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PostPosted: 12 Feb 2018, 14:19 

Posts: 10
my 6th grade boys team is about to finish up playing in the highest division and going winless...the competition is very skilled...my question is as i approach the offseason, what can i do to help my kids develop more skills (shooting in particular) and better understand spacing, moving to open spaces, post moves and defensive positioning...

or should i use the offseason to focus on skill work only?

should i practice more than play games or vice versa?

it seems the more skill work i do, the better my boys get in practice but when it comes to games they seem scared to cross over or go behind the back or even go hard to the basket...they revert to shooting jump shots from afar...

need advice...the boys want to get better but i am fearful i am not helping them get better even though i stress fundamentals and skill development over set plays and set positions...the teams we are playing are packing the lane in a 2-1-2 zone and forcing us to shoot from a distance and running exotic set plays...i am playing man to man defense and running a simple motion offense and it looks like we have no idea what we are doing sometimes...

how can i more quickly develop my boys...they have potential but i need advice on what to do to get them up to speed sooner than later...

help...


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PostPosted: 12 Feb 2018, 17:54 

Posts: 899
DadCoach wrote:
my 6th grade boys team is about to finish up playing in the highest division and going winless...the competition is very skilled...

1) Assume "divisions" are levels of play within an age group (e.g., Gold, Silver Bronze)?
2) Did you play in the highest division knowing how skilled the others teams were?
2) What if you played one division lower?

Quote:
my question is as i approach the offseason, what can i do to help my kids develop more skills...
It's hard to advise without knowing the answers to the above questions. If you are going to try and play in a tougher division next year, there's really no "offseason" if you catch my drift. It kinda sounds like you're playing against AIU or club teams and I assume they play all year round in various tourneys. Maybe I'm off here though.

The 5th/6th grade year is when a lot of teams try to make a transition to a more competitive arena against teams who've always played at that level or made the transition a lot earlier.

It would be helpful to know if you have other options in terms of "divisions" and if you're making a conscious choice to "play-up" for some reason.

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PostPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 10:08 

Posts: 10
thanks coach rob...

the division play is A highest to C lowest...last year we were in B and went undefeated...we were moved up to A and are now winless...competitive in half the games...blown out in the other half...in essence we are probably too skilled for B but not skilled enough for A...but we were put in A automatically by the league...we are not allowed to play in B any longer...

i am ok with playing in the higher division but i am concerned about improvement...will the boys improve more playing better competition or more by playing lower competition but being able to work their skills better against lower competition than higher competition...at some point i figure the boys need to adjust to better competition...it just may take a little time to adjust...

regarding the offseason, i want to have the boys practice a couple times a week for a couple hours and work on skills...dynamic movements...not just stationary dribbling but dribbling into drives to the basket or jump shots...shooting off the dribble...moving and shooting...and some stationary shooting...

but i also want them to start understanding movement and going to open spots...post moves...and defensive positioning and foot movement....

i am relatively new to this but want to keep the boys engaged but make sure they improve as much as possible over the summer months...

any advice? constructive criticism?


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PostPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 14:21 
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My two cents...

As a coach and/or parent you want to find the right balance of:

- skill development
- athletic development
- having fun and fostering a love of the game
- playing games (tournaments, leagues, etc)
- being a kid.. playing other sports, free time with friends, etc

I don't think there is a one size fits all formula in regards to that balance. Each player and team is a little unique. But here are some general guidelines and thoughts that might give some clarity...

- ideally you get around 2 practices to every 1 game played. That is a decent balance of development and "playing". I think you want a mix of both. The exception is in the off season if you are "rebuild a shot" and change a player shooting technique. That would require lots of skill practice and taking many months off from playing.

Skill work helps you with skills. But you also need to learn decision making, the rules, some of the tactics, and how to apply those skills in a game. Players need to learn how much space they need to be able to cross over with out getting stolen, get comfortable under defensive pressure, how much space they need to shoot and so on. There are hundreds of things. To learn this you need to play. So I believe you need a balance of playing and skill work. If you want to play some in the summer that is ok. But you don't have to. You can play 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 in the summer in practices, etc.

- ideally you want to keep players in their "sweet spot" of development as much as you can. So they are winning and/or succeeding 50-80% of the time in practices and games. If its more than that they are not getting challenged enough. If it's less they can get discouraged after a while. It's interesting your league doesn't quite have the right fit for you but hopefully next year you can find that balance.

- players should have time off from basketball and shouldn't play too much. you don't want to burn them out. playing 50 tournaments (150 plus games a year is too much). playing in 5 tournaments probably isn't enough at this age. I think 8 - 14 tournaments is a reasonable range (24 to 42 games) for 1 year.

So it's always about finding that balance. Hopefully that helps a little. Let us know if you have other questions.

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PostPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 16:05 

Posts: 899
DadCoach wrote:
...but we were put in A automatically by the league...we are not allowed to play in B any longer...
Yep, pretty common. I'm guessing there are several teams in the A division that should be playing in another competitive league (unless there's not another league in your city).

Quote:
...will the boys improve more playing better competition or more by playing lower competition but being able to work their skills better against lower competition than higher competition...at some point i figure the boys need to adjust to better competition...it just may take a little time to adjust...
Your team will improve a lot more by playing better competition. The trick will be keeping them motivated through the blow-outs and rougher games. Like I said above, if there's another real competitive league, I'm betting some of the top A teams should be playing there. Going forward, it doesn't do a team much good to stay in a league where they're blowing all the others teams out. It's better to get your butt kicked, learn, and improve.

Quote:
regarding the offseason, i want to have the boys practice a couple times a week for a couple hours and work on skills...dynamic movements...not just stationary dribbling but dribbling into drives to the basket or jump shots...shooting off the dribble...moving and shooting...and some stationary shooting...
The number one difference when you move up in competitive levels is the ability to handle pressure. Stronger teams realize all they have to do is apply some pressure via a press to test a team. Your team's ability to handle pressure is an important key to hanging with the tougher competition. Plus, your team will start to realize the benefits of applying pressure to a team and smell weakness.

Regarding working on skills, make it tougher in practice than it will be in a game. Put kids in pressure situations in practice. For example, 4 v 5, 3 v 2. Another example is work on breaking a full court press and allow the defense an extra player. If the offense begins to break the press, add another defensive player or take away the dribble. Point being, make it harder than it will be in a game. Always think that way on pressure drills.

Find out if there are tournaments you can enter too. 3v3 is always good. Agree with Jeff, you don't want to spend your summer/fall playing in tourneys, but to get used to good competition, playing some tourneys in the spring/summer is a good thing.

Maybe some scrimmages with tougher teams if you can find a coach that has a team and is willing to do that once in a while. You can work on different skills during practice. You ask if they can press, they ask if you can play a zone D, etc. It works out well because you're setting up scenarios and coaching through them.

Incorporate some fun competitive drills that have a challenging element. This is one of my favorite drills and the player's love it. Winner gets rewarded. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMaXO5WuxFA&t=110s

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