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PostPosted: 10 Jan 2017, 11:26 

Posts: 2
Hey all,

I coach a 7th/8th grade aged team for a local county rec league and only have five players total sign up from my community this year. Last year, I had 13 young men and had no problem running practices and focusing on the fundamental and not running any set plays I was able to take this ragtag team from last to losing the championship game where my star player did not show, due to the flu.

This year I have better talent (if all stay healthy and show up to every game), but I am a little dumbfounded as to how to implement an offense and such without having a defense for them to face, other than in games.

I have one exceptional youth, two who have a good foundation and knowledge of the game, and two who need more intensive instruction and fundamental work. I really stress the fundamentals over everything else. But, I do need to establish a flow and rhythm so they are not running over each other in games.

We play in a man-to-man only defense league (new this year) and I want to give some simple offensive instruction to set up a simple motion offense to keep things flowing and have good spacing, etc.

Practicing defense is stymieing me as well. How can I help develop good help defense and have them rotate correctly?

I am scratching my head as to how I can have a meaningful practice in helping them get their timing, understanding, rhythm, and such down without having the necessary players to do so.

Any ideas or insight?


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PostPosted: 10 Jan 2017, 17:32 

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I'd reach out to the 8 players who didn't sign up from last year just in case they didn't get the communication from the rec center. Couldn't hurt to call a few parents and see if they're interested.

Reason I say that is running with 5 players is going to be rough. I've had 8 on a team (on purpose) and that was rough. Ended up playing several games with just 5 because of injuries or colds. Playing with 5 is doable, just tough to get a rest for the players because you can't sub, plus you have to watch the foul trouble. Ended up playing with 4 guys in one game due to 1 of them fouling out.

Regarding practicing offense and defense without another offense/defense to scrimmage against, you could reach out to other teams to have practice/scrimmages. I've also been known to recruit siblings, dads, moms and occasionally grandmas for practices.

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PostPosted: 10 Jan 2017, 18:52 
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I agree.

For defensive shell drill you can use yourself, coaches, and/or parents to be offensive passers. It's not easy but you can get creative to try and use a small group in practice.

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PostPosted: 11 Jan 2017, 13:40 

Posts: 2
Coach Rob wrote:
Reason I say that is running with 5 players is going to be rough. I've had 8 on a team (on purpose) and that was rough. Ended up playing several games with just 5 because of injuries or colds. Playing with 5 is doable, just tough to get a rest for the players because you can't sub, plus you have to watch the foul trouble. Ended up playing with 4 guys in one game due to 1 of them fouling out.



Yeah, that is what I was afraid of. I think I am stuck with five and having to make it work. I'll take the same approach as last year and really stress the fundamentals, give them a solid foundation, and hopefully see progress throughout the short season. Just using that method last year and not teaching or running a single offensive play (because I had some youth who had no clue what they were doing and I wondered it they even knew what a basketball was), we were able to go along way with just making sure they knew what they were doing when I did yell something from the sideline. That, and my full court press chewed other teams up. I figured with 13 kids, I had the bench to go all out.

Unfortunately, I am the only coach and helper, have no other help and I got these five boys after several weeks of trying to compile a team. I live in a very small community (population ~1000) and got the fifth player by going to the Rec Coordinator for the county/league, and getting permission to grab a kid who technically is not in my boundaries, but I can articulate he is because he lives between two towns in the county. I had to convince his dad I would really help his post game develop and have the youth commit to keeping his grades up. Poor grades, no play. Dad made that well known, and I am in accordance.

As far as the other eight players from the previous year's team, one moved away, another did not sign up and didn't want to last year but did for his parents, and all the rest went onto 9th grade. No 7th graders are on the team, as there are not any.

I'll get creative and maybe only work the post and guard play in isolation and have the players defend each other in their respecting offensive positions to at least get some timing and understanding down of setting up the screen, setting a solid screen, making effective cuts off the screen, etc, so that the foundation is there and see where they should be on the court with spacing and where they need to move to, at least in a limited fashion. Then use the games as a measuring stick to give feedback as to what is happening in real time with 10 players.

If all five show to every game, I am hoping to go far. We won our first game 43-18. Fundamentals are the key!


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PostPosted: 11 Jan 2017, 16:14 

Posts: 893
Makes sense, kind of figured you might be in a small community with less available players. If you can get siblings and parents to help in practice, that would be your best bet. Or better yet? Scrimmage against the 9th grade team when you can. ; )

From the sounds of your first game, it appear you'll have a good season.

Keep us updated.

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