Motion Offense Question #4

I am coaching 4th grade girls this year. at what point do you introduce the positions in basketball? How do you go about doing that? I realize fundamentals are the key. After you teach shooting, rebounding, passing, defense, dribbling, what is the next step to take with these kids? When does setting screens, cutting to the basket, a basic offense and reviewing the positions on the floor start?

It depends what you mean by "introduce the positions."

If you mean discuss that there are positions and what their functions might be (and there are a lot more than you think there are) it believe it should be done right at the beginning of your season. They should be discussed and illustrated throughout the year. Positions change and evolve differently for every player and the players should be taught to embrace the changes and expand their roles.

If you mean assign positions and pigeonhole players and their basketball skill sets, I think it should be considered toward the second half of their careers in high school. Players in this country are dis-serviced by the early limitations on their development placed on them by coaches based upon the physical development while they are young. A kid who is the tallest in his class in 4th grade might be the shortest in 11th grade. The limit the development of his skills and knowledge based upon what he is in 4th grade hurts him and the game in general.

In 4th grade teach kids to play the game, not positions. They will find their own places.

In regard to your second question, things like screening and cutting are basic fundamentals just like shooting and dribbling and should be treated as such. Motion offenses are based in fundamentals. Teach the fundamentals and their uses and their place in the game and you will have an offense.

Do you have any questions or suggestions for this article? Let us know by leaving your comments...


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Larry K says:
3/5/2013 at 2:47:22 PM

We teach all to dribble like a point guard and post up like a centre, we also teach spacing, this does not always work, since some young minds get too excited and lose track of where they are suppose to be and the fundementals. As an offense use a basic motion like a 5 out and rotate players in positions. We need to teach all players proper fundementals, including screening. It is too hard to correct bad fundementals as a Junior or Senior in HS


Jeff says:
10/29/2009 at 7:45:27 AM

Fred - Yes, at this age you can have a mess and spacing can be an issue.

Here's a good youth spacing drill:

Also, if you include motion offense drills in your "skill building" drills, the kids start learning how to play:

I think maybe I already answered your question here:


Fred says:
10/28/2009 at 9:56:43 PM

I would think you still have to teach what the position numbers are and where they play on the floor at least to teach them some kind of spacing, wouldn't you? With 3rd or 4th graders, if you just "let them play", I would think you'd end up with 5 kids all within 3 feet of who has the ball, or 3 kids all at the top of the key calling for the ball.


Noel says:
11/26/2008 at 5:42:28 PM

As part of our coaching philosophy for 10 year old female players we do not pidgeon hole tall players as potential "centres". We teach all our players all fundamentals in the hope that one day our shortest player who is a good ball handler will grow to be forward / centre player who can not only play post but will be a good dribbler as well.


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