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Youth basketball suggestions


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I'd love any thoughts on coaching fourth grade girls rec basketball. We're running basic motion principles on offense, with emphasis on spacing, cutting, and screening. It seems like it will take awhile to "click".

On defense we're running an abbreviated pack line defense which sags into almost a zone. They close in on the ball or if they anticipate a pass. Not a big fan of sitting back in zones, which is what we see most of the time. Rebounding seems better with an assigned person to guard.  Guess that's the coach Knight influence:) 

Appreciate  any thoughts. Thanks.

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Just some reccomendations feel free to disregard these are just the principals I use.

 

Have a practice plan everyday and devote 70 percent practice time to fundamentals such as passing dribbling and shooting.   Teach all kids to handle the ball.  Do not teach positions teach them to be basketball players. Use competitive drills that can be fun. Don't run to just run make them run doing drills.  Don't get too caught up o. Teaching an offense teach them how to play the game and learn to read the defense. Equip them with 2 or 3 basic change of direction moves  crossover behind back stutter step anything . WORK On. BOTH HANDS!!!!!!  Most of all make it fun do they look forward to coming back.

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I coached my daughters (3rd-4th grade) team last year and it was absolute blast, I loved it. Our league was weird in that we were only allowed to play zone, which I hated because that’s not how you teach/learn basketball. But, like Billingsley said, the vast majority of your time should be on fundamentals, individual improvement and have a practice plan. While we all want to win, the goal at this age is to learn, get better and have fun. I always say to my parents that my job as coach at this age is that at the end of the season your kids are better at basketball and had so much fun that they definitely want to play again. 

Like Billingsley also alluded too, the natural reaction is wanting to start teaching offense and defense, but startimg with individual improvement is really the way to go. Stations are a good idea, a dribbling station, passing station, shooting station (focus on form, not so much of they even go in), footwork, etc.  

There are some sites that have really good drill ideas.  I’ll go look them up and share the links here. 

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Here’s Bob Bigelow’s website. When I worked for the Celtics he did scouting so I got to know him. Great guy and played a bit in the NBA, but has devoted his career to improving youth basketball. Below is his website, I think a lot of it is books and DVD you have to pay for, but I found videos of his on YouTube last year as I was preparing for my season. 

http://www.bobbigelow.com/

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For this age group I break down individual skills into drill.  We never put in an offense.  But when it's time to play games they will learn to react and you will be amazed at what they can do.  

Last week in our games we were running Princeton offense with 4th grade boys and we looked like we knew what we were doing.  At no point have I taught them the offense.   I teach the skills needed and they react.  To them they are just playing. 

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7 minutes ago, btownqb said:

I coach 5th grade boys and it's a shame how many people play zone. 2-3 zone and just stand there... so we press and don't let the zone get set up ;)

I see and hear this all the time. It's weak on the coaches part. They play it because it forces kids to make outside shots. And unfortunately coaches even in youth leagues feel like they have to influence the game and zone defense does that. Wish all leagues under say 7th grade would ban zone defenses. 

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1 hour ago, Seeking6 said:

Just my thought. Don't ever play zone on defense. Never. Nothing drives me more crazy in youth basketball than zone.

Believe me, I was ticked when I found out that was the rule in my daughters league last year. Beyond it just being dumb, at that age it teaches you nothing about basketball. 

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2 minutes ago, Seeking6 said:

The rule was they have to play zone?

 

Yup, coached my daughters 3rd-4th grade team last year and you were only allowed to play zone and the defense had to stay inside the 3-pt line. You could press to half court with 1 minute left in the 4th quarter. It was ridiculous, what the heck does that teach about basketball to the kids, nothing!

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1 minute ago, BGleas said:

Yup, coached my daughters 3rd-4th grade team last year and you were only allowed to play zone and the defense had to stay inside the 3-pt line. You could press to half court with 1 minute left in the 4th quarter. It was ridiculous, what the heck does that teach about basketball to the kids, nothing!

Good Lord. Playing man to man defense teaches so many things about this game we love. What a shame. I'm sure there's a reason for it but none that I would actually entertain. 

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3 hours ago, Hoosierinbham said:

Do you always keep the defender between their person and the basket? That's what I have been teaching,  but noticed some girls naturally wanting to deny the pass. I only corrected those that were near the basket, because they weren't in good position to box out.

Do you know the drill/concept of shell drill?.. this is a 4 on 4 half court defense drill that translates well to the games, that you can do in practice daily. 

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Great suggestion on the shell drill.  That and some of the drills/games from the jrnba site are going in next practice.  Thanks again. Great community we have here.

If any of you ever make it down to Alabama,  let me know. Trendon Watford's coach is the closest thing I've seen to Indiana high school basketball. Very impressive system, and fun to watch. 

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  • 1 month later...

Just wanted to follow up with our season progression. The girls are learning and playing great man to man defense. Offense is a struggle. We unfortunately are winless.

Our league is dominated by primary ballhandlers that are fast and skilled. We don't have one of those.  I have multiple girls bring the ball up, and don't run plays as much as pass, drive, and shoot. The problem is, the teams that run plays for their best players generally win. 

Any suggestions on offensive solutions?  I want the girls to learn and have fun playing ball, but you can tell they are frustrated.  Last game we had one of our better, and more passionate,  players not want to play one quarter.  It's getting harder to try to do the right thing when coaches are calling timeouts to set up plays when they're up 20-2 in the 4th quarter. Appreciate any suggestions. 

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I haven't read the whole thread. I coached about 8 years of youth basketball, 3rd up to 8th grade girls, mostly. If you're having trouble on offense, my suggestion, if it hasn't already been made, is to teach the rebound/outlet drill. I found that the kids get excited about throwing the ball and running flat out. If they can't get a lay up, take the first open shot. Good luck.

 

https://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/drills/rebound-outlet-and-lay-up.html

 

 

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