3rd, 4th and 5th Grade – Practice 1 day a week and play 1 game a week on the weekends......
Objectives: Practice proper shooting form, should be able to make an 8-10 foot shot using proper shooting form, should be able to make a layup using both hands, good defensive stance, good help side defensive stance, good passing technique and dribbling with both hands/eyes up. Understand what traveling is and what a pivot foot is. Teach them where and what the different positions are on the floor. Aware of 3 seconds. Teach them what a screen is and how to set a screen properly. Know how to box out properly. Also teach V-cuts, and spacing on the floor. Man to man and zone defenses are taught. More game situations are stressed. Do not worry about teaching set plays at this level. Teach the fundamentals of the game.
6th Grade – Practice 1 day a week and play 1 game a week on the weekends......
Objectives: Practice shooting form, defensive stance, passing and dribbling proficiently. Expand on teaching them floor positions. Implement Screening, V-cuts, movements…etc. More game situations are stressed. Help side defense and boxing out should be taught as well. Teach full court press and also how to break a full court press. Expand on what they already know and prepare for the Middle School competition. It is extremely important at this age that they can play man to man defense 1st, and understand how to play it first. Then they can learn zone.
7th, 8th and 9th Grade – Practice weekly with regular games scheduled on the weekend.
Objectives: Practice shooting form, defensive stance, passing and dribbling. Teach them their position and responsibility for that position (a little more in depth). Offensive plays will be taught. Man to Man Team Defense 1st, and then teach zone defenses. Teach full court press and how to break a full court press.
Stress the fundamentals and shooting!! Have fun!
After a lot of research, talking with high school coaches and college coaches, and personal experience this is how I feel our basketball program should run. I am not saying it is 100% correct, but I feel that what we have in place is a very good foundation for future success.
Coaching is team prep, devising game plans & schemes and dealing with game time strategies.
Teaching is the instruction and training of individuals in the fundamental skills of the game and teaching the players how to play, instead of how to run plays.
Research shows that approximately 75%-80% of athletes who play organized youth sports no longer play that sport after age 13. It is very difficult to pick the 25% who will stick it out. I have seen many athletes in the past 20 years who I would have guessed would be in the 75% group, but ended up in the 25%. I can also say I’ve seen kids who were pegged to be one of the top athletes in the younger grades and when they get older, never amount to much or quit their prospective sport.
I feel that all youth practices should be divided up into 2 segments. Fundamentals and game prep. 70% of practice needs to be spent teaching fundamentals. 30% of the practices should be spent teaching game situations. Games should be the reward for practices.
Games/scrimmages should be split up into 10 minute segments. Kids get bored and scrimmages get very sloppy if you go longer than 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, take a break, do something fun, run a drill and then run another 10 minute game.
Proper teaching progression in our program should be as follows:
- Skill development that is fundamentally based.
- Putting the skill into the drill and designing drills specifically for the execution of that skill.
- Put teaching and drill into “small games” like 2 on 2 and 3 on 3 and eventually 4 on 4.
- Introduce 5 on 5 team play concepts (not rigid offensive structure). But return to 1,2 and 3 on a consistent basis. Players and teams will never “master” 1,2 and 3, so we need to always back up and start over and repeat.
Would you build a house without FIRST building a strong foundation no matter how long it takes??
We need to teach kids how to play the game. We put them in a no win situation by playing too many games when they do not have the skills or confidence to execute at game time. Our sport is “over-coached” and “under-taught”. Let’s keep the kids best interest in mind.
My goal at this level is not just winning or losing but how fundamentally sound our kids are. A player with excellent fundamentals can play in any system.
Key concepts to be taught:
Good defensive stance
Triple threat position
Proper shooting form
Dribble with both hands with eyes up
Screen and roll
Back door cuts
Give and go
Know what the low blocks are
Know what the baseline is
Know what the foul line is and foul line extended
Know what the half court is
Know what the “lane” is
To run an offense effectively a player must be able to dribble with head up, see the floor and must be able to shoot properly. A player must be able to make good passes and shoot properly. This will take work and time but the end result is that it is done correct.