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PostPosted: 23 Jun 2010, 05:30 
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Posts: 44
I'm working with 4th and 5th graders. One of the things I struggled with last year was getting the kids to find a man. In practice it was easy because all the players knew the offense. They knew where all the offensive players were going before they even got there.

In the games it wasn't as easy. I saw my kids going to a spot on the floor to wait for their man, but their man wasn't there. He was under the basket waiting for the pass to get an open lay-up.

We tried different things and I think some of it may have been counter productive. We tried telling them who their man was, but in transition they would leave an offensive player open under the basket because they were trying to find "their man." We tried telling them to go to a spot and pick up the guy in that area, but sometimes the guy wouldn't be there or the kids would go to the wrong spot. Again, wide open layup.

Why didn't I just come here? You guys have been doing this for years. How do you teach these young kids to pick em up? What happens if the other team makes substitutions and one of your players doesn't know who to guard? There has to be a simple way to address this right? We also faced 3 teams that relied on the fast break for most of their offense. We didn't get back fast enough to stop them. So when I'm teaching M2M, how do I address that? I'm thinking there must be two or three rules to follow to make it simple. Please share and thank you for your help.

PostPosted: 23 Jun 2010, 06:05 
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Posts: 191
Location: New Britain, CT.
Unfortunately, a big part of coaching 4th and 5th graders is the 3 R's of basketball, reinforce, repetition and remind.
Kids just have a short attention span and especially during a game there is so much going on in their heads that they will miss/forget their defensive assignment.

So during a game, one of your many jobs is to call out, "Who do you have?" or "What number do you have?" during a dead ball or during time-out. They should all yell out a number. They need to know who they are covering by a jersey number not by pointing a finger or looking for a familiar face. As a coach, you should assign the matchups at this age, guards covering guards, bigs covering bigs.

By constantly asking and reminding, your kids will soon become conditioned to always know who they have. Also, after the other team gets a rebound, have your players sprint back past half court, turn around and THEN look for the
player that they are guarding. This allows them to get back on D, see the entire floor and find their man. So basically..your team is picking up M2M at half court.

In practice, run a basic shell drill as Coach Sar and I explained in a previous post. Stress see man, see ball.
And tell the kids, that "We NEVER give up an easy wide open layout to the other team." NEVER!! Tell them, "This means that YOU can leave your man to prevent a layup". M2M is a team defense. Players help each other.

During substitutions. Tell your players to communicate to each other who they have. This is the responsibility of the incoming player to ask and the outgoing player to tell. You'll
have to yell out during this time to remind them to tell each other. When the other team subs...again....remind them, "Who has new player?"

Be patient. Keep it positive. The kids will get it.
You're doing a good job coaching!!

Good Luck


Coach A

PostPosted: 23 Jun 2010, 06:08 
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Posts: 3139
Couldn't have said it better Coach A - great answer.

IF you are having troubles in transition, you need to find a good transition drill to help you teach this skill.

There are a couple of this site... look at the left side under basketball drills > coaches > transition drills. Let me know if this helps.

PostPosted: 11 Dec 2011, 23:49 

Posts: 14
One thing I did with our 7/8 year old girls was I made opposing team members using a peice of pipe and a plate for a face and a plate for a jersey number. I made them different heights. I made 3 of them. I had the girls first line up and face away from the dummy players. I placed a plate on the floor in front of them, that had numbers on them, at my go they turned over the plate and first thing they had to do was yell out loudly "I have number ??" if they all did that to my satisfaction I then said go and they were to find their man and get into defensive position in front of their man. After doing this a few times, I then explained to them that matching up meant that one of the things they were to look for is size, a girl similar size would be a good match up. So instead of having the plates I made them start at baseline, look at the dummy players and call out as they ran to their man who they had... I have number ??. If they did it well they got back in line....if not they repeated. After they did that well, I just sent out three girls to replace the dummies, they then got a few seconds to figure out who their man was on go they had to call out who they had making their own decisions, if they didn't make the right decisions then we helped them figure out the right ones. It seemed to really help them understand how to match up. I know this is simple and may be to simple for kids older then say 2nd grade but it did help us.

PostPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 15:16 

Posts: 214
I think the "point your pistols" method is an important one in this case. In the past, when I've seen a player in defensive la-la land I would yell out to them to find who they are guarding and then tell them to point their pistols. This always seemed to reinforce to them that they needed to know where there person was and still helped remind them to know where the ball was.

Something I did last season with 8-9 year old boys and now with 8-12 year old girls this season is to make sure our defense sprints back inside the 3 point line and then finds their person. To take it a step further, the only defender allowed outside the 3 point line in a halfcourt setting is the person that is guarding the ball. Everybody else is to stay inside the 3 point line and point their pistols, to guard their person. Too often I've seen kids chasing their person all around the court and eventually the offensive player is wide open from the constant zig-zagging.

Now we play solid G2G defense (girl to girl! LOL), with our backs to the basket and between our person and the basket. Saturday, a girl on the opposing team caught a pass on the left wing. Our defender stepped out on her and the offensive girl just put her head down and began dribbling around the 3 point line all the way to the right side and tried to get down to the block for a layup. Our defender slid with her for a few dribbles, then must have realized what the intended goal of this girl was and she took off on a run through the other players and ended up cutting the girl off a few steps outside the block. We eventually forced a bad pass and turnover.

The key is to understand that they are protecting the basket at all costs and to never get turned around chasing their person. Stay level and point those pistols.

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