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PostPosted: 21 Feb 2011, 06:37 
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Posts: 1230
Great discussion. I'm not sure I can really add anything but I just wanted to say that I think it's awesome that you coaches are putting into your research and doing things the right way. I also think it's awesome that you let different players bring the ball up (be point guard). I'm so glad other youth coaches are doing that.

I have noticed (and I'm sure lots of others have noticed) that the players who are really good with the ball are the ones who were appointed point guard at a young age. They learn how to back up dribble and do all the things they need to take care of it. And then all the other kids on the team end up getting WAY behind when it comes to ball skills. This is so common. That's why I personally like to share point guard duties and teach every play on the team how to handle the ball (big and small players).

Jeff Haefner

PostPosted: 21 Feb 2011, 07:35 
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I agree Jeff, sharing the point guard position at an early age is a great idea.....

As for scraping practice plans..... I think that is done at all levels from time to time.... I coached boys all my life until my last year, I had retired from coaching but the girls program needed a coach... I took the girls sophomore job and had all these great ideas... then I set foot on the floor for the first time with them..... and they couldn't pass or catch the ball very well.... so I used every passing and dribbling drill I could rememeber.... starting with half court stuff and then full court... we did this for at least 20 minutes a day for the first few weeks.

So don't be afraid to change things if your plan doesn't fit the kids you are working with..... be flexible.

PostPosted: 24 Feb 2011, 21:44 

Posts: 12
Sounds like you have lots of enthusiasm and lots of ideas for things to teach--good for you! :)
One piece of advice I'd give (this was my first year back to coaching) was to remember that you will always feel like there is so much to teach--and not enough time to do it! That's where the "pick 3" idea is so great--it helps you not to overwhelm the kids! :)

One other thing: will any/all of your players be completely (or even fairly) new to the game? If so, make sure you explain the basic rules--a little at a time (ex: one or two things per practice)--and encourage them to ask questions. It's easy for us (as experienced players/coaches) to forget that many of these beginners don't have a clue about the basic rules and/or concepts of the game. (For example, when I was teaching about rebounding and putting the ball back up for a shot, one of my players asked--in all seriousness--if there was a limit to the number of rebound shots a team can attempt. I would never have known she had that question if I hadn't encouraged my players to ask.) :)

PostPosted: 02 Mar 2011, 11:45 
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Posts: 191
Location: New Britain, CT.
My goodness do I miss coaching those ages...definitely a challenge but a lot of fun!!
-Focus on fundamentals every practice
-Keep it fun and upbeat
-Keep speeches/lectures/team talks under 2 min
-Start with staionary dribbling and ball control then, only when they have mastered ball control, add motion to their dribble..walking first.
-Spend about 5-7 min per drill then move to next because of their short attention span, fooling around and boredom
-Incorporate basketball "games" into every practice....use the ones below or make up your own. Kids love it!!
- Bring a thorough and detailed practice plan to every practice, time each drill, be organized! This practice plan should be a little different every practice.

Below are fun kid basketball games that are from my archive...some borrowed, some my own....ALL FUN!! I wrote these drills for a buddy of mine that was new to coaching his name may be thrown in there...

Drill: Dribble X
Type: Stationary Dribble Control
Level: Beginner

Use masking or medical tape to mark an X on the gym floor on the side of each kid.
Each girl must dribble with control on the X. Ensure they control dribble on the side of their body. At this stage, the player is allowed to look down at ball to maintain accuracy of hitting X and establishing “feel” for ball. Go about 30 seconds switching to weak hand, then back to strong hand. Do a number of sets with each hand.

Drill: Dribble Alphabet
Type: Stationary Dribble Control
Level: To be used after above drill

Have players bend over and start dribbling low in front of them. Coach will call out letters of the alphabet. Players will dribble the shape of the letter in front of them. Players should use a very low controlled dribble of maybe 6 to 10 inches above the floor. Switch to weak hand and repeat. Option: Dribble Shapes- have players dribble triangle, square,
circle, rectangle shapes…..throw in a trapezoid just to see their reaction!

Drill: Blind Dribble
Type: Stationary Dribble Control
Level: Intermediate

Have girls line up each with ball and dribble on the side of their body. Maintain control
while looking forward. Now have them close their eyes for 20 seconds while dribbling.
Open eyes…close…open…. Now switch to weak hand…repeat. Now have them bend knees and get down low with a power dribble….close eyes for 20 seconds….open….repeat.

Drill: Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light
Type: Motion Dribble Control
Level: Beginner

Have all girls start at baseline each with a basketball. Coach is at other baseline. On whistle coach calls out Green Light, or Yellow Light, or Red Light randomly. Green Light means player will jog while dribbling ball toward other baseline. Yellow Light- they must walk while dribbling…Red Light means they must stop but still maintain dribble. Repeat with weak hand.

Drill: Clothes Pin Tag
Type: Motion Dribble Control
Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Go to the Dollar Store and buy some clothes pins. I have a bunch you can borrow.
Seal off an area of the gym floor with cones, for 10 girls….seal off maybe a quarter
court area. All girls get a basketball. All girls get 2 clothes pins clipped onto the back of their shirts. All girls must stay within the cones. All girls must maintain dribble. Object
of the game is to grab clothes pins off your teammates back but protecting your own back
while dribbling a basketball. Players that get both clothes pins taken off their back must sit and watch the fun. As you get down to 6 players left, move cones closer. As you get down to 4 girls enclose area more. With final 2 girls enclose to a small area of about 6 X 6 feet. If final 2 girls are just taking too long to grab clothes pin, end it as a draw.

Drill: Tennis Ball Dribble Catch
Type: Stationary Ball Control
Level: Advanced
Equipment: 5 tennis balls

Use this drill at least half way thru the season as they are a little more experienced with ball control and keeping head up. Pair up all players. Every player has a basketball. Pairs are facing their partner about 4 feet apart. One partner in each pair has a tennis ball. On whistle they start dribbling. On next whistle they start having a catch with tennis ball while maintaining their dribble. Players must toss it underhand, soft and easy so their
partner can catch it. This can be a difficult drill at first but keep reinforcing this drill throughout the season. This drill takes mind and eyes off of dribbling and puts focus on catching and throwing a tennis ball. As they get proficient have them back up one giant step. By the end of the season downsize to plastic golf balls just to make it a little tougher. Make a contest out of it by seeing which team catches the most in 60 seconds. Try breaking that record next practice. Switch hands so they are dribbling with weak and throwing with strong hand. If you have odd number of players just add one player to a pair and form a triangle.

Drill: Musical Dribbling Chairs
Type: Motion Dribble Control
Level: Advanced
Equipment: Folding Chairs, CD Player

Use this fun drill mid-season when they are experienced with movement and ball control. Use Town Hall chairs and form a circle with seats facing out. Each girl has a basketball. Set up 9 chairs for 10 players. Have one coach turn his back to the game and start music on CD player. As music plays girls must dribble around chairs. Other coach is watching game. The first coach will randomly stop music and each girl must find a chair to sit down WHILE STILL maintaining their dribble as they are sitting. They can not stop dribbling even if they are sitting. The player who is left sits out and one chair is removed.
Rearrange chairs the best you can as you get down to 3 or 4 chairs……should end with 1 chair and 2 girls battling for it.

Drill: Spoon and Golf Ball Dribble Control
Type: Motion Dribble Control
Level: Advanced

Use this drill near end of season. It can be quite challenging for some girls. It is hysterical to watch!!! Every girl has a basketball, a plastic spoon and a plastic golf ball. Line up girls on baseline. They are dribbling with strong hand while holding a spoon with their weak hand and balancing the golf ball at the end of the spoon. Start slow…have them slowly walk to half court then back while maintaining ball control and keeping ball on spoon. Again, this drill takes the focus off of dribbling and puts it on something else.
Switch ball to weak hand and repeat. As season progresses have them speed it up. Have dribble races. When they get really good at this, split team into 2 teams, everyone with a
ball and a spoon but just one golf ball per team. First player in each line must race downcourt dribbling and balancing ball on spoon. When they return they must transfer ball from their spoon to their teammate’s spoon waiting in line. The girls go crazy with this race!! They MUST keep dribbling even during transferring ball from one spoon to the next. Some players may have problems transferring so if they drop it 3 times in a row then they can use their fingers to transfer ball.

Drill: Prison Break-Out
Type: Motion Dribble Control
Level: Intermediate

If you have 10 players, ask who wants to be a prisoner. Put that player in the mid-court circle and put cones around the circle….that’s the prison.
Choose 3 players to be guards, the remaining 5 or 6 players will be inmates.
The 3 guards must wear pinnies, they are to guard the prisoner and also tag an inmate so they go to prison. Object: Every player MUST always dribble whether they are in prison, an inmate or a guard. Inmates want to avoid being tagged by guards but also want to free
a prisoner by tagging them in the inner circle prison. Once tagged, a prisoner is then free. Use entire gym to run around. Sometimes all prisoners are free….sometimes guards will tag all prisoners and they will be in prison. Have fun!!

PostPosted: 06 Mar 2011, 21:09 

Posts: 5
^^ Thanks for the ideas. Those are the kinds of things I'm looking for. I have all kinds of fantastic ideas in my head but I know the main thing at this age is probably just teaching dribbling, shooting, and basic defensive principles. I think any experienced player really starts to take these things for granted after awhile so it'll be a good refresher for me.

If anybody else has a drill or game that gets a good reaction and energy from younger kids please don't hesitate to share. I'm looking for any and everything.

PostPosted: 19 Mar 2011, 23:28 
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Posts: 315
Coach: Let me add just one thing to the already great advice you received from my good friend Coach Sars and Lance. Don't be as long winded with your talks with your kids as you were on your posting or you will put them to sleep other than that, you already seem to have a ton of ideas on motivation and having fun there is not much more to say Coach Mac

PostPosted: 09 Apr 2011, 09:37 

Posts: 5
Okay guys, I thought I'd pose this question on here. I feel like I've decided to run a 4 out 1 in offense with an emphasis on pass-and-cut, backdoors, etc. I think running this offense will give some added time to some fundamental skills such as proper cutting & spacing that won't be covered a whole lot when teaching the big three (or four) of passing, dribbling, shooting, and defense.

Would this be a good idea? I feel like it would work well and be an added benefit to really learning the game. It would also setup a foundation to add some other options later on, like a pass and screen for the 5. I've read that motion offenses can work for kids at this age (8-9) but I think a team running a 4-out offense with an emphasis on passing and cutting could work well to teach team concepts as well as develop some overlooked skills that personally I think are very important.

I also think it would help that there are really 2 or 3 very simple rules that you can set in the beginning then look to add if/when they start getting the basic offense.

PostPosted: 09 Apr 2011, 09:52 
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Posts: 3139
Definately use the KISS method... and maybe a 5 out would be a better fit for this age group since you will be teaching everyone the same skills... which is needed here.
Passing, catching, spacing, v cutting etc.


PostPosted: 10 Apr 2011, 08:48 
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Posts: 44
I saw where the OP was thinking about video taping the games and then seemed to drop the idea. Definately video tape your games, but don't worry about going over tape with the kids. When you watch the video yourself as a coach, you will see everything that you need to work on. Coaching is like teaching. Practices are like learning lessons in class. The game is like a test. Why do we take tests? To see if we're learning. Use the video as an assessment tool to help you plan what you're going to work on in the practices before your next game. What you get out of the video will be priceless.

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