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PostPosted: 26 Feb 2020, 15:57 

Posts: 2
I just read your article titled, "A Blueprint for Success in Youth Basketball" and it has me thinking about how I organize my junior high girl's bball team.

We are a very small West Texas school that usually has to combine 6-8th grade girls in order to have 10-12 players and have a junior high team. The gap that is created between the skill and athletic level of the 6th graders and the 8th graders presents a challenge. The challenge is to figure out how I can develop the 6th graders basic skills like lay-ups and still progressively develop my 7th & 8th graders with more higher level skill development.

We usually have 80 minutes to practice about 4 days per week.

Any thoughts on how I could address this challenge in practice? Any advice is much appreciated!


PostPosted: 27 Feb 2020, 09:23 

Posts: 11
Good question. Here are a few ideas that have worked well for me...

1) For new players I required them to attend our "new player orientation program".

We did this before the season started (which you might not be able to do... but maybe you can have this during the summer or during the first week or the season). During orientation, I would teach players my footwork terminology, basic cuts, defensive concepts, BLOBs, press breaker, basic motion offense concepts, and other foundational concepts that my returning players already knew well.

It was an intense learning process... so they could hit the ground running on day 1 of practice and I didn't have to reteach a bunch of stuff. For the most part, everyone at practice knew our core stuff on day 1. That worked really well for us.

2) For skills, we'd mostly use the same drills but divide players up by ability. Whether you are 1st grade or in the NBA, everyone has to dribble, pass, shoot, make lay ups, pivot, and so on. The biggest difference is the beginners will perform the activity slower, maybe closer to the basket, and not as good. With a cross over dribble, beginners might be looking down at the ball at first, dribbling a little too high, going at a slow pace. Advanced players will have eyes up, keep the ball, close, cross really fast, and be moving at a fast pace. So it's the same drill... advanced players just do it better and faster.

With lay ups, beginners might just be working on basic footwork and developing coordination with their right/left hand. Advanced players might be making the lay up at high speed and get contested by live defenders or practice advanced moves like pro hop or euro step.

So in practice we have two or three groups... beginner group at basket 1, intermediate group at basket 2, and advanced group at basket 3. They can all do the same drill... but each group will have different aspect emphasized or additional constraints.

With game based skill drills, which I believe are important, you adjust the constraints. Beginners might play 1v1 full court with the entire space to work. Advanced players can only use non-dominant hand to dribble and have confined space. Same drill.. but different constraints to make it easier or harder depending on the level. In some cases, you just need to divide them up by ability and that's all you need to do.. so everyone gets challenged appropriately.

3) For tactical aspects and strategy (defensive positioning, team offense, plays, etc)... we might split them up for some drills but since ultimately they are all playing together we usually have them practice together. We mix them up... and start coaching at the advanced players level. Then make adjustments if new players don't understand. They all work on team stuff together.

Hope this helps. If you have any other questions, let us know.

PostPosted: 27 Feb 2020, 10:24 

Posts: 2
Good ideas, thanks!

PostPosted: 04 Jan 2021, 03:01 

Posts: 1
Thanks for your detailed response.


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