Coach Jay
Years ago

Coaching Help Desperately Needed!

Hey Guys

So im 6 weeks into my coaching caper with U10 boys. They're picking up things slowly (defence they've picked up super quick!), but ive got one huge issue i was hoping to get some forum help with.

Right now, they're just not scoring. In six games they've scored 4, 5, 2, 2, 4 and 0 yesterday.

The issue is, they struggle to get the ball passed halfway. All i do in training with them is dribble/passing drills, so they're getting more confident in that respect, and they do really well in training, but as soon as you put the other team on the court they break down. (keep in mind, all of them bar one player have only played 6 games-they've got no more experience than this)

Im at a loss at what else i can get them to do (in training or on game day) to improve this ball movement that i'm not already doing. Anyone with any experience/help to give me would be greatly appreciated!!!

Topic #39839 | Report this topic

Years ago

3 and 5 man weaving drills helps with ball movement...

When your team trains is there another team on the other end of the court or in the stadium, ask the other coach if they want to train for a portion of training together, and get the other team to play defense on your guys. Just an idea

Reply #597001 | Report this post

Years ago

Patience coach Jay, patience...

Reply #597003 | Report this post

Years ago

Can someone make this into a movie? I've got no suggestions, but I'm barracking for this team.

Reply #597005 | Report this post

Coach Jay  
Years ago

There is another team, however they're U12 girls so wouldnt be any help

I'll try the 3-man weave thanks! At this stage i havent brought it in yet because ive just been trying to get them not to double dribble or travel when they have the ball but i think it might be time

I have infinite patience haha (i think you have to when you coach regardless of age group). It's just a little unnerving when you teach them something in training (ie running to the split line and cutting back to give themselves more space on a sideline throw in and lose their defender)and they do it so well in training, and then come game time they dont do it at all haha. I even went through it before the game started and again during a time out when we had the throw in and they still ignored me haha

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Air Goorjian  
Years ago

Might need to engage Air Bud for this one...

But they need to be tested in practice more against each other and plan some inbounds plays, e.g. dummy runs by decoy to get over half court.

Reply #597014 | Report this post

Years ago

It is obviously very frustrating for the players ( adn their pareent) let alone the coach when your young team con't get the ball into the front court.

SOme leagues have a "mercy" rule where once a team is up by, say 20pts, they are not allowed to play defence unitl the ball is over half court.

Maybe try using netball tactics i.e. take the dribbling out of it. You'll need to let them practise this at training too. Maybe 3 on 3 taking the ball up the court with no dribbling until they get over half way. Get the defenders to be a bit passive at first, but eventually as the offensive skills pick up so the defenders can become more aggressive.
The skills of dribbling, passing, leading and receiving all seem easy until defenders are in the way, so the kids need to learn to control the ball and themselves so they can get better at these skills under "pressure". This gives the team a new focus, instead of just thinking about trying to get a shot away, they can take some safisfaction out of getting the ball into the front court with control.

Reply #597021 | Report this post

Years ago

I understand with young players, particularly this young, you just want to get the basics right and avoid going overly tactical. With that said, a few simple tactics can make things a hell of a lot easier.

#1 Figure out who you need to bring the ball up
To start with: figure out the best passer, figure out the best two dribblers and figure out the best tall player who can catch.

#2 Put them in the right positions on the court
Have one passing the ball in (this is your best passer), have two guards standing at the foul line (your two best dribblers) and have your tall guy who can catch around just inside the half way line.

#3 Provide a good opportunity to pass the ball in
Have the guard on foul line on the right side lead diagonally to the left to receive the ball, and his counterpart on the left side lead diagonally to the right to receive the ball as another option.

It will be easier for either of those to receive the pass instead of just standing making it easy for defence or running around randomly.

If neither of those are able to be passed to, then you have the tall guy lead towards the three point line or foul line to receive the ball as your emergency option.

#4 Beat the defence by passing, or dribbling through the centre

If you manage to get the ball to the diagonally cutting guard and that guard is met by defence - the player can:

a) pass the ball to the tall centre who can then pass it to the inbound passer or the other guard who are both streaking down the court

b) pass to the inbound passer streaking down the court

c) pass to the other guard streaking down the court

d) dribble through the centre taking on the defence

If you get the ball to the tall centre, he can

a) pass to the inbound passer streaking down

b) pass to either guards streaking down

c) pass to the other tall that is further down the court

Reply #597031 | Report this post

Years ago

Reply #597032 | Report this post

Years ago

Very good advice KET.

Reply #597039 | Report this post

Years ago

In my recent experience with that age group, one of the basic challenges is getting them to understand spacing. Get into the players heads that moving towards the ball is not what everyone should be doing, and KET's great tips above will be much easier to execute.

Reply #597042 | Report this post

Years ago

3 man weave achieves nothing. Never seen it used in a game!

They need individual skills, passing, pivoting, rocker step,cross over step, fake etc. Confidence in their own skills will help with decision making on passes.

Then get get into 2 v1 and 3v2 drills

Reply #597049 | Report this post

Very Old  
Years ago

In some cases kids at this age "foget" in the game situation because

1) they want the ball NOW

2) their parents are yelling at them to get the ball and dribble

To fix the 1) tell them and show them AT TRAINING, that they will Immediately sit if they don't keep spacing, run for the pass, look to make the pass, and run forward once they pass.

If you have 10 players at training, go three on none first, and get them to pass only forward, only to a player moving forward and to pass only to where their hand WILL be, and that they cannot pass back to the player who passed to them . ( this makes that player run forward to receive the pass of the next + 1 player.

Yes this is essentially a weave.

then add defense who cannot ( take the ball off the passing or receiving player once it is in their hands. this allows the passer to attempt a pass over/through defense, and allows the receiver to get control off the ball without the "gifted" defender preventing them to learn anything at all.

then go to 4 on 4 free-form with the above tules BUT immediately blow the whistle and sub OFF any player breaking the rules. Get them to understand that that is what you will do in a game. Add the concept of a max 3 dribble to pass, including the rule that if they pick up their dribble and then look for a pass they are off, they must "see" the pass by at least the 2nd or 3rd bounce and make it on the run.

I would also prevent them from calling out for the ball, as it alerts the slow defender and often only confuses the ball holder. I would immediately bench a "caller", i teach the cutter to move their feet and "show hands" to receive the ball, and the ball holder to look up the court for a moving player who was showing hands.

Once this is going, immediately penelise bad decisions and bad passes with a sub. the kids will soon learn that it is the responsability of the passer to make sure the free and moving target recieves the ball. they will also learn that it is the players without the ball who has the responabilty to move to get free, get forward and to show hands.

just give them immediate subs when they get it wrong - and they will pick it up very quickly. they will learn very quickly by doing and not by listening afterwards. just blow the wistrle, say " bad pass" or "not running" or "didn't show hands " or too many dribbles" or didn't pass off the dribble" and the new player comes into that team , toss the ball to someone or into the open, and let it start again, takes less than 3 seconds to stop and restart. the kids will pick it up. And if sometimes you get the call "wrong" - well then, thats what happens in the game, the kids have to learn to go with the ref's call and not bitch..

Don't give up, it can be fun !!

Reply #597053 | Report this post

Very Old  
Years ago

One thing that has always disappointed me is that with 10 players on the court, only only one ball. this means that ball handling skills are only in use by an individual at the most 505 of the time, and in reality less than 10% of the time on the court by most players.

we all recognise that teams that spend 50% or more of their possession dribbling lack team skills, yet in so many junior team trainings I see enormous time dedicated to dribbling, shooting and one on one skills that you know individuals will spend their own time on.

So if the best fast break coaches of all time ( Ralph Miller etc) ran entire team practices where 90% of the drills were about full court movement and passing, then why not start there ?.

Almost all of Millers drills are able to be given and ran by u/12 teams.

Reply #597057 | Report this post

Years ago

I'm assuming its a school team not a district team. I'm coaching the same age group at the moment.
definitely don't drag them if they don't space out. You want them having fun during training and games.
Forget 3 man weave as too complicated if they are struggling with the basics.

Quick fix for games - get the ball passed in as quick as possible as generally someone free or get them to throw it as far as they can and have them sprint as that spreads them out quickly, also relieves some pressure and opposition may not guard as close as looking for the long pass.

Depending on the numbers in the team and at training play 2on2 or 3on3 or so on where you pass the ball in so they get used to dribbling under pressure. Use a smaller area, i did the exact thing and used a wall as a sideline to create the boxed in feel and it worked well.

Play basketball line chasey where they all have a ball and have to stay on the lines they get used to bouncing running and dodging this way. As they get better, every time they change direction they need to change hands.

If you have to tell parents to be quiet if they are yelling constantly as you want them to be able to hear you.

Keep it fun number 1 thing.

Reply #597067 | Report this post

Years ago

Keep working on spacing and basic skills it will come eventually. The line chasey with dribbling is a good idea to practice their dribbling skills.
Try using small sided games like 3 on 3, 4 on 4 etc. maybe even 2 on 2, this will allow them to practice those skills with defence on them and in smaller game situations. Can also allow you to stop and point out things like spacing.

At under 10's I would definitely avoid benching them for things, under 10's is supposed to be fun and a place to learn and your team sounds new to basketball. You could bring them off so you can tell them something as a teaching point but then I would try to get them back on as soon as possible so they don't feel like they are in trouble for doing something (This won't help).

Reply #597083 | Report this post

Camel 31  
Years ago

A side note ; - The experiment. Two even teams .
One coach would tell them when they did good and the other didn't.
The team that got told when they did good became the better team.

Reply #597087 | Report this post

Years ago

Make sure all your kids own a ball. Even if its a crap $5-$10 K-Mart job. Ask them to dribble it for 5 minutes a day, preferably around the block so they need to move whilst dribbling. Show them how to keep their hand on the ball for longer to increase control (as opposed to just batting/hitting the ball as kids often do). Then they will be able to work on not looking at the ball while dribbling.

Inevitably they won't all do it, but you only need one or two kids who can dribble without looking at the ball and the court will open up for them.

Remind them that when they have the ball almost all the rules are in their favour. Dribble hard into a gap and they will get fouled a lot more often than the ball will be stolen cleanly.

Reply #597130 | Report this post

Years ago

I mean - are they getting the ball stolen or are they trying to pass their way into the frontcourt and getting picked off?

Reply #597134 | Report this post

Very Old  
Years ago

"Inevitably they won't all do it, but you only need one or two kids who can dribble without looking at the ball and the court will open up for them.'

this also means you have now identified the "good" kids and can forget about all the rest, they won't need to do anything in offense and can just watch the dribblers go full court for a layup, they can learn to play defense and then just pass it to the "good" kids who can go and score for the "team".

Your team will win in that age group and you can pass an extremely developmentally unbalanced group of kids on to the next age group/ school year.

all the parents will see that their kid needs to dribble the ball in order to get a shot and will scream at them to " dribble ", no matter what or whom is in front of them.

Sorry sarcasm alert.

Reply #597139 | Report this post

Years ago

The good news is, at the kind of ages we are talking here, effort and hard work can allow kids to deal with those who are naturally talented.

Bad news is, once kids hit the puberty ages, the less naturally talented/physically strong/tall are more likely to struggle almost regardless of effort - although this is more relevant in the world of district basketball.

A coach with 7-20 players for one training a week lasting an hour-an hour and a half isn't going to develop the skills of individual players all that rapidly. Parents need to recognise this, it's like a music instrument...a lesson a week won't make a student into a musician if they don't practice.

Even if it's for 15-20 minutes a day, or for a few hours on the weekend every weekend - a parent needs to have the child dribbling a ball around, shooting and passing.

Repetition of skills develops a) the muscles required and b) muscle memory, both absolutely vital to coordination, skill and quick thinking (as it becomes natural, develops the bball IQ and they can think about other parts of the game).

Reply #597151 | Report this post

Years ago

Very Old: We're talking under 10's here, some will practice. Some won't. That's just a fact of coaching kids that age.

Dribbling is an individual skill that can be practiced at home. Encouraging kids to do just that so you can work on more team-oriented/fun-stuff during training works better than the alternative IMO.

Of course you want to find ways to include the other kids. But there's nothing wrong with rewarding your best dribblers with more time advancing the ball.

Reply #597186 | Report this post

Coach Jay  
Years ago

Jick: They're getting the ball stolen. A lot. And when they do stop and look for a pass they cant find their way through the 8 players in front of them and their teammate (as is usually the case at that age)

Ive reiterated with the "weaker" ones they need to practice at home and they are. The stronger dribblers are naturally getting the ball, but when they have a five bounce limit before they have to pass, its not getting them very far before the ball gets turned over in the high traffic of U10s

Reply #597207 | Report this post

Years ago

5 bounce limit? Who's implementing that rule? I get it for when you're in your offence and trying to get movement, but while bringing up the ball that's problematic for weaker teams

Reply #597210 | Report this post

Years ago

Yeah dribble limits are frustrating.

Gives you an alternative to KET's 1-2-1-1 press break set-up. (And its a decent site to know about)

Reply #597270 | Report this post

Years ago

nice images by KET

Pass and Cut and Patience.

But also teach them to not stand in front of the player and scream for the ball. My suggestion is 3 strikes and out. Works a treat and the kid will quickly learn to pay attention and listen to instructions.

Reply #597587 | Report this post

Very Old  
Years ago


since some people seem to be focused upon the dribbling as being a major solution to the problem, I suggest that coaches download chapter 6 from FIBA's coaching ed page for 10-12 years olds.

read about the concept of running a teaching pattern of whole to specific and back to whole .

In particular the concept of the "base game" around which you introduce the individual skills

Pgs 152-159 are the essentials.

the green comment on page 157 shows the focus upon passing and player movement first, then dribbling , then finally shooting.

This is at odds with the old "5 Star" American based coaching clinic, which emphasised the individual fundamentals first.

IMHO the American players development system actually runs like this -

1) weed out those players who don't develop superior individual skills. - ( elementary school - early middle/junior high)- results in 60% loss of player numbers to next level

2) identify physically gifted ( late growth spurt) and/or individually skilled players and focus upon them ( Junior high) - results in 70% loss in player numbers moving to next level

2) focus your team strategy around the 2-3 superior players you have , which will result in their further improvement being maximized - as you only have 2 years for them to be productive ( Juniors/seniors years 11/12 - High school)results in 80-90% loss in player numbers to next level

3) recruit the outstanding individuals, and integrate them into your system of play as quickly as possible as you really have only 3 years in which to have them be productive - (College)results in 95% loss in player numbers moving to next level -

4) Pros..

The US system is really about the survival of the exceptional.

The aim of the FIBA systems is more likely to be able to produce players that will focus upon enjoying playing the sport as an adult activity well into middle age, regardless of their level of individual achievement.

end rant

Reply #597623 | Report this post

Years ago

Agree, Very Old.

The USA culture is so focussed on celebrating success that they don't want to know about so-called 'losers'. Sure, they provide lots of opportunities for all (well, that's what they say and it makes them feel good), but if you don't make it then you'll be sidelined pretty quickly.

Reply #597627 | Report this post

Years ago

Looks like a good resource. Thanks for posting.

Your 2nd link appears to be 2 a french translation.

I think the link you were after (English) is:

Reply #597710 | Report this post

Very Old  
Years ago

vous ne pouvez pas lire le français?

Reply #597722 | Report this post


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