Teaching girls to initiate and maintain contact
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Author:  d.groebner [ 14 May 2011, 13:27 ]
Post subject:  Teaching girls to initiate and maintain contact

I have coached a variety of sports (football, baseball, basketball, soccer) over the past 20 years at a variety of levels, from 5 year olds through High School Varsity teams. I became involved with my daughter's basketball team a couple of years agoand have coached her team in summer club, high school JV and Varsity and also coached our school's 7th and 8th grade girls' teams this past year.

We have great difficulty against man to man defense at all levels of our school program. I initially thought this is because we tend to play zone defense ourselves. While that is part of the problem, I came to understand this past season that our girls do not (will not?) initiate contact. This causes our dribblers to be forced to the sideline and ultimately the corner, especially when we face a man to man defense. It causes our post players to move away from the basket rather than make a strong move to the basket. When faced with a press, our guards do not (again, maybe it should be will not) post up their defender to allow us to make a better inbound pass. Ultimately, we have great difficulty with man to man defense.

I have used many of the drills from this website in my practices. Regarding the contact phase of the game, we frequently use some version of the one on one to five on five rebounding drills that are fairly common. I know from that drill it takes a long time and many repetitions to get many girls comfortable with contact. (How often do we hear "box out" yelled at a basketball game?) One of the unfortunate consequences is as they learn to initiate and maintain contact, they are more prone to be called for a foul (often a blocking foul) which reinforces their desire to NOT be in contact. I see that as a necessary part of the learning curve.

What have other coaches used to develop this part of the game? I am focused primarily on 9th and 10th grade girls, though need advice for grades 9-12. In our recent high school season, we went through a string of six victories in which we score 60 or more points each game, all against zone defenses. We then entered a holiday tournament and lost all three games, all against man defenses, and failed to score more than 40 points in any of the games.

Secondly, are there any video recommendations I can use to teach and reinforce this part of the game, in all phases of the game?

I appreciate any advice that is out there.


Author:  Coach Sar [ 15 May 2011, 09:47 ]
Post subject:  Re: Teaching girls to initiate and maintain contact


I wont try and tell your varsity coach what defense to run.... but at all the lower levels I would recommend playing m2m.. because at some time during the game you are going to have to defend someone... and IF you don't do that in practice your players wont know how to play against that defense. JMO

Its pretty obvious that your girls don't handle pressure very well, especially m2m pressure, and that is where you have to begin. You have to make your practices harder than any game you will play, then your girls wont fold and they can become more aggressive.

Here is a drill that we used with our varsity boys ... its called the Man Maker.

You start this drill with 3 offensive players on the baseline, 3 defensive players on the free throw line. The court is divided in thirds and the offensive players have to stay in their lanes.

The one defensive player in the middle has the ball, he/she passes it to the player on the baseline and then the drill begins. The offensive players have to advance the ball past half court WITHOUT dribbling..... their is no time constraint - they can pass, make cuts, cut and replace, bump the defender to freeze him and get open whatever way they can.

The idea of the offensive player is to be able to protect the ball, make good passes and don't turn it over. ( In games you can always play defense when they take it out of bounds... you cant defend breakaway lay ups.) The defensive players should make it as difficult as they can to keep the offense from crossing half court, over playing passing lanes and being a little physical.

I hope this is clear enough, if not, get back to me.
After this one I will explain something else we did called Cut 1.

Author:  d.groebner [ 15 May 2011, 13:23 ]
Post subject:  Re: Teaching girls to initiate and maintain contact

Thanks Coach Sar

I will definitely use this drill. I usually run a 1-2-2 press break in which the inbounder sags back to allow ball reversal, something that requires a lot of discipline and repetition to instill. I like the idea of dividing the court into thirds - we often lose spacing in our press break and I can see this will help with that.

Thanks again.


Author:  Coach Sar [ 15 May 2011, 14:17 ]
Post subject:  Re: Teaching girls to initiate and maintain contact

As with everything, patience is the key..... 10 seconds is an eternity.... take the 10 before you turn it over for a lay up. Work to get the ball into the middle of the floor and then look to attack, if you have numbers - go at them - if not - go into your offense.

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