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Help! 6-10 Yr Olds


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#1 maosaojao1

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 03:48 PM

I am coaching two teams due to the lack of dads wanting to coach. I have a 6-7 yr olds and a 8, 9, 10 yr olds. My question is I am reading a lot about not showing them plays. Just to teach them how to have the proper spacing, that I have under my belt and I am going to preach that at the next practice. Next is what kind of scoring plays can I expect if I only teach them spacing, or can anyone suggest some scoring plays. I was thinking of running a 5 out perimeter and try to use cuts, or penetrating dribble to score. Any help is some help..thanks again guys and girls.

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#2 GeorgeC

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 04:51 PM

I agree with the idea of not teaching plays at a younger age. As you start to get into the 8 y.o. and above, I think that you can start adding plays. Last year, I had a 2nd grade team (7 to 8 y.o.) and all we taught were fundamentals. We tried to introduce the idea of a couple of plays and invariably it ended with a turnover and frustrated kids. At the younger age, we taught position and passing. We stressed "no downtown shooting". We would get the kids into their relative positions to the offensive basket and pass-pass-pass. PG starts and can pass to a Wing, who can pass back or down to the forward, who can only pass back. So the kids can only pass in the "horseshoe" diagram. Coach would get in the middle and play defender, meanwhile screaming pass-pass-pass to get them used to the idea of thinking quick and passing quickly. Often we do that with 5 kids, while asst. coach works on fundamentals (mostly defense) with the other 2-3 kids. Last year, our basic offense (no set plays) was PG brings the ball up (in our league, no defensive pressure until the ball passes the half-court line), and passes to the Wing, who drives or passes to the Forward position or passes back to the PG. For second graders, we didn't try to teach picks and screens and plays. For defense, we taught how to transition from offense and how to shift your feet and use your hands to block.

As they got into 3rd grade, we got a whole new team through the random draw process. I knew many of them already though. So far, we're 3 out of 4 on the season, having lost the one game after a mid-court shot by the other team. This year, we continue to teach the pass-pass-pass process. Defense is where we really added teaching, emphasizing jump-rebounding and boxing out. I think our kids win most of the rebounds just because they don't stand flat-footed. On offense, we have introduced a couple of plays, as basic as you could get: the #1 and the #2. I call it out to the PG bringing the ball up, and he sets the play in motion.

I look at it this way. The kids are going to shoot. My basic offense is "you pass until you get a good drive to the basket, or jump shot ... crash the boards to rebound".

You just have to put them into position to get the shot up, rebound, and put it back. You've got to manage any ball-hogs and show-offs (the Magic Johnson-wannabees).

#3 Coach Rob

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 06:00 PM

I'll address the question with regards to running an offense, however, keep in mind I believe in teaching and emphasizing fundamentals like triple threat, proper shooting form, pivoting, jump stop, boxing out, rebounding, etc.

With the 6-7 yr old team, I'm guessing you'll see the infamous "blob" running around the court. If you can get them passing at that age, you're cooking. I'd reward the passes during games. "If you guys can pass it X number of times, you all get what's in this bag at the end of the game". This means you'll have to teach them what it means to get open, coming to meet the ball, etc. Tough one though, as you don't want them to just pass, they need to shoot on an open shot. "Open shot" can be VERY subjective at that age. I'd build on the passing concept, teaching why they are passing (to find the open person closest to the basket) and what an open shot looks like. I'd even use the "you get what's in the bag" for other fundamentals in a game like X amount of rebounds, loose balls, etc.

On your 8-10 yr olds, I'd over emphasize the spacing big time. If you decide to play 5 out with cuts, the 5 out should be REALLY out. It will open up the middle big time unless you're playing against a zone, even then it still opens things up. You could try having a pass then cut system, if cutter doesn't get the ball they set a pick for someone, that person cuts and so on.

Basketball offense isn't just about passing, but I'm big on ball movement. My son is now playing in a very competitive 6th grade league, the teams that dominate understand clearly what it means to move the ball around. The teams that rely on one or two kids for their offense tend to get shut down, quickly. You'll be doing their future coaches a huge favor if you teach them about ball movement early.
-CRob

#4 maosaojao1

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 08:22 PM

I'll address the question with regards to running an offense, however, keep in mind I believe in teaching and emphasizing fundamentals like triple threat, proper shooting form, pivoting, jump stop, boxing out, rebounding, etc.

With the 6-7 yr old team, I'm guessing you'll see the infamous "blob" running around the court. If you can get them passing at that age, you're cooking. I'd reward the passes during games. "If you guys can pass it X number of times, you all get what's in this bag at the end of the game". This means you'll have to teach them what it means to get open, coming to meet the ball, etc. Tough one though, as you don't want them to just pass, they need to shoot on an open shot. "Open shot" can be VERY subjective at that age. I'd build on the passing concept, teaching why they are passing (to find the open person closest to the basket) and what an open shot looks like. I'd even use the "you get what's in the bag" for other fundamentals in a game like X amount of rebounds, loose balls, etc.

On your 8-10 yr olds, I'd over emphasize the spacing big time. If you decide to play 5 out with cuts, the 5 out should be REALLY out. It will open up the middle big time unless you're playing against a zone, even then it still opens things up. You could try having a pass then cut system, if cutter doesn't get the ball they set a pick for someone, that person cuts and so on.

Basketball offense isn't just about passing, but I'm big on ball movement. My son is now playing in a very competitive 6th grade league, the teams that dominate understand clearly what it means to move the ball around. The teams that rely on one or two kids for their offense tend to get shut down, quickly. You'll be doing their future coaches a huge favor if you teach them about ball movement early.

CROB, Thanks for the info that really helped a lot. do you think I will get more done on offense if I just practice with the 5 on the court instead of doing a scrimmage and try to coach like that. My big problem is time I only get 1 hr once a week to practice and it is very strict. I coach on a navy base, so that explains the practice times.

Also on a different note. I have a couple of parents that I know might be getting frustrated cause they probably know more about the game of basketball than I do, I see them on the side trying to coach thier kid, or I see them pacing as if they are frustrated. The way I see it if they dont like what I am doing, tough they should of volunteered at the begining of the season.

One more thing, what is a good rim hieght for both the leagues. They have my 6-7 using a 8 ft rim, which most of them cant even reach when they shoot the ball, my 8-10 are using a 10 ft goal and it is hard for some of them.

#5 Coach Rob

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 01:28 AM

After reading through your last post, I'll throw out a few general suggestions before replying to your questions. If you don't have an assistant coach, I'd try and get one on both teams for the simple reason that you'll have your hands full. You can do it by asking parents that seem like they know about basketball to help with drills. If one seems to fit with your style, I'd ask them to be your assistant. I also wouldn't be shy about asking parents to help in practice when you need it. That helps develop relationships and lets them see what it's like to coach.

I'd also develop a coaching philosophy and present that to both teams. If you let the parents know ahead of time what your goals and expectations are up front, it will save a lot of headache down the road.

do you think I will get more done on offense if I just practice with the 5 on the court instead of doing a scrimmage and try to coach like that.

With most concepts you're trying to teach, it seems to work better if you break it down and walk through it first. Walking through the offense with no defense, then bringing a defense that is just there as a presence (no stealing the ball), and eventually moving to a more normal speed. Having enough time is obviously a factor here. If you do scrimmage, I'd recommend a no dribble scrimmage for part of it. This really makes the kids get open, help out, and make good passes.

My big problem is time I only get 1 hr once a week to practice and it is very strict. I coach on a navy base, so that explains the practice times.

I've experienced this for many years and hear this complaint a lot. I dug around using parents on the team, old contacts with other leagues, etc. and found a smaller gym that I could schedule for an hour each week (for free). I used it just to let the kids play 3 on 3. Didn't make it mandatory, but presented it as an option for the kids to get more play time. It allowed me to use the main practice for drills and walking through concepts.

If that can't be done, make sure you plan out your practices ahead of time. If you can put time limits on the drills and keep it moving, you'd be surprised how much you can get done when you're prepared. Breaking down part of the practice into drill stations (rotating groups of 3-4 kids through each station) with parents helping also works well. I can e-mail some sample practice plans (and sample coaching philosophy) if you send me a message with your e-mail address.

Also on a different note. I have a couple of parents that I know might be getting frustrated cause they probably know more about the game of basketball than I do, I see them on the side trying to coach thier kid, or I see them pacing as if they are frustrated. The way I see it if they dont like what I am doing, tough they should of volunteered at the begining of the season.

Part of what you're seeing is pretty typical, in fact, after my 6th grader's practice tonight, I took him to one end of the court and started working on some things I saw during his practice. Nothing against the coaches at all, just some things I wanted to tweak. Asking those pacing parents to help in the drills might ease some of that wondering on your part.

One more thing, what is a good rim hieght for both the leagues. They have my 6-7 using a 8 ft rim, which most of them cant even reach when they shoot the ball, my 8-10 are using a 10 ft goal and it is hard for some of them.

The 8ft rim for 6-7 yr olds is unfortunately pretty typical in most rec leagues, going up to 8.5 or 9ft for 8-9 yr olds and 10 yr olds start using the 10ft rim. I'm all about the kids being successful (and learning proper form) at the younger ages, so I'd lower the 6-7 y/o's down to at least 6.5 or 7ft and go from there. Rim height is one of those things like what age is it okay to allow stealing the ball. If kids are still learning how to dribble and stealing is allowed, the game turns into a mess and no one really learns the fundamentals.
-CRob

#6 hollad6636

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 09:56 AM

I agree that trying to run a set offense at the 6 and 7 year old age group is very tough because they are very literal. If the play is to pass to the wing and cut they are going to pass to the wing no matter what and it will create a lot of turnovers.

Focus on defense and transition as you will get a lot more scoring opportunities from transition than a half court offense. Run a lot of ball handling drills and teach them to rebound and outlet to the point guard as quickly as possible.

Some of the best things you can teach them to improve their game as they get older is the jump stop and pivoting. I see so many kids who can't do this by the time they get to middle school. It will really make them stand out if they can do a decent job of dribbling the ball with both hands and they can pivot out of trouble when they get to middle school.

Rim height has always been an issue at the younger levels as it creates so many bad habits as the most all kids just don't have the strength and form to shoot at a higher rim. Work on layups for games and in practice continue to work on shooting form. Guide hand stays still, flick the shooting had wrist and hold until the ball hits the ground.

Good Luck!

#7 GeorgeC

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 11:37 AM

At the younger age, a lot of turnovers occur because the kids just hold the ball and the other team knocks it out of their hand or literally rips it out. If nothing else, you get a tie-up. We run a pivot drill and emphasize the importance of holding on to the ball. Line the kids up in a row, arms spacing, each will a ball. Walk down the line, and as you talk, wap the ball out of their hands. They will quickly get the idea that they are supposed to hold the ball. Then, start teaching pivoting. The kids have a lot of fun trying to hold on to the ball as you hit at it. One of the simplest teaching moments.

#8 coachjd

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:55 PM

i think you should teach the kids basic plays at the young age. when you run set plays, the kids are asked to get into their position on the court, and then follow some basic instruction to run the play. the plays should include the fundamentals you are teaching in practice. at the age of 6 and 7 i would limit the passes to one pass per play. Your plays should start with the point guard. The 2 or 3 guard should provide screens so the guard can clear him/herself and be able to pass. The kids should cut towards the basket when receiving their pass. I found a bunch of good plays for this age group at basketballplans.com. they sell youth basketball plays for ages 5 thru 12 years of age.
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