Nitty-Gritty Basketball
Handling Young Players

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Handling Young Basketball Players
by Sidney Goldstein Copyright © 2004

A response to an email.

Appreciate your comments. I understand the problem. I just did a full day clinic with 3rd-8th graders. I kept players involved and interested for 5 hours. An amazing amount of time for a 3rd -4th grader. Of course, after the clinic the kids as well as myself were exhausted both mentally and physically.
Here is the key: don't spend too much time explaining. Get them going. Allow them to do things very wrong, knowing that you will gradually correct things over a period of time.
I think coaches are afraid to let players do things very wrong.
3rd and 4th graders are difficult to teach because of there limited physical skills. The nice thing about them is that they are not afraid to do things wrong, they have incredible interest. They will also practice things at home. So give them homework assignments for the most basic stuff like pivoting. They will come back better.
You can also think of things this way. The first time you do a drill players learn how to setup and do the drill. They may not be doing it right, but they are doing it. The next time you do the drill, correct one problem. The 3rd time stay on this problem or maybe go to another problem.
It's no easy job coaching and there is no real formula. Much of what I do depends directly on the group and the individual player. A college coach recently commented that the stuff I did with the players was not in the book. In a sense it was, I just combined several drills. However, having a storehouse of information, knowing how skills are learned, makes things a little easier.
And, you have the most difficult teaching job on earth, much harder than NBA, college, or HS coaching. Good luck.
Let me know what is, what is not helpful.
Sidney Goldstein

Your comments are welcome.
Sidney Goldstein, author of The Basketball Coach's Bible and The Basketball Player's Bible, has successfully coached both men's and women's teams over a period of 15 years.
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