How to Coach Youth Basketball
Thoughts on BASKETBALL POSITIONS...at the Youth Level
It is common (and TERRIFIC!) for parents to be proud of their kids. The kids will encounter many situations growing up where they are introduced to another adult that may be a friend of their parents, a new teacher, or a coach. As a side note, this is a GREAT opportunity to teach the kids to respectfully look the person they are meeting in the eyes, and grab their hand firmly and make an impressive introduction. Some day that person will be a potential employer or customer.
But, you know what happens, Dad proudly tells the person the kid is meeting, "Yes, Olivia is playing basketball this year."
And one of the next questions is always, "What position do you play, Olivia?"
Boy, do we LOVE to hear the kids respond to that question with, "ALL of them!"
The topic of this page is BASKETBALL POSITIONS. And, we think it is important to teach the kids the BASKETBALL POSITIONS that are part of this great game.
Really, it's pretty simple;
And, the Numerical Tags that are used:
1 - Point Guard
2 - Shooting Guard
3 - Small Forward
4 - Power Forward
5 - Center
But, we sure like this position the BEST as we teach the youth:
We encourage coaches to teach the traditional POSITIONS and discuss with the kids the roles and responsibilities of each position.
This link provides a very good description of traditional basketball positions
Wikipedia - traditional BASKETBALL POSITIONS.
So, this is what happens MOST of the time in youth basketball.
-Big kids play CENTER
-Little kids play GUARD
-The other kids play FORWARD
If possible, DON'T DO THIS!!
A couple other thoughts while we are in the recommended "DON'T DO" area.
TRY NOT TO:
-- Line the kids up shortest to tallest EVER - this is common to organize play and divide teams, BUT, those shorter kids feel it, and it is NOT a positive feeling.
-- Let the kids pick teams - the LAST kids picked, it does not help their confidence
These are just SUGGESTIONS, but they are based on many years of experience.
Back to BASKETBALL POSITIONS...
This is another one of those EASY to say, but HARD to do things. Those big kids are just naturally able to get more rebounds under the basket. And those little guys, they are fast and can dribble better.
Let's look at a typical 4th Grade Basketball Team
- Couple of them are about 5'5" (that's a big 4th Grader)
- 2-3 of them are barely over 4 feet tall
- 5 of them are about 4'8" (about normal 4th Grade height)
Now, take those same 10 kids, fast forward 6 years (they are now Sophomores - 10th Grade in High School) - WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?
Well, hard to say, but one of the big kids is now 6'5" and still growing. The other big kid, he's only 4" taller than 4th Grade at 5'9".
Remember that little runt at 4 feet nothing in 4th Grade, he is now 6"7" and an incredible athlete.
8 of the kids are on the High School Honor Roll, remember that's the most IMPORTANT thing!
3 of them are in the pep band and really into music.
BUT, the BEST basketball player is the 5'9" kid that was 5'5" in 4th Grade.
QUESTION - did you stick her under the basket and make her a CENTER in 4th Grade? Or, did you teach him to handle the rock and face the basket as a Triple Threat?
ANOTHER QUESTION - the 6'7" Athlete (the 4 foot nothing kid in 4th Grade), does he know how to play in the post with his back to the basket or does she just want to hang at the 3 point line?
Let the BIG KIDS bring the ball up the floor. Teach them to handle the ball and crossover, reverse, and spin. Teach them to Explode and Crossover and Deep Step. Teach them to use the Rocker and Shoot from the perimeter. Teach them to be a GUARD.
Play the little kids in the POST, and teach them to drop step, crab dribble, up-and -under, block out, rebound, make an outlet pass. Teach them to be a CENTER.
NO, it's not easy. I find myself working with a new group of kids often and have to RESIST the natural inclination to put the big kids under and little kids out.
But the message is, teach them all to be BASKETBALL PLAYERS at the youth level.
And in keeping with the theme of our site,
"Teach them HOW TO PLAY, not how to be GUARDS, or FORWARDS, or CENTERS!"
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