Years ago

Teaching skills to kids

Hi all

As I enter my first year of coaching I am feeling absolutely overwhelmed with all the different skills I need to teach my u12 players.

Where do you start? It is simply impossible to practice every single skill in one session as there are so many to teach.

Would it be a good idea to go straight into shell drill and walk them through it, or break it down into smaller parts before introducing the whole thing? (eg. just work on denying a pass)

Another issue I am concerned about is the behavior of my u12's. Even after making them run punishments they are still sometimes joking around and not running drills properly. Any suggestions on what to do here?

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Pauly B  
Years ago

We've all been in the same spot before and it's easy to get overwhelmed at first but with a little persistence you'll be fine. Not sure if you're coach rep or domestic but hopefully these pointers can be of some help.

Defensively, I'd start with teaching them the basic defensive stance, hand position and how to slide. Your players will need a reasonable understanding of individual defensive basics first, before they advance to shell drill and other team defense concepts.

Offensively, basic ball handling, being able to dribble with either hand without looking down. Shooting, keep the kids in close and focus on correct shooting form. Passing (chest, bounce overhead to start with), correct technique, make sure they put some muscle behind it. Soft passes get stolen. Layups (both hands) & footwork (pivoting, forward & reverse, etc)

Depending on how many hours you get with the kids it can be hard to get through everything. If your short on time choose a couple of things each session for O & D and encourage the kids to work on everything at home. Some will, some won't but there's only so much you can do.

Try to keep training fun and don't keep each drill going for too long. Bored kids will lose interest and act up. Try to make the drills competitive rather than just doing line drills but make sure you keep the standard where you want it to be.

Kids that are having fun are much easier to coach than kids that are just doing it because they're told to

Reply #442076 | Report this post

Years ago

You da man Pauly B! Appreciate the advice

Do you suggest mixing up training sessions with skill work and team drills? (eg. work on skills then running offenses)

I personally find that when drills are fun they tend to forget about performing the skill properly and worry more about beating their team mate.

Do all drills have to be fun? Because some of the ones I have been taught aren't exactly that, however they are great at developing skills. As I said I find they tend to misbehave more when doing fun drills heh

Am I meant to accept some misbehavior and just ignore it to some extent? They are very young so I can't expect perfection in regards to their behavior can I?

Reply #442079 | Report this post

Years ago

Dont waste too much time with boring, repetitive, stationary skills that have little relationship to actually playing. Less is more. Develop some basics and get great at the basics in game situations.

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Pauly B  
Years ago

Is it rep or domestic?

How many sessions per week & how long is each session?

Try to use the fun stuff as a reward for completing the other drills at a satisfactory level. Say to the kids something like, "If we do this drill to the acceptable standard, we'll do this "fun activity" Dangle the carrot a little as a reward good behavior & execution.

It's also really important to clearly define what acceptable behavior is. It's reasonable to expect that the kids listen to your instructions and aren't watching what's happening on the court next to you while your talking. If you see wondering eyes, stop, tell them to concentrate on what you're saying, then continue.

Keep your instructions simple and try not to overload them with too much detail. Emphasize one or two things for each drill.

Every coach is has their own definition of acceptable behavior. Personally, I don't mind kids having a bit of fun if they're waiting in line as long as they not distracting the kids in the middle of the drill and they're ready to go when it's their turn. You should also look to eliminate or reduce the length of lines in your drills where possible.

If you find the standard of any drill dropping (even the fun ones), stop the drill, remind them of the standard you expect, then continue.

Reply #442082 | Report this post

Years ago

How would I develop their left hands without doing some form of boring/repetitive drill?

I know what you are saying and I do like scrimmaging and giving them advice as they go. But isn't some form of boring/repetitive drill inevitable?

Or are you saying do something like dribbling lines where they go up and down the court dribbling and tell them at the end they are going to have a race?

Reply #442083 | Report this post

Years ago

Rep Pauly B, so I'm trying to keep things a little more on the serious side but not too serious.

1 session per week and its 1 hour and 30 mins.

I have already spoken to them about acceptable behavior and what will happen if they misbehave. (Punishments, less court time for some etc.). I thought something like that would scare them into behaving a little bit more but it hasn't so far.

I think two ball knockout at the end of each session would be a good one if they work hard.

And your right about every coach having their own definition, I'm just not sure what sort of coach I want to be at the moment lol.

Reply #442084 | Report this post

Years ago

Every kid needs a ball, cheap rubber crap is fine if that's what they can afford. Tell them to dribble it for 5 minutes a day. Standing, sitting, while they are watching TV, whatever. Concentrate on keeping your hand spread and keeping the ball in your hand as long as possible (so they aren't batting at the ball). Sure, not every kid will do it, but how many ball handlers do you need?

First thing teach them to pivot. This is even more important than dribbling, you can make a game of it. Pivot 90 degrees left on one whistle. Pivot right on 2 whistles, 180 pivot on a long whistle etc. Switch to back pivots etc.

You can even do a defensive drill to show that kids that they should always be able to pivot to keep the ball away from a single defender.

Passing - stepping into a two handed chest pass, hands following through (same follow through as shooting, but for both hands). Same form for a bounce pass. Overhead two handed passes. You can fake a 2-handed pass, but not many kids can fake a 1-handed pass. Teach them to pass with 2 hands first.

Catch a ball and jump-stop. Catch a ball and stride-stop (teaching them which foot is their pivot foot). Tie that to your pivot and passing training.

If you can get all your kids able to pivot and pass, then even your less coordinated kids won't be anyone near as fearful or traveling violations and being pressured. A big kid who can't dribble, but who can catch the ball in the post, pivot and shoot is still an asset. The big kid who can rebound, pivot to find a guard and give off the ball is an asset. Even guards will benefit from knowing how to square up for a shot, keep a ball away from a defender without taking a dribble etc.

At that point you can run no-dribble scrimmages that allow the kids to employ everything they have learned.

Start a shooting drill without a ring. Concentrate on form shooting the ball straight up, snapping your wrist. Then bending your knees and transferring the energy from your legs to shoot the ball higher. Then you can pair off so that kids are "shooting" the ball to each other a small distance apart. Yes this will be boring for some of your kids, but you want everyone to be confident they can get the ball over the ring without heaving with their shoulders.

Good luck!

Reply #442086 | Report this post

Years ago

Is it a good idea to make a list of team rules and hand it out to all of them to take home?

If they break any team rules then I can fairly discipline them?

Reply #442089 | Report this post

Years ago

083. Setup games. Maybe chair basketball but they have to dribble with their left only. Dri bble chasey and those that are 'it' can only dribble with their left. There are 100s of competitive games with defense and offense involved. And..... dare I say it make sure that the drills are competitive...yes, that means there will be a winner and a looser.

Reply #442090 | Report this post

Years ago

Games sound fine to do throughout training so I am open to that.

I am just worried about variety. I do know some dribbling drills that are fun and where they will learn, but is it ok to do mostly the same drills consistently all year?

I know of some coaches who love doing it because the kids know what to expect and how to run the drills.

I am overwhelmed at how many different drills there are to teach skills.

Reply #442093 | Report this post

Years ago

Try to give them a basic core activity but throw in variations.

For example, after teaching them the standard layup loop, throw in something different. Before they can rejoin the rebounding line, I make them do things like touching the baseline, sprinting around the half, running to the corner and doing 5 defensive shuffles along the sideline, 5 jumps to touch high up the nearest wall, passing at the circles on the nearest wall, etc.

You could also put down cones and make them do a slalom as part of the layup, change the angle they approach the backoboard, change the type of layup they need to do, include a stationary defender, challenge them to score 20 in 2 minutes or 10 in a row, etc.

Reply #442130 | Report this post

Years ago

pauly b of the best coaches my kid ever had.Would bronze him and put in a cabinet if he would let me.....

Reply #442139 | Report this post

Years ago

Try and avoid discipline punishing all for one isn't useful instead remove the nuisance. Where ever possible promote and reward positive behaviors, encourage and try not to highlight negative behavior get them on board.

No drills that have kids standing and waiting long, if you need to run 2 drills at once this minimises the chatter opportunity.

Kids love challenges - set goals and targets be.

Instructions for drills should be short and precise, then as the drills in progress add coaching points and individual player feedback.

Reply #442156 | Report this post

Years ago

Anyone know any good dribbling drills for me then? In particular ones that teach them how to use their non dominant hand.

All I can think of is the dribble knockout game and basic dribbling up and down the court in lines.

Reply #442184 | Report this post

Years ago

Also is writing up a list of team rules for training and handing it out to them a good idea?

That way they have been told the rules verbally and on paper, so if anyone breaks a team rule they will be immediately punished

Its not to harsh to say that if a player isn't giving me their best effort and is misbehaving at training then their court time will be reduced?

Reply #442216 | Report this post

Pauly B  
Years ago

It would be an excellent idea to give the kids a list of team rules in writing. Make sure you give the parents a copy as well so they're fully aware of what the expectations are. You're more likely to have first time rep parents in U12's so they'll be new to the expectations of rep ball as well.

If you have an assistant coach I would also suggest you get them to keep a substitution log. It can help you to monitor how long each kid has been on the court for in case they're out there too long or if a player has been on the bench too long. There's not a coach alive hasn't thought they played a kid more/less than what they actually have. It's also handy to have the log should a parent want to discuss playing time (BTW, never do that directly after the game, too much emotion). Having evidence to back up your position will help you tackle that one. For example, the team I was assistant coaching on last year had a parent that believed her daughter was only playing about 6-8 mins a game when in fact she was playing about 12 mins per game (28 mins game total game time 4x7 min qtrs)

If you're looking for drills I'd suggest going to YouTube and just start searching and watching. I find watching videos of the drills in action much easier to pass onto the kids than trying to learn them from drawings. Also a good idea to watch other teams train and see what drills they're doing and copy the ones you think would be appropriate for your kids.

Reply #442241 | Report this post

Years ago

Cheers for the feedback once again Pauly B. You sound like a great coach yourself

I found this ball handling video featuring Dwayne Wade and it made me feel a lot more comfortable see him doing drills that u12's are meant to be doing....

Very reassuring to hear him talk about fundamentals and even he does very basic drills.

I might do something like this to start every training with my team, but I will add more dribbling moves in. What do you think Pauly?

Reply #442253 | Report this post

U14 coach  
Years ago

I'm a first year coach, granted of U14 boys, and i did feel overwhelmed at first.

I only get 45 minutes to train them a week, so i break it down into 10 minute drills, working on all of offence, defence, passing and dribbling and rebounding separately.

I find they stay MUCH more interested if i make it competitive. For every drill i break them up into different "teams" and assign points to individual achievements eg 2 points for a bucket, 1 point for a put back, 1 point for a defensive steal, 1 for a defensive rebound etc etc. The five (i have 7 players) with the most points are my starting five for the next game.

It makes them super competitive amongst themselves and my starting five is always different. Even my two "all star" players get stints on the bench because they get outworked by the others.

Just hang it out, find what works and stick to it :D

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