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PostPosted: 19 Oct 2016, 09:45 

Posts: 3
First off, thanks for your site and your products. I lean on you guys heavily.

I coach a year-round boys' team, and my boys are currently about evenly divided between 4th-5th grade. I think we do things the right way, stressing fundamentals in all aspects of the game. My constant message to both the kids and their parents is that, no matter at what level the boys end up, they're going to have learned HOW to play the game.

Lately I've been struggling because I think in some sense I've maybe taken the boys as far as I can by myself. When they go out and execute the things I stress, we're pretty much unbeatable. And then other times we'll have entire halves of games when it's like I don't even recognize the kids. "On the line" becomes three feet off the line and we get burned not only on the pass but also on the cut. Our excellent ball movement suddenly devolves into people standing around or just trying to dribble through everything.

Yesterday in a tournament game we got outhustled for a half so badly that we just couldn't come back despite winning the second half.

I just don't know what else to do anymore because I know that to push too hard will burn the kids out and make them quit the game, but I also can't stand to sit back and allow them to be mediocre. We have reached a crossroads of either being a truly excellent team or one that drops games we should win.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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PostPosted: 19 Oct 2016, 16:52 

Posts: 899
A few funky games doesn't define a team, so I wouldn't put too much stock into that. Heck, even at the high school level players seem to forget something you've practiced over and over again.

At the 4th/5th grade levels, I'm more of a proponent of having them play other sports along with basketball. I think it reduces the potential for burnout and being exposed to other sports adds something to a player's basketball game.

I understand the pressure of club ball and the youth basketball scene. It can feel like if you're not playing year round and entering every tournament, you'll miss out.

Do you have a coaching philosophy? If you don't have a few things written down somewhere on why you're coaching, I'd take a few minutes to do that. It helped me tremendously to look back at my philosophy when things weren't going so swell. To remind me of why I'm coaching these kids in the first place.

Check your coaching philosophy. As competitive coaches, we all want to teach sound fundamentals, see our players improve and win more games than we lose. However, I've found that when my philosophy has things like teaching sportsmanship and life lessons in it, I keep on track when times get a bit rough.

Maybe have a team meeting with the kids and another with the parents. Nothing fancy. Just ask some prepared questions and listen.

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PostPosted: 20 Oct 2016, 05:58 
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Agree with Rob.

I also think it's important to get to know your players. Not only so you have a gauge on what is right for them but that also helps motivate. One of the best ways to motivate is to show you care outside of basketball and get to know them.

When I coached both girls and boys at that age, I demanded effort. We played for 3-4 months and then kids played in other sports. But during those 3-4 months, we really emphasized effort. I would tell them I don't care if you shoot 20 air balls in a row. Does not bother me one bit. I know you are trying to make the shot. The effort is there and mistakes are ok... we all make them. But if you don't:
- sprint down court in transition
- stay in your defense stance
- move your feet to contain the ball
- hustle after rebounds
- sprint to help side on flight of ball

Then that is simply lack of effort. You need to always give your best effort. If the effort is not there, you sit next to me on the bench during the game, I call you out, and so on.

We had tons of fun and I don't feel like we drove anyone away. We weren't mean or yelling and screaming. Just consistent in emphasis and consequences. If you want to be on the team, the effort and hustle must be there. This was not negotiable.

Now you have to judge what is realistic to demand. I did not demand perfect effort for everything because sometimes kids just didn't know they are supposed to jump to deny the ball on the pass and so on.

Here are some more motivation ideas:
https://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/mental/motivate-players.html

I can also send you questionnaires and other ideas if you want to get to know players better and work on teambuilding.

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http://www.BreakthroughBasketball.com


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PostPosted: 20 Oct 2016, 12:11 

Posts: 899
Curious how many games you're playing on average per week during your peak season (winter)?

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