political.... get used to that at the younger ages.... heck, you will see that at the high school level some times. I like to think that as HS coaches we have a little more experience when it comes to making changes. We dont know what's going through his head.

As for your last comment, "why do coaches"... ar you referring to this coach or ALL COACHES? I can tell you that I benched several of my BEST PLAYERS from time to time. There is more to this game than the W! Trust me, (high school coaches now) we want to win as bad as the next guy.... but there are times when you have to teach kids respect for the game, the team and the school... if it means sitting someone... or a couple... so be it. As for Youth coaches, I am not privy to the rules he has to coach under.


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PostPosted: 11 Dec 2013, 22:01 

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No specific rules here. It is an open competitive league. May the best team win -- no restrictions.

As for keeping the 3 point shooter on the bench -- no discipline or effort issues. I have just seen it a few too many times this year. The particular kid is a sharp shooter. We need a quick 3 to get us back in the game, and yet he sits, and sits, and sits as time goes by. I just don't get it.


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PostPosted: 12 Dec 2013, 10:50 
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It's hard to tell what is in his mind or why he is making those decisions. ( 3 point shooter ) I don't want to judge him either... I am not there - I don't know his side of the story.... but when you wear the HEAD COACH hat... you get to make those decisions.

Just maybe this kid cant play D a lick and gives up more points than he gets??


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PostPosted: 12 Dec 2013, 14:26 

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golfman25 wrote:
As for keeping the 3 point shooter on the bench -- no discipline or effort issues. I have just seen it a few too many times this year. The particular kid is a sharp shooter. We need a quick 3 to get us back in the game, and yet he sits, and sits, and sits as time goes by. I just don't get it.
I'm sure parents have second guessed quite a few of my decisions over the years. I've pulled kids or made them sit for reasons that parents will never know. Looking from the outside, I imagine it would appear as if I didn't know what I was doing.

Players sit for all kinds of reasons. Could be they haven't been paying attention, have an attitude with the coach, can't play good D (like Sar mentioned), or any other myriad of reasons. Could be the coach told the players you will sit if you ________ .

Getting the right chess pieces on the floor at the right time can be tricky. You only have a matter of seconds in some cases to make decisions. Sometimes you trade "sins" on the floor; I put in a good shooter, but give up points because he can't play tough defense. I put in a good ball handler, but give up a height advantage and rebounds.

In the end, I guess that's why the head coaches make the big bucks.

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