Middle school coach with a wide range of players
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Author:  Willowbranch783 [ 12 Jun 2018, 15:29 ]
Post subject:  Middle school coach with a wide range of players

This is my first year as a girls middle school basketball coach. I played in high school and coached an AAU team but that is night and day from this. I was hired to help the school create a basketball program that doesn’t focus only on the best five-six players. This team has had moderate success but from middle school to high school there absolutely zero fundamentals. It’s quite painful to watch. These middle school girls gradea 6-8 have tremendous hearts and are willing to sharpen their fundamentals. Currently I’m not even sure we will have 10 players. We have one girl who is talented (probably a 3 guard so she can be versatile), two that need some development (a point guard and post), and everyone else can barely dribble. I’ve looked over plays and defenses and I truly am at a loss with the
how I should coach given the gap in skill level. I have already told any of them I will work with them individually as much as they like.

How do I go about getting them to where they need to be?

Author:  JeffHaefner [ 13 Jun 2018, 08:02 ]
Post subject:  Re: Middle school coach with a wide range of players

It sounds like you already have this in mind but I would focus on skill / player development. Run a simple offense, simple defense, and spend as much time as possible on player development. That is what I recommend to most coaches but that's especially true with middle school coaches.

I would not practice time teaching them a bunch of plays they have to memorize. Not good for their development. Maybe 1-3 at most.

You can run a simple motion offense that just requires spacing, ball movement, and player movement. I like running 5 out motion but ok if it morphs into 4 out or what ever. Just want spacing, ball movement, player movement, and taking good shots. The key I think is keeping it simple and keeping positions interchangeable so everyone develops. The 5 out is naturally interchangeable positions... but you can still have temporary post ups.

I think man to man is best defense to learn the fundamentals. Once they get really good at that they can run zone defenses later on in high school.

Make a list of all the skills you want to work on. Then come up with your practice plans. Practice skills and/or motion offense and/or defense at same time. Almost all our drills are multipurpose...

1v1 full court you can work on dribbling skills, conditioning, and on-ball defense at same time.

Some of our passing, shooting and finishing drills are pieces of our offense.

And so on.

When you work on skills without defense everyone works on dribbling, passing, pivoting, shooting. The difference is the advanced players might go faster. So it's no problem mixing players with different levels together. Just be sure advanced players are pushing themselves to be challenged (ex: cross over with your eyes up, get the ball lower, cross faster, and smash the ball into the ground as hard as you can-- even pros can challenge themselves with simple drills).

Use small sided games with various rules and constraints to help with skill development and decision making (1v1, 1v2, 2v1, 2v2, 3v2, 3v3, 4v3, 3v4, 4v4). When competing you might have to match players up to get the proper challenge or give certain player constraints (ex: Julie dribbles with left hand only or versus 2 defenders instead of 1).

Good luck and hope this helps!

Author:  Willowbranch783 [ 14 Jun 2018, 16:14 ]
Post subject:  Re: Middle school coach with a wide range of players

Hi thank you for the response. I appreciate the insight. His is great stuff and so is the website. I printed everything out and look forward to using his with the girls that come to open gym. Thanks for your reply!

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