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PostPosted: 10 Mar 2020, 15:02 

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Afternoon All. I am coaching youth basketball and use this site quite frequently. I put allot of emphasis on passing the ball and taking good shots. I have one set of kids which are 8-11 in age that have no problem cutting, moving, and trying to get open. The problem I currently have is that they all start shouting the name of the player that has the ball to pass to them. The ball carrier then gets stressed out and confused sometimes because several teammates are calling their name out. Some of the players are sometimes not even open for a pass and are asking for the ball. So, what's the best way to help players understand when they are open for a pass? Should they call out for the ball when they are open? Is just having their hand up sufficient (non-verbal communications)? Do I just emphasize optimal distance for a pass (one pass away)? I think the shouting of the name happens more with the younger players. Any suggestions or ideas? Thanks.


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PostPosted: 11 Mar 2020, 06:01 
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This is normal with boys. With girls, that was never a problem for me.

I'm sure there are many ways to solve this. Here's how I solved it, there are likely other and maybe better ways.

First, I had a simple motion offense where we emphasized spacing, cutting, screening, and universal offensive concepts. It was very simple.

Next, when it became an issue where all the boys on the court would call for the ball during practice... whether they were open or not, I would blow the whistle and yell freeze. Then teach.... I might say... "Is there a reason everyone is calling for the ball?" or ask the player with the ball... "can you tell who is calling out your name?" or.... "Johnny, are you open right now? Then why are you calling for the ball? What are the rules of our motion?"

So basically, every time it got out of hand or became unproductive communication, I would stop and freeze them. In time, the problem went away.

Regarding your other questions... I think you teach this type of communication when they are older. At times it is helpful for a player to call for the ball... but for now I'd move on to other types of communication and other concepts they are more likely to grasp. Then this can be addressed again in a few years. For now, the ballhandler decides who is open (I usually encourage the easy pass... often times the guy wide open next to you or in the lane).

BTW, here's a drill to help players read the defense when one pass from the ball and determine if they are open or not:
https://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/play.asp?id=437

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Jeff Haefner
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