Coach Rob

Hacked Off!?!?

21 posts in this topic

Playing a team next week that loves to go for the ball constantly while hacking and whacking. We played them last season; the refs didn't call obvious fouls so their team kept going after the ball with no restraint. Kids get hurt and the game turns into a sloppy mess. They've been coached to go get the ball no matter what. Their coach likes to yell a lot, he'll point out (the entire game) what he thinks our players are doing wrong from a referee standpoint which gets annoying. Not a fun scene. Watched them play another team today and it was insane how many blatant fouls they committed that went uncalled.

Since our game against them last season, I've built a solid relationship with the refs and already have an open line to the league director. I will definitely call them this week and ask for help with regards to the calls. I usually ask him to make sure the refs talk to the both teams before the game about fouls and to remind everyone they will be calling it tight. It definitely helps.

Our offense has been strong the past two seasons and our style is to control the tempo of the game. The no dribbling scrimmage has become a staple of our practices and we've become efficient quick passers. I'm thinking that quick passes with lots of ball movement should help against this team. Most of our kids can hang with the triple threat position and dribble by someone who's playing them too close.

Any other ideas on how to play against a team that constantly tries to steal the ball while hacking/whacking? I'm pretty good at not letting another coach get inside my head, but any tips on how to not let this guy's constant yelling affect my ability to stay focused? Remember, I'm dealing with 3rd/4th - graders 9/10 y/o's.

Thanks!

CRob

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Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

CRob,

Thats a tough one. I will tell you for me that staying seated helps me alot in keep control of my emotions. Though I ran into the same type of coach last year in a tournament. The more he questioned the call the more I did. The more he screamed the more I did. The ref's finally warned us both and I got back control of myself, but the other coach never quit and since they were no longer getting it from both of us they let him continue unchecked. We lost a close game but even the tournament director commented on our team's class after the game.

It didn't make me feel any better about how the game had gone, but I was proud that we as a team had played with sportsmanship and pride.

The only thing I preach in those types of games is that we can only control what we do and to keep playing our style of basketball.

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Hate screaming coaches, never found a good way to shut them out other than a ref who gets sick of listening, might be an idea to drop an email to the head official. Had a girl once block a shot, I swear she aimed the volleyball like spike right at the other coach's head, sort of shut him up for a few minutes.

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I will tell you for me that staying seated helps me alot in keep control of my emotions. The only thing I preach in those types of games is that we can only control what we do and to keep playing our style of basketball.
Great advice. Funny thing, last game we played against them, I was sitting and he'd walk right in front of me while yelling out to the court. You're right about the control and about playing our game.
Had a girl once block a shot, I swear she aimed the volleyball like spike right at the other coach's head, sort of shut him up for a few minutes.
:D Hmmm.... maybe if we work on that in practice.....

CRob

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Playing a team next week that loves to go for the ball constantly while hacking and whacking. We played them last season; the refs didn't call obvious fouls so their team kept going after the ball with no restraint. Kids get hurt and the game turns into a sloppy mess. They've been coached to go get the ball no matter what. Their coach likes to yell a lot, he'll point out (the entire game) what he thinks our players are doing wrong from a referee standpoint which gets annoying. Not a fun scene. Watched them play another team today and it was insane how many blatant fouls they committed that went uncalled.

Since our game against them last season, I've built a solid relationship with the refs and already have an open line to the league director. I will definitely call them this week and ask for help with regards to the calls. I usually ask him to make sure the refs talk to the both teams before the game about fouls and to remind everyone they will be calling it tight. It definitely helps.

Our offense has been strong the past two seasons and our style is to control the tempo of the game. The no dribbling scrimmage has become a staple of our practices and we've become efficient quick passers. I'm thinking that quick passes with lots of ball movement should help against this team. Most of our kids can hang with the triple threat position and dribble by someone who's playing them too close.

Any other ideas on how to play against a team that constantly tries to steal the ball while hacking/whacking? I'm pretty good at not letting another coach get inside my head, but any tips on how to not let this guy's constant yelling affect my ability to stay focused? Remember, I'm dealing with 3rd/4th - graders 9/10 y/o's.

Thanks!

CRob

1 Thing that comes to mind is setting picks/screens even at this age.Go into careful detail on how to do this and if ran right what becomes of it.As for the constant yelling try to be the bigger person and maybe confront this person or just be the bigger person by ignoring it.Tough call!!!

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Couple things, in our league the coach had to stay on his side of the scoring table, a warning would be issued by the ref, 2d time would be a technical, 3d he's out of the game.

If they are playing that close, keep the passing fast and accurate, but wait until the defender get close enough have the passer pic and you might have a lane open use his weekness against him. I had the luxury of sending my daughter ("the worm") the more agressive defenders away from my ball handlers she could keep 2 girls occupied while my guards ran rampant in 4-3 situations.

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Couple things, in our league the coach had to stay on his side of the scoring table, a warning would be issued by the ref, 2d time would be a technical, 3d he's out of the game.

If they are playing that close, keep the passing fast and accurate, but wait until the defender get close enough have the passer pic and you might have a lane open use his weekness against him. I had the luxury of sending my daughter ("the worm") the more agressive defenders away from my ball handlers she could keep 2 girls occupied while my guards ran rampant in 4-3 situations.

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Fast and accurate passing will definitely do great things. So keep that up for sure. But besides that I would go with a full court press right from the start. Do not give them any room to breath at all. I am guessing that they, like all teams this age have a foward or point guard that is the key to there offence. Double team that player as much as possible without fouling. And finally run as many fast breaks as possible. Try to take there focus off of hacking the crap out of your players and make them try to acually play basketball.

Keep the game up tempo BUT dont get out of control because that is what they want. GO GET EM

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You are on the right path by alerting the refs and the league officials to your concerns. I'd think that the coaches have to stay in a certain area of the sidelines. I realize in youth sports that doesn't always happen typically because everyone is acting civil. I wander all over the sideline during our football games. In this particular situation when you alert the refs beforehand, hopefully they'll figure out that it needs to be checked. All you need is a headstrong ref and this guy would be taken care of. Same thing with the fouling. If the ref calls it tight then they'd stop doing or else start getting into foul trouble. Maybe he intimidates the refs. In various youth leagues I could see that happening, fortunately as my son gets older the quality of refs has greatly increased.

In our league you cannot play full court defense. You have to allow the other team to advance it to midcourt. Some aggressive teams will trap as soon as you cross (our team does). When that happens our team will advance it to just before halfcourt then pass left or right depending on who is open. They then advance or wait behind halfcourt for someone to get open.

As for the mental aspect, you're halfway there thinking about it ahead of time. Play out the scenarios in your mind and you'll be better able to handle it. Maybe if you can whistle real loud, you whistle as this guy is yelling something to drown him out. Personally I would be more concerned about him effecting my kids rather than me. I watched a team in flag football a year ago playing. They would place a defender directly over the center and have him shout random things loudly. Clearly it was a tactic to intimidate and disrupt the snap count and nothing more. I'm not even sure if it is legal but I can guarantee I'd have put up a stink to the refs if that was my team.

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Our league doesn't allow full court press; they have to meet them at mid-court. No double teaming, however, you can switch off.

Lots of good advice in those posts, thanks! We had two practices this week, we used one just for a 2 vs. 2 scrimmage and last night we kicked up our regular practice a few notches.

-Worked on a blocking out drill, then getting rebound staying high and putting it right back up

-Dribbling full court making it through a few coaches who were aggressively trying to get the ball (strong & weak hands)

-Triple threat position - what options you have if someone is slapping to get the ball and playing too close

-Knock the ball off the tube. We use a 4ft cylinder tube with 6" diameter, place a ball on top. One on offense with ball, one on defense with a towel around back of neck grabbing it with both hands. Object is for O player to knock ball off tube, D player uses his body to keep O player away from the tube. Stress quick feet movement, staying between your player and the tube.

-On baseline we'd pick two O players and 1 D player. Then bounce, twist, spin or roll the ball out towards the free throw line. If one of the O players got it, they should spread out and be able to make a basket with a 2 vs. 1 situation, if the D player got, we allowed the O players to double team. First one to score a basket won. Amazing to see a few of the D players really scrap for the ball and actually beat the other 2 by scoring the 1st basket.

-Ended with 10 minutes of scrimmage with no dribbling, 5 mintues of reg scrimmage with 2 coaches helping out.

Think we're ready, will update.

CRob

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Crazy game today, we were down 26 -15 with 4 min left. Called timeout, had the come to Jesus mtg with my 5 players on the court and we scored 10 points and held them to 0 with 20 seconds left in the game. They fouled our best player so he shot two free throws, missed 1st one and made the 2nd. Wild stuff, ended in a 26-26 tie; they don't play OT because other games are scheduled to start right after ours. We play this team in our final game sometime in March, should be fun.

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UPDATE: I've dealt with this problem for the past two years, running into teams who have at least one or two chronic players who foul a lot. It really disrupts a game and if allowed can turn a game into a chaotic mess.

It boils down to having good refs who will take charge of a game and explain to the kids up front (and during a game) what is expected. Up through 4th grade (maybe even 5th) players cannot foul out of game. The fouls aren't tracked, so in essence for a non shooting foul, play is stopped and the result is an inbounds throw in for the offensive team. No real penalty other than that.

I suggested to our league director that the refs take multiple offenders out of the game for 5 min and have the coach talk to them. At least this way there is some form of consequence for continuing to foul. We'll see.

Another UPDATE 2/28/09 Well, one of my players and one the opposing teams players were asked to sit out the final 5 min of our game today. Apparently the two kids had been bumping each other, exchanging words and making faces at each other as we were matching up. Only thing ref could've done different is grab the coaches and give us a warning, but other than that a big Kudos to the ref. Went up and thanked him after the game. Had a good conversation with my player, who is a 3rd grader, and I think he got the point.

If you're playing 3rd -4th grade rec basketball with no foul outs, I'd highly recommend talking with your league director and the refs about taking kids out for a few minutes who just aren't "getting it" with regards to sportsmanship and fouls.

CRob

CRob

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Hello Rob,

I appreciate the opportunity your kids get in playing this team you mention.

Why? Because life is often not fairly officiated. Frequently throughout our adult lives someone is "reaching in" or doing something that we perceive as being "not fair". It is absolutely a scarce and rare opportunity for your staff and players to learn and grow as human beings. The growth opportunity is reflected in the degree of frustration you experienced. I've been there - some very hostile environs. As a staff figure out the best way to maximize the learning for your student athletes.

To tell you only this would leave you in a lurch. It's is philosophical in nature. And while every great coach is at least a mediocre philosopher, we need something pragmatic too.

Teams that reach and grab play defense with their upper bodies. Almost without except this leaves defenders incredibly vulnerable. Yes there are some very gifted players who can compensate for the off-balance that comes with upper body defense (as opposed to defense with the legs) but very few players are immune to being exploited when they shift their center of gravity with the upper extremities.

Had you considered pulling your offensive set(s) up above the foul line? If this is an aggressive defense and that aggression is manifest in reaching AND positioning up above the passing lanes you may be able to get some isolation and backdoor movement which can break the defense back into a more passive position. Obviously I could say "be strong with the ball" but most of my coaching cliché we're played out many years ago and that tank is relatively empty.

Also bear in mind that officials are often more likely to blow a whistle on action in the paint than they are on the perimeter. Nothing torques me more than listening to fans complain about discrepancies in foul totals when one team plays in the post and the other passes around the perimeter. If you have a post game or if your perimeter players can score in the paint you might levelize the trips to the charity stripe.

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How wild to look back at this post from 4 years ago. I just sent out an e-mail to my team (which includes several of the boys that played on that 3/4th grade team and are still playing with me now) about summer high school tryouts. Hard to believe they'll be heading into high school this fall.

Looking back through this thread, I've come a long way as a basketball coach regarding how other teams play and how I deal with officials. I still maintain that at the 3rd/4th grade rec level, the officials should talk with the coaches and kids before the game and lay out their expectations. There also needs to be some type of consequence for too many fouls, even at the rec levels.

When you bump up to the competitive levels, things change. Kids are faster, stronger and more skilled. If you were allowed to use your hands too much on defense at the lower levels, it will be exposed at the higher levels. The players that are good defenders know how to beat their man to the spot with their feet and body. Sloppy defensive play yields points for the competition, more fouls and more bench time.


Like I said, I've learned a lot through trial and error over the past couple of years. The best thing I ever did was join an officiating forum, which changed the way I handle and view officials. It boils down to coaching your team and controlling what you can control. Too easy to fall in the trap of trying to "coach" the officials or blame things on how the other team is playing.

Time flies folks, if you're a coach at the younger levels, soak it up.

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Great insights, Rob! Thanks for all the work you've put into this forum!

Jonathan

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Just read over this thread for the first time. Had to chuckle - so similar to things I went through, wish I'd had it back then!

Just a great read, thank you CRob for bringing all of these things into the forum.

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My first time through this thread, as well.

I really enjoy the league my daughters played in and my son currently is a part of.

Before each game, the refs do exactly as you described. They talk with players and coaches.

We are required to play man to man, with switches, can't press and we even match up players before each period, based on skill level. Each player goes through and evaluation prior to the season and assigned to teams. While the process is not perfect and is sometimes hampered by kids needing a certain night of the week for practice, it does help.

I like it because it puts more pressure on the coach to actually coach and teach instead of just giving the ball to a kid and saying "go score"

Our rules state that any player committing two fouls in a period must sit the remainder of the period. We play 6, 6 minute slates with a running clock. The substitution patterns are pre determined, so if a player sits due to fouls and his in line to sit the next stanza, he sits for a while.

We do not allow stealing. We previously allowed it in the 5th/6th grade division, but at times, it turned into a hack fest, just like you described. It got so bad it was discontinued mid season. We've recently switched to 4/5/6th grades together to help on numbers, which played a part in the no steal, as well.

We have lost a few players over the years, who think it's not competitive enough. Funny things is, I see those kids go to leagues where they play "normal" ball with the exception of zones and they do very little scoring and some play very few minutes.

One league in particular prints recaps in the local paper. It is routine to see scores in the line of 42-6, with one player scoring 34 or so of the points.

I've watched a few games there, out of curiosity, and it is exactly what you would expect. The same kid brings it up every time and shoots it every time. The taller kids stand under the basket and do nothing, movement wise.

When a weaker player gets the ball the defense switches off and steals the ball with their best defender.

I will be honest, really good guards probably don't need to be in a league like ours, but the bigger kids, even smaller forwards benefit from it greatly. I know it has helped all three of my kids.

My oldest daughter was a center or power forward, then stopped growing around the end of 7th grade. She plays high school ball as a 5 foot 7 post, because she is strong, but she can move a little, as well.

The fact she handled the ball as a younger player is evident when watching other kids similar in size and build who played in other leagues. My other daughter would probably be in the same boat had she kept playing.

She actually played point guard in 5th grade school ball despite being the tallest on the team...but she is one of the slowest kids I have ever seen and pitches softball and throws in track now.

My son's 5th grade coach, last year, actually complimented him on well he played on the perimeter, both offensively and defensively, even running some high post pick and rolls/ center drives specifically for him. I know that's from the way our league runs and the chances to handle and play perimeter defense he has gotten.

I guess I got on a tangent there, sorry. I just enjoy this forum tremendously.

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Michael -

Sounds like your league is doing it the right way, it's cool to hear that the refs talk to the kids and coaches before the game. I'd add that the good refs should also be talking to the kids during the game and helping teach them. Couldn't agree more on the stealing and fouls rules you have, that is great. I guess it depends upon the mission and philosophy of the league, but most rec leagues I've experienced promote fun, equal playtime and they want repeat customers.

My take five years ago was to keep my son playing with a group of good kids and parents. Not just basketball, but other sports like soccer and flag football. Our kids understood how to play hard and be competitive, but always with the backdrop of displaying good sportsmanship, fundamentals, and having fun. I had no clue what was out there with regards to the real competitive world in sports and often wonder if that would have tainted my coaching philosophy back in the day. I can tell you making the high school team wasn't even on the radar.

Our transition into dealing with presses and learning how to play stronger was a pretty brutal awakening. There really is no easy way to make that transition, but is sure helps a lot if the kids have some strong fundamentals. We decided to play a tourney outside of our rec league at the end of our 5th grade season. We got hammered by three teams and barely hung in with another. The games were physical, fast paced, and the scores were lopsided. We were in shock, to put it mildly.

At some point in a basketball player's journey, the reality of presses, steals, and sitting on the bench comes into play. The officials seem to allow more physical play as the kids get older, so the need to play strong is now a necessary skill. For us, the 5th grade tourney gave us a taste of the competitive world, we never looked back. From 6th grade to now (9th grade), we've been playing up at the higher levels. Hard to say if we started too early or too late with the competitive thing. I feel fortunate that most of the kids on my rec team stuck with it and now will end up making their high school team in a few weeks.

Here's a recent vid of our team playing in a fall league. I just threw some clips together from a mom who'd taped our last 3 games. We're black in the first game and white in the other games. My son is #14.

We've come a looong ways since our 1st/2nd grade teams.

post-1602-0-51618700-1382307397_thumb.jp

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From the looks of the video, the timing seems to have worked out well. When the slow Mo kicked in, I thought maybe he was going to try and dunk on the one :)

I think it all depends on the kid(s) involved.

I know kids who go all in with the competitiveness right from the start and burn out and others who flourish.

I have a kid in baseball who at one point in the summer is on two baseball and two soccer teams once. With one of the soccer teams being a regional travel team. I hear the "do I have to go" conversations between him and his parents more and more.

My son enjoys playing multiple sports, strung out over the whole year. We go baseball from April through mid July, then flag from mid August until the end of this week.

He will start school bball anytime and have that end before Christmas. Then rec ball until March. He was a fairly decent soccer player at the younger level, then started to fill out. He actually put off playing flag for a year or two because he didn't want to give up soccer.

We found a more competitive league that ran at a different time and he enjoyed it, but figured out it wasn't for him. So, the rec only stuff has worked out well for us.

A friend of mine and I are talking about putting together a competitive flag team next year, even after our kids are out of it. Maybe, bring them back into it somehow.

My son has expressed some interest in playing on the All Star baseball team our local rec league puts together and travels to a few tourneys, next year. So, his interest is gaining in doing that stuff.

I think that is the key, it has to be the interest of the kids. If their heart isn't in it, it is self defeating.

All three of my kids always knew if they wanted to do more with a particular sport, just to ask. My oldest daughter did go that route with basketball. Playing travel and school organized summer ball starting in 6th grade.

My other daughter did some in 5/6 grade, until she realized her "speed' was better suited for pitching and throwing. I think with my son it is a little different since he has football, baseball and basketball as opposed to just basketball and softball.

All in all, I think it comes down to who the coaches and leaders of the leagues are. If you can find good ones, you can have the best of the competitiveness and still have it be a good teaching component.

When my daughter played in 6th grade, the coach recruited some girls who were the same age as his daughter that he knew would probably play together in middle school. He, more or less, said, we'll run some basic offenses and you guys can use it to get used to playing with each other. I thought that was cool.

He kept playing time, petty much equal and used a rotation system each game.

Our local middle schools are big enough they field two teams each, for 6th grade, in both boys and girls. I really like that, because each team is usually has about 5 kids you truly know are capable of playing in 7/8 grade. They get enough time to develop and the borderline kids get some time too, within their roles, as opposed to all 10-12 being on the same team.

They'll be together the following year, obviously, but I like that last year of letting them develop.

I was lucky enough to get hired to coach there two years ago. I've seen one or two kids each year who made the 7th grade team, the following year, who I think would have been buried on the depth chart had we only had one team in 6th grade.

At the end of the day, every kid is a little different and I think as long as they're happy, it's all good.

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I think that is the key, it has to be the interest of the kids. If their heart isn't in it, it is self defeating.

All in all, I think it comes down to who the coaches and leaders of the leagues are. If you can find good ones, you can have the best of the competitiveness and still have it be a good teaching component.

Two great points. I think my son kept going because most of his friends were on the teams and it was just something we did. Somewhere along the line, he started to get a fire inside which helped propel him into the competitive realms. It was a bit rough the last few years as we played up and lost more than we won. Coming from a rec background, I wondered more than once if we were doing the right thing. We always involved the kids in the decision making process as we went along. Still a tough gig at 13,14, etc... Like you said, you get the kids who love the competitive side and seem to take right to it and others that have potential, but you wonder how much to push that.

You're right about the coaches and league leaders, they play a huge role in all of this. If the leagues are more about volume coming through and the coaches haven't been trained, it can be a funky experience for the kids.

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Hate it when coaches plays it this way. How can parents allow their kids be coached like this? They'll grow up believing that they need to go for the ball all the time.

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