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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 10:21 

Posts: 1
Dear Breakthrough Basketball Folks,

I really love not only your storehouse of drills for developing players' skills but also your overall philosophy toward playing and coaching. Over the past two season coaching 3rd and 4th grade boys basketball, I've really focused our practices on running drills with live defenders and scrimmaging with various constraints to help students learn to play basketball rather than simply to run plays.

This season, I'm coaching 5th grade boys basketball, and a boy with Downs Syndrome is on my team. He'll just be attending practices, as he'll play his games in a "Challenger" League with other boys with disabilities.

All of the other boys on the team know and love this kid a great deal--he really loves sports (especially basketball and baseball), they all go to school with him, and they often play basketball shooting games with him at recess.

That said, I'm wondering if you have advice about how to structure practices, given this email from the boy's mother: "He enjoys the drills and skills part of the game, but shies away from mix-it-up game situations." And just to be clear, this mother really would like her son to become more comfortable playing in those game situations, even if just in our practices this season.

I read this message, then, to suggest that I'll need to shift away from or somehow adapt the "live defender" drills and the "scrimmages with constraints" that have been the typical focus on our practices.

Do you have any experience with this type of situation and/or advice for running practices in a way that are fun, good learning and skill-development opportunities for the team? Or, to articulate a related yet slightly different question, how to progressively help this particular player with Down Syndrome become more comfortable with more game-like simulations?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!


Scott Wible
Wayne, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: 11 Dec 2018, 09:01 

Posts: 18
From my experience, we change very little.. if anything. The only adjustment is the players know how to adjust and make him or her comfortable.

I don't think you want to punish players on the team by taking away competitive drills. Those are the best and most important drills in my opinion.

We have special needs kids play and the other players recognize this and adjust how they play against them depending on the particular player. Sometimes that allow them to get open, shoot, etc. Kids are smart and can figure it out.

You may want to adjust match ups at time so all player are developing... they will want chances to go ALL out!

From my experience you just practice like normal and everything just works out.

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