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PostPosted: 09 Jan 2010, 20:43 

Posts: 176
Ok. I thought I would keep a weekly narative of my team this season since we just played our first game today. Here is the rundown:

3rd and 4th grade boys (8-10 years old).
10 players -- 6 3rd graders and 4 4th graders.
Pretty even talent level -- no superstars, but a couple of key players and most have the basic fundamental knowledege.
1 really tall kid and 1 really fast kid (but short).
5 one hour practices before today's game.

At 8:00 am this morning (Saturday) we tip. The good:
1) 4 of my 10 scored. 10 points total.
2) Very good defense -- especially help in the paint.
3) 2 players (who never played before) finally adjusted and switched on the ball screen.
4) A lot of good hustle for loose balls -- even from some players you didn't expect it from.

The needs improvement:
1) Coach made the team's first mistake -- called the wrong play (it doesn't exist yet).
2) Point guards where forcing passes -- need to be more patient.
3) Need to adjust sooner -- both coach and players.
4) Need to switch some player's positions.

All in all it was a very good game. We were up the whole game until the last 30 seconds. Kid put up a prayer which went in with 15 seconds left. Called time out. Give the ball to my best scorer and he couldn't get a shot off. In my stupidity, I figure he'll get fouled and go to the line and make at least one if not both shots. Duh, they haven't called but one foul all day. We lose 11-10.

PostPosted: 16 Jan 2010, 17:50 

Posts: 176
OK, Game 2 ended up in a loss 18-14. But the TEAM played great.

This was one of those games when the opposing team has a dominant player and you just don't have a defensive answer. Strategy is simple -- give him the ball and let him score.

6 or 7 players took at least 1 shot. 3 scored.
9 of 10 players touched the ball in some form -- pass, dribble, rebound, loose ball.
Came back from a 6 point deficit.
Everyone played good hard defense.
We did not throw the ball away as much as last week -- which was a huge improvement.

And now a word about the opposing coach. I always put my radar up when a guy comes up and acts like your "best friend" and gives you "tips" about the upcomming game. So he's nice enough and we are talking about the game and how he is going to sub. I let him know that the ref is a tough one -- he calls everything. His first comment is "who do we complain to?" I tell him to let his team know, it won't be like last week and they have to play more careful. He watches the ref's calls in the prior game and starts comenting.

First incident, they run a high ball screen and my defense switches and the screened defender eventually gets thru the screen. Stop the play cold, so he starts complaining that we are "double teaming." My comment -- "it's called a switch."

Then, about half way thru the third quarter one of my boys gets into foul trouble so I sub him out. I keep him out until the last 2 min. of the game. I call time out, and sub him back in. The whole time I am telling the ref and the coach that I am making a substitution -- x for y. He looks at me and exlaims "what are you doing!" My reply, putting in the kid I took out with 4 fouls so he gets his "playing time." "He's guarding X." Guy turns to the crowd and says "he's playing to win!" Apparently he thought it was "bush league." Now this if from the guy who is playing is best player extra minutes. Runs a 1 man "offense." Drops his point defender below the free throw line(ie; zone). And apparently hasn't taught his team the simple things like how inbound the ball after a basket and how not to travel. Thankfully, I was on to him from some incidents in another league. Nobody is more about winning than he is.

At the end of the day, I am really proud of my boys. They are out there giving it their all. Playing like a team. Everyone is doing something. Even my smallest kid -- he gets those loose balls. They are really picking up the game well. Rest of the season should be a lot of fun.

PostPosted: 16 Jan 2010, 21:33 
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Posts: 3139

I see where you have given these REVIEWS considerable thought.... and it is a good way to evaluate the things you are doing well and the things that you can work on in practice.

Keep up the good work with these kids.


PostPosted: 23 Jan 2010, 15:41 

Posts: 176
Tough one today. Another loss 16-8. Against a team we should have beat.

Scored 1 point in the first half. 11-1. Kids came out flat and tenative. Couldn't buy a shot. Nothing went in. NOTHING. Thankfully, they put it together in the second half.

On the positive: 5 kids put up shots. 5 scored (2 where fouled and sunk one shot each).

Needs improvement: too many defensive positioning mistakes (frustrating after we went over it in practice). Kids not cutting with explosiveness -- kind of lolly gaging. Rebounding was poor.

A lot of work to do in practice this week. Better luck next week.

PostPosted: 30 Jan 2010, 23:36 

Posts: 176
Well another tough one. Lossed 20-12.

6 of my 10 players scored. 2 first timers today. So that was pretty sweet.
They set some good screens and made some great cuts.
Smallest kid on my team, a real "goofball", but continues to FIGHT for those loose balls and win.
We actually got off 4 passes in a row before a shot.

Problems were:

Couldn't catch the ball. Way too many dropped passes which led to turn overs.
One of my main ballhandlers would not go all the way to the hoop. He keeps pulling up and taking a 15 foot shot, when he as a clear path to the hoop. Would have scored 6 more points.
Point guards are waiting too long to start the offense -- they need to push the ball quicker.

Bottom line: They just flat out had a better player who dominated everything. Could shoot from inside. Could shoot from the outside. Probably put up 14 of their points. We couldn't defend him the whole game due to substitution requirements. Coach did comment afterwords that we where there best competition so far.

Now a rant about our league: It is entirely one dimensional. Point guard (usually the best player) brings the ball up. Ball screen and drive to the hoop. Kids have a difficult time switching and helping. Leads to a lot of layups for those that have a dominant player. Even better if you have a second really good player, which they had today.

PostPosted: 06 Feb 2010, 14:51 

Posts: 176
Big Game today, against my son's best friends team. We played really well, but lost 14-10.

We won three of the 4 quarters.
Only had 9 kids today. 4 took shots. 3 scored.
Defensively, but for a few possessions, we did really good with help. Shut down several scoring opportunities for the other team. They usually score 20 pts.
Had a lot of passing and moving the ball around. I think everyone touched the ball today.

Two issues today:

First, we tend to "fall asleep" at some point in the game. Don't defend our man, don't help, get lazy on rebounding and that is when we loose control of the game.

Second, I keep messing the kids up on substitutions. I had to sub a lot today because we where down a man. I keep giving them the wrong offensive positions. I had one kid at the end of the game who played 5 all year. Put him in and wanted him to play 4, but I kept telling him to play 5. Which he was doing. Everytime I wanted to say "play 4" it came out "play 5." I think I am loosing my mind. :)

We are so close. We have been in every game. We are playing as a true team, where everyone is participating. Most teams in my league give to their 1 or 2 dominant players and everyone else watches. We don't have dominant players, so we must work as a team. Schedule gets easier now.

PostPosted: 14 Feb 2010, 04:20 

Posts: 176
Another loss 12-9, against a team we should have beat.

It is really getting frustrating at this point. First quarter ends with us down 8-0. All layups. Balance of the game we win 9-4. 4 kids scored. 6 took shots. We hustled and got most of the loose balls.

But, bottom line -- We suck. I have 3 players who have played "organized" basketball. The rest couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat. 3 just flat out can't play -- they simply have no clue what to do, no matter how many times you tell them. One plays defense with his hands in his pockets.

Now here is the real problem. One of my better players is absolutely killing us. Taking stupid shots -- not even shooting the ball, just throwing it up kind of towards the basket. Falling asleep on defense. Not remembering the play calls -- looked to the wrong side on one play. I'd "bench" him, but then we would get absolutely slaughtered. He is my best ball handler -- which leads him to too much dribbling until he takes a wild shot. Unfortunately, I think he is hurting more than he is helping. I'll probably take the ball out of his hands.

I am at a loss at this point. I know some of the kids are getting frustrated. I know I am frustrated. 4 more weeks.

PostPosted: 20 Feb 2010, 16:26 

Posts: 176
From bad to worse. Lost 20-1. Yes. That's right 1.

At least 6 kids took shots. One should have. Only one free throw by my son.

We just stunk today. Offensively, we turned the ball over on several occasions. Made bad cuts, when we cut at all. To much standing still. Took stupid shots. No rebounding.

I do have to say thou, the other team seemed to play a lot more of a "zone" concept (zones are illegal). Their players stayed put as one of ours cut to screen. Thus, they were right there to intercept the pass. Now that I think about it, I needed to adjust and didn't -- if the defense isn't going to move, then just cut.

Some kids are really working hard and making improvments. The others just don't have what it takes at this point. It is really hard to play with only 3 players really trying and hustling out there. Can't "bench" anyone -- so no discipline. They are just killing me. I have two players that can't even keep their shoes tied.

Here is a perfect example from my most athletic player -- I switch him to PG and he brings the ball up. His defender isn't paying attention, and the lane is wide open (picture Moses parting the Red Sea). What does he do? He stops at the top of the key and lets the defense get into him.

Not sure what I am going to do at this point. We certainly need to figure out a way to score more than 1 point.

PostPosted: 20 Feb 2010, 21:02 

Posts: 899
Don't mean to respond to a game review thread, but a couple of thoughts. You've got a team with 60% 3rd graders playing in a 3rd/4th grade league. All in all, you've had some pretty close games considering that fact.

Maybe try some inexpensive incentives? Everyone gets something from the candy machine if the team can....1) Get X amount of hustles the first half and X amount the second half or 2) So many rebounds or a combination of two things you'd like to work on in the game.

Food for thought. Keep up the good work!


PostPosted: 21 Feb 2010, 09:32 
Site Admin
User avatar

Posts: 338
Location: Winter Garden, FL (Orlando suburb)
CoachRob mentions some great ideas.

Don't forget the great Michigan State study done on why kids play youth sports.

1. To have fun
2. To improve their skills
3. To learn new skills
4. To be with their friends
5. To make new friends
6. To succeed or win
7. To become physically fit

You'll notice winning is way down the list. Sometimes, us coaches take the losses a little too hard. I know I did the first few years that I coached youth sports. I also wanted to prove that I could coach and when we were losing games, I didn't want anybody thinking I was a bad coach. Luckily, I've had some great mentors to teach me what youth sports is all about and I didn't fall too hard.

To be honest, I can't even faintly remember my win-loss record in elementary or middle school when I played. However, I do remember my records when I played high school ball.

The kids want to win, but I don't think it's something we dwell on or worry about as a coach at the youth level. There are going to be bad games. There are going to be great games.

Easier said that done, but don't get frustrated with it. I think the kids can sense that and it makes the sport less enjoyable for them.

The bad games. The great games. It's just part of the process.

Enjoy it!

Joe Haefner

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