Maybe it sounds strange and too some it just crazy. At least thats how I guess some see it, when they only practise teamskills.
When you coach young players no matter if they play senior basketball or not, maybe a pure youth team or one 17 years old player at the seniorlevel, you have responsability to these young players to give them the tools to be the best they can be.
And as a new coach starting out its almost impossible withoput guidence and knowing what is needed. I have seen so many young players reach the seniorlevel very early since they hade talent, but once there almost all technical training stopped and development of the player only improves in areas like experience and playing fot the best of the team, sometimes also phsyicality they improve allthough veru rare in Scandinavia.
What do I then mean with the headline?
I have preached about developing individual players with understanding for teamplay and not teamplayers with a understanding for indivdual players.
YES, you will propably not win as much as the coach that is going for developing teamplayers, with tons of tactical stuff in eearly years, but you will win further on if you keep up the individual focus in practises.
YES, it will take a longer time for your team to play good basketball and get easy scores.
YES, it will be frustrating when you are playing that X and O`s coach who uses setplays with 3 backscreens and pick and roll in a very early age, but your reward will come, it just comes many years later.
I big issue for me is making the players think the game and of course then also understand the game. So my first offense is always a motion offense that I have used for many many years now. There are some rules in my motion offense, but it allows the players to create of the dribble, create from cuts, create from inside/outside game, using screens and I could just write all aspects of the game. Set plays will not do that, they give the player i solution and if that solution is denied by the defense, houston we have a problem!
If the player hasn`t learned the game before to advanced setplays, the will be very static and do many more turnovers and the offense will become like a traffic stop in Stockholm. Moving slowly, sometimes very fast, and if you are lucky you get a opening.
Back to the motion:
I use 9 positions in offense (corners, wings, point, lowposts, highposts)
The outsiderules are:
- If you cut to the basket you always cut to the weakside
- If you cut from the weakside, you continue to the strongside
- If you pass the lowpost you screen away
Insiderules are (there is no static center, but a insideposition)
- This players is the only ine who cans creen the ball
- If insideplayer moves outside with a cut, screen or spacning, he/she comes back in with a screen, cut:
Everytime a players comes to a new position hes/she has 2-3 seconds to make the best choice possible.
The best choice will always be:
Screen, cut or spacing (taking a new position without cutting to the basket)
One of these will always be the worts solution, but still it will not destroy the offense, like if somebody moveds the wrong way in a setplay.
How does offense start?
It can start in several different ways
- PG`s can dribble the ball side, middle, diagonal to get the ball in play.
- They can fo course pass up the court also.
- PG`s can dribble the ball to the wing
- PG can pass it and follow for handoff
- PG can start with dribble handoff
- PG can of course as most of the times just pass it to the wing.
- PG can call for wing players for a handoff at point.
- Insideplayer can come up and play pick and roll at the point to start the offense
Keys for developing a sound offense for youth as I see it are:
- Reduce dribbling, so its only used when neede
- Spacing, the most important as I see it
- Moving without the ball
- Reading and reacting or as some say act dont react (to me its the same thing, since you have to react, to act)
- Creating one on one situations for the players
As the players get older screens become more and more common and learning the read the defense in screening situations is very important, but often forgotten, since its not needed so much in ages 0-16, if you set a screen it works many times without reading.
Once you get older the defense will have solutions fot that backscreen, donwscreen, staggered screen and now the players must be able to read the play and most cant, so they end up in the bench.
As a youth coach I think in the early years you should focus on spacing, moving without the ball and attacking from dribble or from basketballposition.
Attacking from the dribble doesn`t mean that every player who gest the ball, should dribble just because he can. I saw a game som days ago, where every players dribble the ball as soon as the got it in perhaps 80% of their offenses. It was TO´s heaven if there is such a place......and defense had a blast just standing and watching until they got the ball from a steal or a very bad shot.
Most new coaches have a superoffense that they saw at some seniorlevel or a offense they played themselves that they will start with and they see it work, so they dont see the problems with doing it.
They will to WIN makes us coaches do smart things but also very STUPID things and as have written many times as new coach you need someone to help you with experience so you get on the right track from the start.
There is that classic KISS
K= Keep I= It S= Simply S=Stupid and that a great law to follow in the begining of coaching.
But 95% will not if somebody doesn`t guide them.
Practises will be run from their setplays and they will become god at running THOOSE offenses, but do theese offenses really have all aspects of the game in them, well dont think so.
Coaches of seniorteams in clubs should be much more activ in getting the clubs youth coaches t do the right thing, since they need god players it should be a big priority, but moste times its not and that can only mean one of the following things:
- The coach doesn`t know what is needed, his team is doing OK and the players coming up is OK, so verything is OK......NOT! They should be the best they can be!
(If a club doesn`t have a skillplan for the players, HC`s need to act on it)
- The coach is just waiting for a new opertunity someother place
- The club doesn`t want him/her messing with the coaches, NO green light.
- He is afraid of conflicts with other coaches
- He is a seniorcoach, a maintainer, good with words and motivating players but knows very little of how to develop players. The same coach just plays 5-5, shoots freethrows, and shoots 2 and 2 even if he had 10 year olds as he would with seniorteam, maybe som waeve and some layups also :-)
In best cases technical drills without instructions and corrections.
Next chapter will be Developing basketballplayers
Chapter 1 - Becoming a basketballcoach "Empty book"
Chapter 2 - Becoming a basketballcoach "Doing wrong when doing right"
Chapter 3 - Becoming a basketballcoach "Will to win is to loud, the kids cant hear you"
Chapter 4 - Becoming a basketballcoach "Dealing with parents and players as a new coach"
Chapter 5 - Becoming a basketballcoach "Yearly plan and practiseplans, what to do"