Jump to content
Y-coach.com - Forum

Attacking A Zone With 10 Year Olds?

Recommended Posts

I read a lot of advice suggesting that kids need to learn man to man defense, however, the top teams in my son's league all run a very tight zone defense. Basically, they pack all 5 kids in the lane and make the other team shoot jump shots. It's impossible to penetrate the lane with a drive for a point-blank shot. With older kids, this strategy might not work because they would give up a lot of jump shots, but with 10 year olds, you can't really punish this strategy very easily. I've read recommendations that you break down a zone by swinging the ball from one side to the other and trying to get in a shot before the zone can react, but again, if you can't shoot jump shots and they refuse to leave the lane, that doesn't seem to help either.

Is the best strategy just to work a lot on jump shots? :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Most teams at this age group don't do that well in a half court set offense. I agree that the better teams at this age group usually play a tight zone and let you try to beat them with jumpers. If your not blessed with a great shooter then I would recommend the following:

You can have some success with swinging the ball and overloading a side or if you can hit a few early jumpers from outside you will probably creat some space but with teams at this age group I usually focused on good defense and fast breaks. I would push the ball the whole game. I think you can get a whole lot more offense on transition and fast breaks than in a set half-court offense.

Just my two cents.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, what a disappointment that 10 yr olds end up playing zone defenses. Although, I'm not too surprised. I just finished coaching in two very competitive 7th grade boys leagues and 90% of the teams we ran into played zone defenses. Won't go off on a rant here, but there's a good article and discussion on this site: http://www.breakthro...efense/age.html

Charlie is correct, one of the best ways to beat a zone defense is not let them set up. We teach our kids there's no hesitation on a rebound, they look for the outlet and push it. On made shots, they grab it out of the net and get the ball inbounds ASAP, same deal with pushing it down the court quickly. The difficulty with 10 yr olds is that it can quickly turn into a ping pong match with out of control dribbles and steals going both ways. Not a big fan of that style of play at any age.

Teach your kids to go for offensive rebounds and put it back up. Nothing takes the air out of a zone defense like offensive rebounds. On paper, zone defenses are not supposed to give up rebounds, but at the younger levels most teams don't block out like they should, thinking because they're playing a zone, the rebounds just happen. Not true, especially against a team that's been coached to crash the boards.

Another idea is using pennies and dimes on a mock court to show your players the gaps. You play defense and have them point at where the ball was passed and act accordingly on defense, moving your coins. This is assuming the teams you play actually move on the ball and play a true zone vs all five just sitting in the paint. It's almost like a chess game and you can ask the kids who they think is open at any given point. It really helped my kids see the "gaps" in zone defenses.

Remind your kids there's no shot clock. When I coached at the 4th/5th grade levels and ran across a team playing zone, we passed it around a lot. They weren't sloppy passes, they weren't passes just to pass, but good solid passes hoping to move the zone. You could see the coach on the other team getting frustrated and parents would groan because we could go for 2-3 minutes without taking a shot. Honestly? I didn't care. If you're going to play a zone defense at that age, then you pay the price. I'm not going to throw up bad shots because the other team chooses to play a zone defense.

Maybe using part of your practice to play against a zone. Practicing fastbreaks, crashing the boards, and passing the ball around. Bummer that you'd have to waste part of your practice teaching the kids how to beat a zone at this age level.

Edited by Coach Rob

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now