Last month

Juniors in game development

My kid got into a rep team and is a first timer, bottom age.

So far trainings are really good, develop the kids equally. He is really enjoying them, gets on with the boys, no issues at all.

Game time is different. Our team is undersized and he is one of the taller boys. His responsibility is to wait in corner on offense while the guards bring the ball up. He's not allowed to bring the ball up during inbound passes or following (own or other's) defensive rebound.

He's been trained as a guard with his dribbling and shooting previously, has pretty good dribble and fluid shot technique, is not as fast as some shorter boys. Rebounding is certainly not something he's any good at yet.

In game development seems to be heavily focused on guards who bring the ball up and don't share it as much. Forwards/centres seem to only ever get the ball if they rebound following other's misses.
It just doesn't seem like kids develop at the same, or at least similar, rate this way. Is this a standard across different teams, or it depends on the coach? Is there anything I could constructively do, certainly don't want to disrupt the team, to change things for everyone's benefit?

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Last month

What offence does your club/ coach run? In our development year the team learned and ran 5-out motion offence, which is essentially a position-less. At least a third of our opposition were also running this. Players position in the corners as the ball comes up, but once it does they're all in motion.

You didn’t mention age group, but we are U12.

For us there are a few key ball handlers who bring the ball up the floor and guard the front court. Our guards aren’t determined by size, but by their ball handling, speed, agility, decision making and passing. That said, none of them are tall.

They all do the same shooting warm up and shooting drills. In game there is probably only two players who shoot midrange or a wide open 3, they’re the players putting up hundreds of practice shots at home every day. Everyone is going to the basket, so all are working on finishing skills.

Unfortunately I saw a lot of "stick the big under the ring" in our development year. This meant our tallest & strongest players were given the lousy job of guarding them and not getting a lot of experience guarding the perimeter or containing agile, quicker players. This year is different as they’re playing at a much higher level, the opposition are more athletic and the game is faster.

We have a couple of tall athletic players who may develop into guards if they continue to put in the work to prepare for opportunities in U14 or U16. At this age physical size varies wildly, especially for boys. I saw a lot of smaller U14 & U16 boys miss out this year in favour of taller / stronger players of a similar skill level.

Every player should be able to block out and rebound, so definitely have them work on that!

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Last month

To add, sounds like there's an opportunity here for him to develop some big man skills, in addition to the skills he already has and is working on at home or in domestic. These skills will be valuable even if his aspirations are guard.

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Last month

@love_bball what will be the role of the guards be if not bring up the ball? Ideally the best ball/fastest ball handler should bring the ball. And unfortunately, there is no equal development in basketball. I suggest for you to instruct your son to be more assertive in getting the ball once it has crossed the half court to run the play or create for himself, there should be a balance of both.

It can be an opportunity for him to work on his rebounding too. If he can rebound the ball on the defensive end, he can then start a fastbreak, bring the ball up to finish or pass.

If you want him to develop his ball handling more enroll him into an academy or constantly practice at home until he evidently becomes the best ball handler of the team. Or find a domestic team that will allow him bring the ball up. An option is to play him up an age group (lower grade) so he'll be the "guard" and can bring the ball up. Don't rely on rep as there are 10 players in a team and not everyone will be given 'equal' opportunity.

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Last month

I saw this a lot in lower age groups, it is one aspect that pushed me into coaching. Good players who can finish, have good iq, are a bit slower in leg speed getting told to sit in the corner, where they get wide open a lot and never used. Watching game after game of what I call footy kids, who are fast, competitive and control the ball, never passing to bigs and coaches not enforcing. I have seen many teams who should have won their age groups bomb out as the guards try to do it on their own. The side affect of this is that as they get into older age groups, they have a real fear of throwing the ball inside. Bigs make good seal inside and the guards are too scared to throw him the ball as his opponent is right behind him.

Reply #930076 | Report this post

Last month

Thanks all for your responses.
Here are a few things that I probably didn't make as clear as I should have.

Offence is 5-out motion offence with basic cutting. This is run in training and so far not really in games as it's either not enforced or kids don't listen.

Yes, have certainly realised a couple of games in, there's lots of other areas he can improve while playing like boxing out and rebounding, getting back, consistently sticking to his man and recovery if he loses him, etc. so, I've been working with him on that on off days.

Guards seem to be determined by size and not ball handling skills. In my opinion, my son is the best ball handler on the team. There are 2 other kids on the team that are almost as good and are faster, so have no issue with that. Other guards, 2 of which have limited handles and speed, are doing the point duties too.

The problem is if the ball doesn't make it past half court because of turnovers, not following simple setups, pressure d, or guards going between multiple defenders instead of passing.

Or when the ball is on the offensive end, shooting when not in position instead of passing..
He is pretty assertive and yells out for it, is open and rarely gets it.

What really gets to me is that after putting in the hard work and getting a defensive rebound himself and already running the break, he's told to pass as he's running past the coach midway. The other forwards are in the same boat. There's no opportunity for them to run the break ever unless he ignores the coach and just keeps going.. not something I would encourage him to do as I suspect this is not going to sit well if he does.

Reply #930097 | Report this post

Last month

Motion offence does take a while for teams to learn. Might need to give it some time. If his team uses it as their primary offence then the ball should end up in his hands and he'll get opportunities to use his handles. Mainly on the drive. When learning 5 out, our coach instructed our team not to run the fast breaks, instead to slow the ball down and set up the offence properly.

It sounds like early days for his team, the individual skills develop at different rates. It’s one thing to have the skill, but something else to execute in a game. This improves with time and experience. Training at game speed and with defence is important - hopefully his team is doing that.

Communication and leadership are good ones to work on. Talking on the floor, bringing good energy. Calling plays and running the offence can be done by all of the 5 in a motion offence.

If halfway through the season he’s still standing in a corner on offence and not moving or touching the ball, then it’s definitely not good for his development. That might warrant a new club / team for next season.

Reply #930107 | Report this post

Last month

That is frustrating to watch. And it will likely be like that for most of the season. These are 10 and 11 year old boys and I don't think that they'll improve that quick and learn the system until the later part of the season. It will be harder to watch once the L's pile up too. Some of the kids will lose interest as well when that happens.

However, just stick with it. Manage your expectations and as parents it's our job to keep our kids motivated and engaged, for them to improve. Since VJBL doesn't start until next week there could be movements within the teams up until the grading phase.

Reply #930123 | Report this post

Last month

Thanks for all your pointers.

Sounds like we're going to have to give it some time and hope things improve. I just really hope that he doesn't disconnect in the meantime (even as we work through various other aspects of the game).

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