Basketball for young kids

Heinie Wagner

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Nov 14, 2001
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We just had our first great parent incident of the season.

Player didn't make the travel team. He did the previous season, but his parents pulled him with about 3 games left in the season because they felt he wasn't getting enough playing time. They were also convinced the coach was terrible. Evidence was, of course, a losing record. We figured he wasn't going to tryout for this season. He did and looked a little better, but didn't make the team.

Turns out a spot opened up on the team a couple of days before the first game. This player being next on the list was invited back.

After the first weekend of games, he never showed up for practice. Turns out his parents pulled him again because he didn't get enough playing time. They had it timed to the second. First games of the season when he had practiced with the team once...
Wow, you talk about wanting and teaching the wrong things out of sports. Too bad for the kid.

Did they pay?
 

Heinie Wagner

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Oh and I forgot to mention the nifty half court press the other team used the entire second half.
That is awful. Nobody is learning anything except poor sportsmanship and bad habits when one team is pressing and trapping an overmatched opponent.

Our "A" travel league has a rule - no pressing, no trapping, no fast breaks up 20 in 5/6th grades, up 25-30 in 7/8th grade. Our club's 6th grade "A" team is really struggling, I've had to complain to two other towns about their 6th grade coaches breaking this rule while winning by 40+.

It's absurd. What are you trying to teach kids?
 

robssecondjob

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We have the 20 point rule as well in the older leagues that allow a press. It is religiously enforced by the officials. Taking things out of the coaches hands is needed it seems.
 

Heinie Wagner

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We have the 20 point rule as well in the older leagues that allow a press. It is religiously enforced by the officials. Taking things out of the coaches hands is needed it seems.
Good for your league. Our league rule is not referee enforced. The feeling is that refs do many different leagues and it would not be evenly enforced if we left it to them.

Coaches sign a document that they have read the rules and agree to abide by them. Then it's up to town coordinators (like me) to reinforce the league specific rules. Certainly not "religiously enforced".

I've seen refs in AAU and Travel call every hand check, every touch foul on a team that is pressing/trapping when they're up 20 and I think that is a great use of official's discretion. I wish more of them would do that.
 

Cumberland Blues

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The no fast breaks thing - if the coaches will do it - seems the best way to slow the onslaught of an over-matched opponent. The league my kid plays in enforces both a no press and no zone rule - but if the kids are running off every steal, rebound or block - it can still get out of hand in a hurry. My kid's team was playing on Saturday against a team that had lost by 40+ the previous week (and his team was on the winning end of an even more lopsided game that week). Not wanting the score to get out of hand two weeks in a row, my kid's coach just told the kids no fast breaks from the get go. They still won handily, but the score was reasonable (final score was something like 37-23) and I think both sides got something out of it. Had they run at every opportunity, they'd have won by 30+ easily and nobody would've learned anything other than our kids have played more basketball than their kids - which was apparent just from watching warm-ups.
 

Heinie Wagner

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The no fast breaks thing - if the coaches will do it - seems the best way to slow the onslaught of an over-matched opponent. The league my kid plays in enforces both a no press and no zone rule - but if the kids are running off every steal, rebound or block - it can still get out of hand in a hurry. My kid's team was playing on Saturday against a team that had lost by 40+ the previous week (and his team was on the winning end of an even more lopsided game that week). Not wanting the score to get out of hand two weeks in a row, my kid's coach just told the kids no fast breaks from the get go. They still won handily, but the score was reasonable (final score was something like 37-23) and I think both sides got something out of it. Had they run at every opportunity, they'd have won by 30+ easily and nobody would've learned anything other than our kids have played more basketball than their kids - which was apparent just from watching warm-ups.
Great job by your kid's coach!
 

Winger 03

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Back to games after the break. Got a little closer against a pretty poor team 41-11. At least we cracked 10 points and kept the score to 30 or less.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Sorry to hear that Winger.

Would your league allow you to stop the game after it gets to a 20 point margin and have the other team scrimmage among themselves for a few minutes, then you do the same? Or mix the teams up so you can have competitive play?

If it's really that awful, sometimes the best lesson you can teach kids is to know when to walk away from a bad situation and find a better use for your time. I don't know if you are at that point, but I am not of the mentality that you never quit on something. There is a right time to say enough is enough.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Our 7th grade basketball game yesterday was played on a small court, maybe a foot from 3 pt line to sideline and 10-15 feet short.

3 of our last 4 games before this were 12-19 point wins over the other top 3 teams in the league. We beat this team by 24 the first time, but they're decent, so I'm not sure what was going to happen.

Loyola Marymount vs Michigan (1990) for 7th graders broke out. We won 86-74. We had 5 guys in double figures, it was a ton of fun.
 

teddykgb

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I played on some really bad CYO teams when I was young -- maybe not quite as bad as being described in this thread but we seldom went to the gym expecting to win. I wouldn't overrate how much winning matters at these young ages. It's really fun to try to execute shots and plays. The key is having a good enough ball handler to be able to get into the half court and try something. If I were coaching now and in one of these situations, I'd just try to get the other coach to back off a press or to call off the dogs on stealing the ball before an attempt at offense has really been made. If every kid gets to throw up a few shots and you get rolled by 50 I doubt the kids will care all that much.
 

Winger 03

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This is a strange league with like 40+ teams and divisions etc. I do not sense a feeling of cooperation among the teams when getting run like we do. As noted up-thread in a game that we lost by 30+ the other coach was half court pressing until the end of the game.


Sorry to hear that Winger.

Would your league allow you to stop the game after it gets to a 20 point margin and have the other team scrimmage among themselves for a few minutes, then you do the same? Or mix the teams up so you can have competitive play?

If it's really that awful, sometimes the best lesson you can teach kids is to know when to walk away from a bad situation and find a better use for your time. I don't know if you are at that point, but I am not of the mentality that you never quit on something. There is a right time to say enough is enough.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Nov 14, 2001
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This is a strange league with like 40+ teams and divisions etc. I do not sense a feeling of cooperation among the teams when getting run like we do. As noted up-thread in a game that we lost by 30+ the other coach was half court pressing until the end of the game.
Sorry, that sucks. The culture around youth sports is broken. It's a tremendous shame because sports has such incredible potential to positively impact the lives of so many kids.
 

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
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Good for your league. Our league rule is not referee enforced. The feeling is that refs do many different leagues and it would not be evenly enforced if we left it to them.

Coaches sign a document that they have read the rules and agree to abide by them. Then it's up to town coordinators (like me) to reinforce the league specific rules. Certainly not "religiously enforced".

I've seen refs in AAU and Travel call every hand check, every touch foul on a team that is pressing/trapping when they're up 20 and I think that is a great use of official's discretion. I wish more of them would do that
.
I do AAU.

I LOVE doing that.

No jungle ball on my watch.
 

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
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That is awful. Nobody is learning anything except poor sportsmanship and bad habits when one team is pressing and trapping an overmatched opponent.

Our "A" travel league has a rule - no pressing, no trapping, no fast breaks up 20 in 5/6th grades, up 25-30 in 7/8th grade. Our club's 6th grade "A" team is really struggling, I've had to complain to two other towns about their 6th grade coaches breaking this rule while winning by 40+.

It's absurd. What are you trying to teach kids?
The leagues I do it's usually 20 points for no pressing.

And then some of them are really prickly and go to a half court trap.

guess who's never getting the benefit of the doubt if there's contact?
 

Heinie Wagner

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The leagues I do it's usually 20 points for no pressing.

And then some of them are really prickly and go to a half court trap.

guess who's never getting the benefit of the doubt if there's contact?
Awesome! I like the way you think. Let me know if you ever want to ref travel games in North Central CT :)
 

BJBossman

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Awesome! I like the way you think. Let me know if you ever want to ref travel games in North Central CT :)
Haha.

My winters I'm kept pretty busy between 2 towards in Northeastern CT (near UConn), but I'm always down for more games. I'm no stranger to doing 3 games in the morning and then driving to do 3 more games in the afternoon/evening. I think the furthest I ever had to do to pull double duty like that was Tourtellot back to my normal reffing places.
 

troparra

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Seriously, this stuff rankles me. I keep getting kids in high school who don't know anything about defense. A kid needs to know how to close out, especially a banana closeout, before he can trap. I highly doubt after a few weeks of practice at that level, that team has mastered banana closeouts. I'm 19 practices into our high school season which is 38 hours of practice time and we will not get to traps until winter break. My kids who are older, more experienced, and more athletic than 7th graders are just beginning to learn defensive transition and scramble situations after a month of teaching and drilling everything above. Once we're done with one-defender back, two-back, etc. we'll move on to full court man press, and then trapping. What bothers me as much is now coaches on the other side feel like they need to teach 7th grade kids how to avoid and handle traps on offense instead of more fundamental skills they're all so desperately in need of knowing.

EDIT: And why do most youth coaches play zone and trap and so on? Because it makes them look like they're "good" coaches. Schemes exploit the athletic and skill vulnerabilities of the young in order to put points on the scoreboard and checkmarks in the win column, the two things most parents only notice or care about. Not saying you guys necessarily but it's largely true.
I'm glad I decided to re-read this thread, because I have those same exact thoughts. My son is on his school's 7th grade "B" team, and in probably half his games, if not more, the opponent runs a full-court press or a half-court trap. Most of them do it for 3 quarters if not all game long. I get so irritated at these coaches who have 7th grade B teams pressing all game. My wife thinks I'm nuts because of this. I've talked to a few other parents, but they seem to be of the mind that our kids have to get better at beating the press. So I'm glad to read something that fits with my own thinking.

I just don't understand it. Are these coaches really trying to accumulate "Ws" in 7th grade B team basketball? The B teams are not very good. My son's team is not that good, the pressing/trapping teams are not that good. The trap works so well simply because in some cases, the kid with the ball doesn't have the ability to hold onto it with two guys hacking at him. Or, the kid with the ball can't pass it far enough or with enough velocity to not get stolen. Or the kid with the ball can't pivot away from the defense without traveling. While trapping can (and has) helped my son's opponents win, I don't think it helps develop players' skills. Like you, I think teaching traps and presses should come after kids are able to dribble, make layups, and so forth, not to mention learning how to play half-court defense.
 

Heinie Wagner

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While I agree with you about the absurdity or placing too much emphasis on wins at the youth level, I full court press and trap at the youth level (8th grade A this season) and fast break as much as possible on offense and will continue to do it at the 5th-grade level where I'll be coaching next season (not really trap with 5th graders, but pressure the ball full court). I'm not talking about crazy presses with three 5th-graders chasing the ball, but full court presses build on sound, man to man, pressure defense principles.

Why? I want to maximize the number of possessions in the game. I want to play all 10 players. I want to encourage all 10 players to take chances, make mistakes and learn from them, handle the ball, take shots, etc. I want to make every practice and every game a speed and agility workout in addition to basketball training.

Most of the teams we play against walk the ball up the court and want to slow it down, run a set play, if that doesn't work, reset and run another set play. If we let them, 40-second plus possessions would be common. Playing all 10 players in 4-minute shifts, there would be shifts with just a few possessions where some players never touch the ball. I don't think that is fun. Many of the coaches we'll compete against are happy with 30-40 point games in 8th grade. I want to score 70, that is fun. We had one game last year where the other team pressed and ran as much as we did and it was the most fun game I've ever coached, 86-74 in a 7th-grade game, it was awesome.

We play some weak teams where pressing doesn't make sense and in that case we won't, there is no sense in making the game non-competitive in the first few minutes. My point is, it can be equally as brutal to play a team that plays slow with the overemphasis on winning. I don't think full court presses are the problem so much as the overemphasis on winning.
 

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
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While I agree with you about the absurdity or placing too much emphasis on wins at the youth level, I full court press and trap at the youth level (8th grade A this season) and fast break as much as possible on offense and will continue to do it at the 5th-grade level where I'll be coaching next season (not really trap with 5th graders, but pressure the ball full court). I'm not talking about crazy presses with three 5th-graders chasing the ball, but full court presses build on sound, man to man, pressure defense principles.

Why? I want to maximize the number of possessions in the game. I want to play all 10 players. I want to encourage all 10 players to take chances, make mistakes and learn from them, handle the ball, take shots, etc. I want to make every practice and every game a speed and agility workout in addition to basketball training.

Most of the teams we play against walk the ball up the court and want to slow it down, run a set play, if that doesn't work, reset and run another set play. If we let them, 40-second plus possessions would be common. Playing all 10 players in 4-minute shifts, there would be shifts with just a few possessions where some players never touch the ball. I don't think that is fun. Many of the coaches we'll compete against are happy with 30-40 point games in 8th grade. I want to score 70, that is fun. We had one game last year where the other team pressed and ran as much as we did and it was the most fun game I've ever coached, 86-74 in a 7th-grade game, it was awesome.

We play some weak teams where pressing doesn't make sense and in that case we won't, there is no sense in making the game non-competitive in the first few minutes. My point is, it can be equally as brutal to play a team that plays slow with the overemphasis on winning. I don't think full court presses are the problem so much as the overemphasis on winning.
Maybe you're the one travel team that is well coached.

But 99% of the teams I ref who try to play like that look like chickens with their heads cut off. Fast breaks with layups that rocket off hte backboard and don't touch the rim. Long passes that just roll down the floor and out of bounds.

And the press is just herding cats.

My ref partner at the game and I look at each other after the game and go "did anyone learn anything during that mess?"

the answer is usually no.

kids need to learn how to actually run set plays, and what the damn defensive shell is. The kids who play hack, slap and chase the ball like you described, typically don't.
 
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BJBossman

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I'm glad I decided to re-read this thread, because I have those same exact thoughts. My son is on his school's 7th grade "B" team, and in probably half his games, if not more, the opponent runs a full-court press or a half-court trap. Most of them do it for 3 quarters if not all game long. I get so irritated at these coaches who have 7th grade B teams pressing all game. My wife thinks I'm nuts because of this. I've talked to a few other parents, but they seem to be of the mind that our kids have to get better at beating the press. So I'm glad to read something that fits with my own thinking.

I just don't understand it. Are these coaches really trying to accumulate "Ws" in 7th grade B team basketball? The B teams are not very good. My son's team is not that good, the pressing/trapping teams are not that good. The trap works so well simply because in some cases, the kid with the ball doesn't have the ability to hold onto it with two guys hacking at him. Or, the kid with the ball can't pass it far enough or with enough velocity to not get stolen. Or the kid with the ball can't pivot away from the defense without traveling. While trapping can (and has) helped my son's opponents win, I don't think it helps develop players' skills. Like you, I think teaching traps and presses should come after kids are able to dribble, make layups, and so forth, not to mention learning how to play half-court defense.
Gotta win.

Travel trophies are forever.

:: sarcasm ::
 

Heinie Wagner

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BJ - you should edit your last sentence, I'm one of the least likely people to be offended, and that last sentence made me cringe.

We work on making layups at speed, contested and uncontested, every practice. We also do a lot of stuff with no dribble or limited dribbling. Shell defensive principles are a key part of what we do too. We don't run set plays, we play offense by principle, read what the defense is doing and what the ball is doing and react to it.

Pressing, trapping and playing fast can be done right. Many teams don't, they take advantage of the developmental levels of young players to get W's with principles that won't work when they're older. But there is a right way to do it AND there is a right way to teach youth players to beat presses and traps rather than complaining that they shouldn't be allowed and teams aren't playing fair.
 

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
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BJ - you should edit your last sentence, I'm one of the least likely people to be offended, and that last sentence made me cringe.

We work on making layups at speed, contested and uncontested, every practice. We also do a lot of stuff with no dribble or limited dribbling. Shell defensive principles are a key part of what we do too. We don't run set plays, we play offense by principle, read what the defense is doing and what the ball is doing and react to it.

Pressing, trapping and playing fast can be done right. Many teams don't, they take advantage of the developmental levels of young players to get W's with principles that won't work when they're older. But there is a right way to do it AND there is a right way to teach youth players to beat presses and traps rather than complaining that they shouldn't be allowed and teams aren't playing fair.
there's a difference to me with 5th and 6th graders who literally aren't strong enough to throw the ball over the press, and older kids.
 

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
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BJ - you should edit your last sentence, I'm one of the least likely people to be offended, and that last sentence made me cringe.

We work on making layups at speed, contested and uncontested, every practice. We also do a lot of stuff with no dribble or limited dribbling. Shell defensive principles are a key part of what we do too. We don't run set plays, we play offense by principle, read what the defense is doing and what the ball is doing and react to it.

Pressing, trapping and playing fast can be done right. Many teams don't, they take advantage of the developmental levels of young players to get W's with principles that won't work when they're older. But there is a right way to do it AND there is a right way to teach youth players to beat presses and traps rather than complaining that they shouldn't be allowed and teams aren't playing fair.
I changed it, but you might wanna do some research on it. It's not even close to what you clearly think it is.
 

Heinie Wagner

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there's a difference to me with 5th and 6th graders who literally aren't strong enough to throw the ball over the press, and older kids.
5th graders can beat a press without being able to throw long over it. It's not easy, but it can be done.

The other side is, I've seen 5th-grade coaches have 3-4 sets plays that they're run and run and run, reset and run again, with kids who can't dribble, pass, catch, space or see the floor well enough to beat a press.
 

troparra

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My concern with the press was purely the skill levels of the players in my son's league. They were all 7th grade B teams. This is essentially the #16 thru 30 ranked players at individual middle schools. Maybe in basketball hotbeds, middle schools have 30 really good basketball players, but in our area we don't have that. The press simply took advantage of the fact that most of the kids on these teams weren't good dribblers or passers, or even catchers of passes.
I have no problem with a team running a press, at the 7th grade level kids should be exposed to it even if it's a B team full of not so good players. I just had a problem with teams who ran it for 3 or 4 quarters straight. Mind you, these were teams that were not good. They got lots of turnovers, but these didn't result in easy layups. They resulted in bricked layups or they would turn it over right back again. Literally, they'd steal the ball and then dribble it off their foot out of bounds. The only reason these teams scored was because they could get the rebound off the missed layup and put it back in.
 

Heinie Wagner

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I agree with the idea that you shouldn't be pressing if it's completely inappropriate for the skill level of the players. It's a shame that 7th graders don't have the skills to pass/catch/space/dribble with head up and finish layups at the necessary level to beat a press. Those skills should be the top priorities for any coach at that level and every level before that.

I think it's easy for coaches to blame their opponents "they shouldn't be pressing at this age" for exploiting their player's lack of skill in one area, but then be perfectly fine in other areas "pack it in the paint, they can't shoot from the outside", that doesn't make any sense to me.

15 players per team is brutal, but that's a whole different thread :)
 

riboflav

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I agree with the idea that you shouldn't be pressing if it's completely inappropriate for the skill level of the players. It's a shame that 7th graders don't have the skills to pass/catch/space/dribble with head up and finish layups at the necessary level to beat a press. Those skills should be the top priorities for any coach at that level and every level before that.

I think it's easy for coaches to blame their opponents "they shouldn't be pressing at this age" for exploiting their player's lack of skill in one area, but then be perfectly fine in other areas "pack it in the paint, they can't shoot from the outside", that doesn't make any sense to me.

15 players per team is brutal, but that's a whole different thread :)
In youth basketball, my major issue with pressing isn't so much about skill differential between the two teams as it is once the skill differential has been established, why keep pressing?

I have no problem with pressing in middle school because as you imply, we can teach kids to space the floor, move the ball, and move themselves AND this is even easier to teach when using the full court! BUT, where I draw the line is when you have pressing situations with teams who are clearly better (by far) or who are already easily ahead by 14 or 18 points and still pressing, especially when just 10 minutes into the game.
 

BJBossman

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I agree with the idea that you shouldn't be pressing if it's completely inappropriate for the skill level of the players. It's a shame that 7th graders don't have the skills to pass/catch/space/dribble with head up and finish layups at the necessary level to beat a press. Those skills should be the top priorities for any coach at that level and every level before that.

I think it's easy for coaches to blame their opponents "they shouldn't be pressing at this age" for exploiting their player's lack of skill in one area, but then be perfectly fine in other areas "pack it in the paint, they can't shoot from the outside", that doesn't make any sense to me.

15 players per team is brutal, but that's a whole different thread :)
7th grade is about where pressing should start.

It's the age when they can also really psychically take the press on and have the strength to make longer passes to combat it.
 

BJBossman

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In youth basketball, my major issue with pressing isn't so much about skill differential between the two teams as it is once the skill differential has been established, why keep pressing?

I have no problem with pressing in middle school because as you imply, we can teach kids to space the floor, move the ball, and move themselves AND this is even easier to teach when using the full court! BUT, where I draw the line is when you have pressing situations with teams who are clearly better (by far) or who are already easily ahead by 14 or 18 points and still pressing, especially when just 10 minutes into the game.
5th and 6th graders should barely be playing games, much less pressing.

But coaches love to run it up cause they think they're the next Geno or Calhoun.
 

Heinie Wagner

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In youth basketball, my major issue with pressing isn't so much about skill differential between the two teams as it is once the skill differential has been established, why keep pressing?
I agree. Our league rules are no pressing up 20 in 5/6th grade and 25-30 in 7th/8th. I'll stop pressing up 20, or won't press at all against some opponents if I know they're going to struggle so much that it's not worth doing.

Pressing is also great agility/speed/stamina work for the kids doing it if you do it right.
 

Heinie Wagner

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7th grade is about where pressing should start.

It's the age when they can also really psychically take the press on and have the strength to make longer passes to combat it.
5th and 6th graders can take on presses if they use proper spacing, player and ball movement and are taught the necessary skills in catching, getting open, passing and ball handling.

If you're allowed to press and you don't, it's going to be very difficult to compete with teams that do press. If you press, you create more possessions and you have your players being much more active, this is great for player development.

I watch 5th and 6th-grade games where neither team presses and teams are very controlled and it looks like a contest to see who can run plays more effectively. I understand how a lot of guys think that is what coaching is all about. I disagree. The guys who spend the most time teaching plays are the guys whose teams can't break a press.
 

BJBossman

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5th and 6th graders can take on presses if they use proper spacing, player and ball movement and are taught the necessary skills in catching, getting open, passing and ball handling.

If you're allowed to press and you don't, it's going to be very difficult to compete with teams that do press. If you press, you create more possessions and you have your players being much more active, this is great for player development.

I watch 5th and 6th-grade games where neither team presses and teams are very controlled and it looks like a contest to see who can run plays more effectively. I understand how a lot of guys think that is what coaching is all about. I disagree. The guys who spend the most time teaching plays are the guys whose teams can't break a press.
I'm saying no one should be allowed to press in 5th and 6th grade.

And floor spacing doesn't do much good when the kids aren't physically strong enough to use it. Which was my point. Most of these kids cant' reach the passes that need to be thrown. It's why you see teams just run a jail break press because the kids can't even reach half court or even the 3pt line in some instances.

Kids also don't really learn much in those games. They get blitzed. Even if they recognize what the right pass is, they can't make it. So they stop throwing it. It's just a bad downward spiral. Let the kids learn the game first. Half of them will throw the ref the ball after a made basket, and don't know where to stand for the quarter opening inbounds pass. Or my favorite, shooting FTs. Getting them into the right spots is like herding cats. How about we get those right first before having them press?

i agree that kids don't need a lot of plays. They need some structure. But more things that allow for some improvisation. Running motion and flex, or basic hi-low sets vs the zone.

Kids can't remember most of the players anyway. My freshman bb team in HS, the coach had to gut all the plays cause half my teammates couldn't remember them.
 

Heinie Wagner

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I agree that kids get very little to nothing out of playing games that aren't competitive and coaches running ridiculous presses with 2-3 (or more) guys just chasing the ball is absurd.

You're playing at a very different level than I see in 5th grade if you have 5th graders who don't know where to line up for a free throw. I agree that should come before pressing. Maybe I'm talking travel/AAU and you're talking YMCA/parks & rec?
 

riboflav

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Not physically strong enough at 11 & 12 yrs old to throw the ball from one spot to the next? Wow. That's got be some godawful basketball.
 

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
179
I agree that kids get very little to nothing out of playing games that aren't competitive and coaches running ridiculous presses with 2-3 (or more) guys just chasing the ball is absurd.

You're playing at a very different level than I see in 5th grade if you have 5th graders who don't know where to line up for a free throw. I agree that should come before pressing. Maybe I'm talking travel/AAU and you're talking YMCA/parks & rec?
No I'm talking travel ball (local not AAU) for 5th through 8th graders. I do mostly towns around UConn, but I've gone as west as glastonbury, newington, and farmington.

The strength thing is usually an issue just for 5th grade boys and 5th and 6th grade girls.

But frankly, no one actually learns anything then. Which is what travel ball really is about. It's a feeder program for the local HS program. Or at least, that's what it should be. What these Jim and Geno wannabes make it is a totally different story.
 

riboflav

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No I'm talking travel ball (local not AAU) for 5th through 8th graders. I do mostly towns around UConn, but I've gone as west as glastonbury, newington, and farmington.

The strength thing is usually an issue just for 5th grade boys and 5th and 6th grade girls.

But frankly, no one actually learns anything then. Which is what travel ball really is about. It's a feeder program for the local HS program. Or at least, that's what it should be. What these Jim and Geno wannabes make it is a totally different story.
A Geno wannabe would have kids strong enough to pass more than 10 feet ;)

This is surprising to me. I coach HS varsity and have coached 5th and 6th grade travel/AAU girls for many years. My point guard this year can easily pass the ball the length of the floor. She's 11.
 

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
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A Geno wannabe would have kids strong enough to pass more than 10 feet ;)

This is surprising to me. I coach HS varsity and have coached 5th and 6th grade travel/AAU girls for many years. My point guard this year can easily pass the ball the length of the floor. She's 11.
If every team had that at PG I wouldn't see all 5 defenders in front of the division line.
 

riboflav

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If every team had that at PG I wouldn't see all 5 defenders in front of the division line.
Well, not necessarily. Don't underestimate vision and decision-making. There's a team we played out-of-conference this year who played a diamond press entirely in the backcourt and this was at the varsity level where my "PG" is 5'10.
 

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
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Well, not necessarily. Don't underestimate vision and decision-making. There's a team we played out-of-conference this year who played a diamond press entirely in the backcourt and this was at the varsity level where my "PG" is 5'10.
At the varsity level, sure. (my coach did a 2-2-1, and my favorite was the extended 3/4 court 1-2-2 which was more of a slow down than a real press).

Worked really well against Crosby (a top 10 team in the state at the time). Took away their fast break offense. Made them beat us in the half court game.

But at the travel level, 5 and 6th grade for both genders, catching the ball is a challenge. And throwing those long passes isn't easy. So you just blitz the crap out of the first 2 passes and you're in great shape to get a turnover.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Nov 14, 2001
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But at the travel level, 5 and 6th grade for both genders, catching the ball is a challenge. And throwing those long passes isn't easy. So you just blitz the crap out of the first 2 passes and you're in great shape to get a turnover.
If you are coaching 6th graders and they struggle to catch the ball, boys or girls, then you're not doing something right.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Simsbury, CT
USA Basketball and NBA Announce Age-Appropriate Rules and Standards for Youth Basketball Competitions
Date: Mar 20, 2018
  • Smaller basketballs for ages 7-8 (size 5, 27.5” circumference) and ages 9-11 (size 6, 28.5” circumference).
  • An eight-foot basket for ages 7-8 and a nine-foot basket for ages 9-11, when possible.
  • No zone defenses for ages 7-8 and ages 9-11.
  • Equal playing time throughout the game for ages 7-8 and throughout the first three periods for ages 9-11 (coach’s discretion after the third period).
  • No 3-point field goal scoring for ages 7-8 and ages 9-11.
  • A 24-second shot clock for ninth-12th grade and a 30-second shot clock for ages 12-14, when possible.
https://www.usab.com/news-events/news/2018/03/youth-rules-and-standards.aspx