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PostPosted: 12 Apr 2014, 18:53 

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My son's 4th grade team just finished their 3rd game of the season (YMCA) with a loss of 24-8. Our head coach wasn't able to make the game and I, as the assistant, was asked to fill in. While I'm not offering this as an excuse for our loss, the other team in my limited experience was altogether too aggressive. We had jerseys being pulled, smothering defense from the half-court in and one of my players received a bloody nose from the player he was defending. I had to speak with the ref twice about his lack of foul calls. The worse part was the look on my players faces at the end. Even though they gave me the correct answer to "We play these games to have fun, not to win. Did you have fun?" I could tell they didn't.

24 was about what our opponent last week scored so my boys were pretty consistent on their defense. I was very proud of them. They hustled for rebounds, steals, whatever they could get. We just didn't get it done on offense. Our boys are pretty limited in team play experience. We are still just trying to get them to play a section of the floor and know their position. With that knowledge, how do I coach them to get open and how to defeat a smothering press where the opponent is basically trying to dance with them?
-Joshua


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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2014, 07:34 
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joshuamichaelsanders wrote:
We had jerseys being pulled, smothering defense from the half-court in and one of my players received a bloody nose from the player he was defending. I had to speak with the ref twice about his lack of foul calls.


you have to explain to the refs that it is their job to protect the kids, keep them safe and control the game. Teach your kids to make back cuts to the rim when they are being ovrerplayed..... But, there is NO excuse for the other team to be grabbing jerseys..... pretty simple, its a foul and if the refs call it, they will stop doing it.

joshuamichaelsanders wrote:
The worse part was the look on my players faces at the end. Even though they gave me the correct answer to "We play these games to have fun, not to win. Did you have fun?" I could tell they didn't.


Your kids are right... at this age its about having FUN. This is the problem with YOUTH sports, coaches who thinik they are the next Bobby Knights etc. My favorite line... " I will nominate them to the 4th grade coaches Hall of Fame."

Set some goals for your kids, sit down and explain the goals to them, teach the goals and then let them play.
joshuamichaelsanders wrote:
We are still just trying to get them to play a section of the floor and know their position. With that knowledge, how do I coach them to get open and how to defeat a smothering press where the opponent is basically trying to dance with them?


To get your kids open, you can v cut, back cut to the rim and screen for each other. Hard to teach to many things to kids that age. IF it is hard to make passes to the next person... its time to take the ball to the basket.


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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2014, 19:39 

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When I coached Y ball, I ended up talking with the Athletic Director for the very reason you mentioned. What I heard back is leagues can't afford to have "whistle games" because every single game would be delayed and they couldn't handle the backlog. Quite honestly, I agreed with them, so I proposed that the refs talk to everyone briefly before the game and show them what they wanted from a defensive perspective. The AD agreed and it worked pretty well. The officials would talk/show the kids before the game and remind them at the beginning of the 2nd half.

The thing that bothered me the most when I coached Y ball is that didn't track fouls. So basically, the kids could keep fouling with no consequences which really doesn't prepare them for the real deal down the road. This was another strategy I used when talking with the AD. The kids needed to be prepared for the next level and that meant they needed to move their feet on defense. Trust me, when you move up the chain, if you can't play good defense without using your hands to stop the opponent, you won't make it very far.

With regards to the "smothering press", I doubt seriously that your opponents have the ability to watch their man and the ball at that age. Coach Sar is correct, back cuts, V cuts, and screens are very effective against those types of situations. Another thing that could help is spreading out on offense and I mean wide. If the defense stays with their man, the ball handler should be able to dribble to the basket with no help-side D or someone could back cut and be wide open for a lay-up. Have to set up the V and back cuts though.

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