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jettrink

Coaching 1st & 2nd Graders

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I am coaching a team of 1st & 2nd graders in a CYO league. Out of the 10, only 1 has played before and he is exceptional. He is actually in 2nd grade, but the league wants him on the 4th & 5th grade travel team next year. Anyway, during games, he is the only one who gets it, plays agressive, can dribble, drive for layups, take jump shots, plays great defense...

Here is my dilemma. With 10 kids, if they all show as they did our last game, i rotate in every other quarter another line of kids. There are 8 four minute quarters. When my little star is not on the court, it is chaos. In addition, i hate to see this child, who wants nothing more than to play sitting on the sideline.

We have a game tomorrow. Am i wrong for playing him most of the game and rotating the children in around him? These other children are not interested in playing, are only waiting for a break and a snack. My star scored 20 points out of our 22 points the first game and i told him to try and pass a bit. One of the league heads said to me, when you have a child like that, and others on the court who aren't into the game, you have to let him play his game.

What to do?

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I think at that age you have to have as equal playing time as possible as tough as that may be. They signed up to play even if they aren't acting interested. The challenge is to motivate them and to make it fun. Take the emphasis off of scoring. Praise them for the little things like staying with their man on defense. Especially get excited about making a pass to their teammates.

However, You could make a case for playing the talented kid more *if* you make it his job to set the others up for shots. He can be your tool to get the others *into* the game. Tell the other kids to get open under the basket and the talented kid will get them a pass for a shot. If they can score maybe that will spark their interest and get them going. My son's 1st/2nd grade league requires mtm and does not allow steals. We've worked on screens in practice but haven't used them in games because we haven't had trouble scoring. Maybe your talented kid could screen for the other kids and free them up for a drive to the hoop? Hope one of these ideas can help - good luck!

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i agree with what you said about having the talented child try and set up the others. he would like to be the point guard, so i think it makes sense to allow him to do so. i will make sure he knows that assists are just as important as scoring.

I also feel the little star needs the court time and to be pushed since he's going to go places and needs to enhance his ability and continue to build and maintain his confidence.

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I would also suggest that some of these others may well end up being basketball stars someday and that it is waaaay too early to tell with them. It may be obvious that this one has talent, but who knows which one of these others may some day. All kids develop at different times so don't assume that these others may not as well some day be going places. I'm sure there are some future basketball stars out there that have never touched a basketball. There are professional athletes that never played their sport until high school or maybe even college. It sounds like you are focusing too much on this one little guy. I don't think you need to worry about building and maintaining his confidence - it's the others I think need work. He is light years ahead. I think they all deserve equal attention at this age. Sounds like he will move up a year or two next year and maybe that is really what he needs. Give them all equal attention - they all paid equally when they signed up. Keep if fun for all of them.

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