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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2016, 00:25 

Posts: 5
I went into the season with all sorts of grand plans and I thought I started off really well in September teaching footwork and ballhandling. This is the first "real" year for all of these kids with referees and real rules, so I had a lot of work to do to get things 'squared away'. Also the 7 yos are a year young really, so they're at a size and strength disadvantage in many cases. In addition to avoiding double dribbles and traveling, I started out right away teaching man-to-man defense, since earlier the refs had required it in games from the get-go. Turns out the referees in this leage have been much more lax than I'd expected. They're allowing an extra step most of the time and a double-dribble here and there. Even worse, they're not enforcing man-to-man defense, and therefore allowing the other teams to defend the ball. OK at a higher level, but with these little guys, if there are 3 guys defending them it's all over. A 3-yard hail-Mary pass is about what I can expect. So I didn't do my team any favors, at least not right now. What they need to really do is just run all out and be as aggressive as possible, and due to all of my footwork (Kelbick) drills, it seems like they're overthinking and not just acting. Probably I need to go to lots and lots of layup drills, half court and full-court integrating eventually (after Christmas) into 5-out motion concepts. Lots of man-to-man drills like 1v1 advancement, full court 2v2 and 3v3 and even 5v5 although I don't like that so much. But I think I have to play least some 5v5 because they're shell-shocked in the real games. Thoughts? -Peter


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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2016, 15:40 

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I think we're talking 1st/2nd graders here? Correct?

My first bit of advice is to relax a bit, give yourself some kudos for taking on this task and put things in perspective a bit so you don't get too wrapped around the axle. Seriously, that is a tough undertaking, especially with the inconsistency in enforcing the rules (which can be pretty common).

Regarding the refs, you could get with the AD and confirm the rules of the league regarding M2M defense. If the AD confirms, you can catch the refs before the game and ask if they're going to be making sure the kids aren't double-teaming. If you do it in a nice way, I think you'll be fine.

Regarding the calls, not much you can do there. If they stopped the game every single time there was a travel or double dribble, you'd never get through it. I get the point of wanting to make sure kids are learning the rules, but still a tough gig for the ref. You could ask the refs before the game how they're going to call that so you know. Again, if you're cool about it, they should be cool telling you how they decide which is usually at their discretion.

At that level, I focused on a lot of passing. So, in certain games we counted passes and if they hit the goal, they each got what is in the brown paper bags. Usually it was a few things from the dollar store. In 2nd grade, I had my kiddos passing 75-100 times in a game. It got kind of funky because they focused so much on passing, they wouldn't shoot or dribble. It sure paid off down the road though.

The difficulty is incorporating shots and dribbling into the offense without chaos ensuing. The tendency is for kids to automatically begin to dribble as soon as they get the ball. Then dribble with their head down and no real goal on where they're going. Shots get launched from all over the place.

One thing that helps is getting them to spread out on offense, you almost have to overemphasize this. The challenge here is not getting so far apart that you don't have the strength to pass to your teammate. This helps with getting rid of that double-teaming on defense and gives kids more space to dribble and move.

Jeff may have more insight on how to incorporate more skills in a game with this level.

Hope this helps a little bit.

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PostPosted: 15 Nov 2016, 04:03 

Posts: 5
Yeah, these are really little kids, although I'd say more like 1-3rd grade, depends on when they cut off the grades. Here they do it by calendar year, so these kids are all born in 2008-09. Anyways, I'm only worried about how they're feeling after getting blown out 4 games in a row. Kind of rough for kids this age, and although I'm teaching them good fundamentals, maybe some of the concepts are just too much and slowing them down. Basically they're thinking too much. Eventually they'll internalize the concepts, but I don't want them to get discouraged in the meantime. So I think I have to back off on the fundamentals a bit and let them just play more. Agreed?


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PostPosted: 15 Nov 2016, 04:07 

Posts: 5
I really like the paper bag idea, and I'll figure something out comparable. I'll tell them in practice today and see if I can get them reacting by this coming weekend when we have a couple games coming up. Passes on offense and steals on defense with a realistic goal would be great. Any sort of prize works wonders with this age group.


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PostPosted: 15 Nov 2016, 11:00 
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I'm not sure what you're practices are like but you definitely want to incorporate competition and "games" for a lack of a better word.

If you do all 1v0 type of stuff... yea kids are gonna struggle. There's a place for drills where you just have a ball in your hands and you work. But that should be complimented with small sided games and even regular games. The more you can eventually make drills "game like", the better.

1v1, 1v2, 2v1, 2v2, 2v3, 3v3, 4v4, 4v5 and so on.. You can play regular rules and use lots of different restrictions to emphasize different aspects.

I'd say the most common games we play are:
1v1 (lots of variations but usually 3/4 to full court)
3v3, 4v4, or 5v5 full court no dribble
3v3, 4v4, or 5v5 half court no dribble
3v3, 4v4, or 5v5 half court - lay ups only until 5 passes

Sounds like the biggest issue you mention is kids are just unsure in games. So play games in practice... small sided to get more touches... and can finish with 5v5 at end if you want. This will help with skill, decision making, and confidence.

Also keep things simple. Just emphasize spacing and movement. Nothing else these kids need to think about. Give them very simple objectives and let them play.

At young ages we do a lot of advancement drills where the either advance the ball with dribble or pass (no dribble). Get passed the line and you score points. Could be 1v1 or up to 5v5.

If you need any other help let us know.

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http://www.BreakthroughBasketball.com


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PostPosted: 15 Nov 2016, 13:07 

Posts: 899
Good practical info from Jeff.

Yep, these kids are young, so focusing on the scoreboard isn't a wise move. Distract them from that with things like the paper bag idea. We didn't do this every single game, but you can carry over from game to game. So if you want a total of 50 passes, they could get 25 one game and then 25 the next. It's a pretty big deal when they beat the goal. They'll be stoked, so make the goal reasonable. You can reward anything, getting back on defense, getting loose balls, hustle, passes, rebounds, etc..

Pick a few concepts, catch them doing it right and make a BIG deal out of it. If you're cheering them on and giving them positive comments they won't get bummed out. If you emphasize good passing and catch them making a good pass let them know on the sidelines and when they come off. This also helps you see improvement as a coach. On defense, if they stick with their man, make a big deal of it. You can communicate with the parents and let them know what you're doing also.

One thing on the steals, I wouldn't encourage that, even though other teams are doing it. The reason is kids usually foul quite a bit, get out of position and miss the concept of staying between their man and the basket. Trust me, it comes back to haunt these kids as they go along. It looks a lot better to have a kid with his hands out playing good solid D staying between his guy and the basket.

Couple of other suggestions. Keep it fun. Some ideas: come up with a funny/cool team cheer, give out a candy bar for coolest socks, etc.

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PostPosted: 15 Nov 2016, 13:55 

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Hi Coach -

I can relate to that feeling - you've done a great job of teaching these kids the basics that they'll need to succeed in the long run, but these aren't being rewarded in games. You are still absolutely doing the right thing. In my youth hoops experience, it's pretty common for the referees to be somewhat lax early in the season and to gradually tighten up as the season progresses. One thing that helped me in this situation is recognizing that the kids are not as focused on winning as I can be.

While some aspects of what you describe will likely have to work themselves out over time, I do have an approach for your offense that may help (as an important aside, I tend to group drills into blocks to gradually build a basic skill into its game application). I use the following block:

- Intro discussion of using fakes, pivots and wraparound passes

- Defended Passing Drill: Divide team into groups of three. One group lines up on baseline (for example); second group lines up opposite them, your ideal passing distance away (like a normal line passing drill); third group get behind the first group. Player 1 starts with ball and passes to Player 2. Player 1 closes out on Player 2 and uses arm movement to offer token defense. Player 2 uses fake/wraparound to pass to Player 3. Player 2 closes out on Player 3. Continue action similarly. (This drill gets them comfortable with contested passes)

- Intro discussion of v-cuts and setting picks.

- Box Passing Drill: object is to compete as many passes as possible in given amount of time. Divide a portion of court into a 2x2 grid. Distance between center of each of the four squares should be roughly your optimal passing distance. You can vary the personnel set-up, but I like to run 4v3 and give each team a minute. Basic rules are: you get a point for every pass from one square to another. After you pass from a square, you have to move out of that square. Not allowed to have two people in a square so if someone cuts into your square, you have to move out. You can use your dribble (but probably should only use it to re-position yourself for an easier pass). This drill gets them moving without the ball and using their contested passing skills. As the season goes on, I will transform the box set-up into cones which I place around the perimeter (in my 5-out spacing) and in the lane (where I'd like to see entry passes made) and use this drill to teach the basics of my continuity offense.

- Ultimate Basketball: (from the Breakthrough Basketball Fun Drills book). We play 5v5 full-court no dribble basketball. I may let them play with a limited number of dribbles (1, 2 or 3) which they must use with a purpose (reposition for better passing lanes, score a lay-up). Any dribbles after the allowed amount result in a turnover.

If you spend a chunk of practice on these drills, you'll see them quickly start moving a lot better and making cleaner passes. While the other issues may still exist, they will at least be able to beat m2m defenses that are deteriorating into double/triple teams.

Good luck!

Bill


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PostPosted: 22 Nov 2016, 08:13 

Posts: 5
! This weekend we almost beat one team that beat a team that beat us by 30 last week, and we beat a team that beat us by 25 ! And that was just from playing more 5 on 5 in practice with a pt system (1 pt / pass, 2 pts / assist and 2 pts / basket) and a gift bag for the kid with the most pts. Then for the games we had first a team goal of 50 and then 75, which they achieved in the game we won. OK, we lost 3 games and only won 1, but 3 out of 4 games were close with the exception being against a team with most of their kids 2 years older. I'll start in on the defended passing and box passing this week. Genius to adapt box passing eventually to teaching the 5-out motion. So much easier that way than teaching it from scratch.

Thanks for all the help, it's making a big difference. You can only imagine the scrum when we won on Sunday afternoon! :)


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PostPosted: 23 Nov 2016, 02:14 

Posts: 5
Just a practical question, how are you marking your squares? I tried using contiguous squares to start with, using the lines already on the court plus some cones, but it was a bit crazy. But later when I start to move the squares out, ... masking tape?
- peter


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PostPosted: 23 Nov 2016, 21:27 

Posts: 2
peter.lingenfelter wrote:
Just a practical question, how are you marking your squares? I tried using contiguous squares to start with, using the lines already on the court plus some cones, but it was a bit crazy. But later when I start to move the squares out, ... masking tape?
- peter


I used contiguous squares with cones as well. There was a little confusion at first but I told the boys "everyone stand on a line" then "everyone stand inside a square" which helped them grasp the areas more quickly. Also, I didn't use the lines on the court - that's a tough abstraction for their young minds.


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