Last month

Structured O v Fundamentals in Juinor Clubs

Interested to see what other coaches/parents experiences are at other juinor clubs when it comes to what is the direction from the club when it comes to implementing a structured offense vs teaching fundamentals through motion and read/react?

I have been observing my kid who is in his vjbl u12 team (2s) at a mid tier club who focus on basic motion princples (pass/cut/replace, drive and kick etc) and I have been really happy with how much it has improved his skills and confidence as player, particually as a taller player getting to play all positions.

On the flip side his friends from his domestic team who play at a big club with a very structured offense (flow) have not improved as much and talking to parents they are unhappy as particular as a tall the kid is being put in one position to screen and rebound and that is basically it.

Now they are VC and winning games but is this the best long term options for the kids? Teaching them one position when we don't know what they will grow in to and in particular the modern game requiring everyone to have good IQ and all round skills?

I have also noticed this large club does not have as many state team selections as I would expect for the number of teams in VC, so I am also wondering if being so structured is having an impact on kids not being able to show the necessary skills in these type of tryouts given they are not a foucs of the club?

Anyway was interested to get other views of people who have seen the pros/cons of both sides of structured vs key concepts.

Topic #51964 | Report this topic

Last month

U12s 5 out is plenty for them - everyone plays different spots and they all develop.
What you are talking about is player development v system development.
Our club has gone backwards - coaches not developing junior players at all - just condemning them and taking the flashy ones that dribble all the way down the court and chuck up any old shot because it's about who scores the most is the MVP in the coaches eyes.

Reply #941107 | Report this post

Last month

For me, at U14 and U12, we should have an offensive structure so athletes learn movement and spacing and understand different spots on the floor.

But priority should always be decision making. When to drive, when to pass, when to shoot within that structure. I'm a big fan of multiple movements and some "rules", especially pass and move (either cut or screen).

With such young age groups, I do not believe in defined roles (you pass, you rebound, you shoot). I expect all players to know how to play all positions, all players should have the ability to bring the ball up the court, all players should know how to drive, pass, rebound, box out.

I remember an old Bobby Knight coaching video talking about transition and he literally said "we don't let that guy shoot". Which blew me away that at NCAA level that was a thing. I expect all players to be able to do all things, at least try.

I consistently tell my athletes, you need the skills to be able to make the right decision. If the right decision is a left hand layup, you need to be able to do that. If the right decision is two dribbles, jump stop and bounce pass, you have to have the ability to do that, otherwise you cannot make good decisions. Likewise, the right decision might be a drive after one pass if there is no help defense or ball defender over-playing and not wait for the cut/screen. Cannot have structure over common sense, seen too many young athletes miss an opportunity because they're waiting for the next step of the offence.

So answer is both, develop individual fundamentals within an offensive structure still, but teach athletes to recognise opportunities to score outside of the structured offence (transition, mis-match, poor help etc).

Reply #941125 | Report this post

Last month

An interesting discussion and is actually one that has frustrated me for many years with the 36ers. There does not seem to be a structured offence that the team can fall back on when the shots from the "motion and redirect" are not falling.

Yes I am an old fart. I started playing in 1965 for South Adelaide with my Coach being Don Shipway. He was very much a fan of the structured offence and we spent some time each training session running through the basic pattern and the variations that could be used. The rest of the team had played together in under 12s and had a few years of experience. I was very raw when I started having come from 3 years of Primary School football but was tall for my age in 1965 anyway. I was about 6 foot tall and my mate was 5 foot 4. He was the point guard and I was the back up centre. There was no point us swapping positions. By the time I was in under 18s, I was playing off guard or point guard as I hadn't grown any more. My development came from countless hours in my mate's back yard practising shooting.

That 12 months under Don Shipway taught me several things. The first is do as the coach says if you want to get on the court and stay on the court. The other was that the team will always score points in a structured offence if executed correctly. We went through the season undefeated and after being put up to the higher division the next season, our first loss was by 4 points to the older South team. We made the finals that season as well playing against mainly older players. Four of out players made the state team.

The benefits of learning to play in a structured offence taught me that basketball is a team game and everyone plays their part. That is one of the most important things to remember to be successful. The Jackjumpers were not argueably individually the best team last season but they played how their Coach asked them to and that makes a big difference. Look at the Tiger Teams of the 1990s - it was a basic offence but they executed it well - Gaze to Copeland - dunk.

In younger age groups, and perhaps lower level teams, it is important for everyone to enjoy what they are doing but part of learning is working together - as a team. There does need to be a certain amount of structure though and it does need to be learnt early.

Reply #941126 | Report this post

Last month

12s and 14s should just be a 5 out motion. No set offense! Kids need to learn to beat their man one on one, and ball movement and player movement is critical. Pass,cut,replace. Keep it simple, teach fundamentals, and remember, SPACING IS KING!

Reply #941136 | Report this post

Last month

12s and 14s should just be a 5 out motion. No set offense! Kids need to learn to beat their man one on one, and ball movement and player movement is critical. Pass,cut,replace. Keep it simple, teach fundamentals, and remember, SPACING IS KING!

Reply #941137 | Report this post

Last month

There should be a good balance of both.

Reply #941139 | Report this post

Earlier this month

Totally agree that 12's and 14's should just play motion offence so they get to use fundamentals in 1 on 1 situations and you can use screens,dribble hand offs within the offence.

You can also go 4 out 1 in Motion as well.

Some coaches go overboard and teach the kids all these different offences and at that age it can be confusing.

The KISS theory comes into it and as they move up to 16's and 18's you can teach more X and O's because they then come up against Zone Defence.

In NSW i see a lot of 12's and 14's running presses(full court and half court) and trapping.

If you do not teach the athletes fundamentals then as they get older it can effect the way they play because they do not know the basics of Catch,Pass,Shoot and foot work.

Reply #941158 | Report this post

Karma Basketball  
Two weeks ago

Skills development is the responsibility of the individual player and their family (ie parents). There are plenty of private coaches and academies out there that will teach junior players the proper skills and fundamentals of the game.

What the player does in games is the responsibility of the Coaching team. Obviously, the more skills the player has, the more options the coach will have in using that player. So the player benefits by involving themselves in skills development that is external to the team environment in addition to the team training program.

The two main strengths of any junior basketball player are
-Versatility ... Ability to do many things well.
-Coachability ... Ability to do execute coach's instructions.

Many associations and clubs project a view that they are there to serve the players when in reality it is the other way round. The smart players and their parents quickly pick up on this and respond by taking personal responsibility for fundamental skills development and tailoring it to the individual player's requirements.

Reply #941360 | Report this post

Last week

Interesting discussion. I have two daughters who transitioned from metro rep juniors playing structured offense to teams that are less organized. The move involves not just a change in playing style, but also the loss of key playing relationships built over many years. Additionally, improvisation teams often include players considered second-tier at their home clubs when they were juniors.

When team offense is 95% improvisation, with coaches who are not strong influences, the following playing behaviors tend to emerge:

First, Greedy players who demand possession and won't pass. These players, often with dominant personalities, call players together to set up plays that invariably make them look good. Greedy guards tend to value themselves based on individual scoring tallies and ignore their low shooting percentages, stretched passes, and turnovers.

Second Dribble-first drivers. These players won't pass, fail to recognize the hard work of others in creating time and space through ball reversals, and instinctively drive into congestion to put up low-percentage floaters or layups. They have little understanding of number/size mismatches and become turnover machines when facing capable defenses.

Third Guards who meander and engage in hero balling. They don't fill the lanes during transitions and frequently drive to the basket on their own.

Fourth Pass-dependent bigs with reduced offensive presence. In weaker improv teams, bigs may be forced to support greedy guards by setting high on-ball screens that are often ignored. Teammates do not know how to react to off-ball screens set by bigs. For many bigs, this is the first time they realize the great service they had received from structured systems and quality guards at their former clubs.

How to cope? I offer two adjustments.

1. Inject accountability. Coaches need to censure guards that waste possessions. While a hero ball drive might make a highlight reel, consider the four previous attempts that resulted in lost possessions. Coaches may not excel at systems or plays, but they can at least track offensive possessions, note who was involved and who was not, and analyze the relative success rate of actions during transitions and against settled defenses. Club administrators, even without access to quality coaches, can arrange video coverage and study film. Real-time play often confirms coaches' intuitions, ignoring contradictory evidence. Psychologists call this confirmation bias, and it is prevalent in basketball. Meticulous film analysis helps bridge this gap.

2. Bigs need to be more conscientious and somewhat cynical in making reads on offense. Assess the propensity for ball reversals, whether teammates hurry the offense, and if particular guards use the screens set. In situations of less confidence or more uncertainty, bigs must work harder to gain superior rebounding positions on the weak side. When cutting, anticipate that the pass may not be good and do everything possible to improve it: cut in front of defenders, show clear hand targets, and be prepared to fight to keep passing lanes open. In general, avoid pick-and-roll situations if the guard struggles to pass, as they can become turnover hazards.

Reply #941592 | Report this post

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