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3rd-Grade Basketball. REALLY necessary to full-court press the entire game?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by exmediahack, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member


    Just got back from our game with my son. He - and his teammates - love basketball. They win a little less than half their games but, like most 7- and 8-year-olds, they shake off the losses and celebrate the wins.

    For two straight games now, the opposing coach has run a full court press the entire 40 minutes. Not after made baskets only. On every in-bounds play.

    We won today by the delightful score of 11-8. Lost the first "all FCP game" 12-6.

    Usually, our scores are in the high 20s/low 30s.

    What I don't understand is that why opposing coaches are willing to make the game less fun for BOTH teams. Kids love to shoot. We spend 2 1/2 hours a week teaching them plays and, as coaches, we insist on not pressing until the very end. If the opposing team runs plays with precision and beats our defense...great. It gives us something to teach the next practice.

    Our coaching philosophy is that we would, at THIS age, rather lose by 12 or 15, work to improve a little each week and keep the kids interested in coming back for the next season instead of winning 11-8 with a combined 68 turnovers -- most of them because of the press, the turnover and the pressing team turning it back over in all the excitement.

    Yes, our league is "competitive" and we know that going in. But, for the long-term, these coaches are suffocating the interest and zapping the enjoyment. Tne kids are not growing in the game because it is different than what they will usually encounter.

    Am I out of bounds to make a crack or comment about "teams that just HAVE to FCP the whole game" next time out?
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    A lot of youth leagues around here have press limits - how much, can you do it with a certain score differential, that kind of thing.

    Your best retort today would have been, "Hey, Coach K, how'd that press work out for you?"

    Teach the kids to have fun at that age. The real shit comes later. I'm reminded of a great Valvano line when he told about a dad picking up his 8-year-old from camp.

    "The dad says, 'What does he need to work on?' I said, are you serious? He's eight. He needs to work on being nine."

    YGBFKM Guest

    Kids should be taught that basketball is all about shooting three-pointers, watching your shot miss, then bitching to an official as your teammates run past you to play defense on the other end of the court.
  4. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    They should be teaching the kids the basic fundamentals, like shooting and passing. The more complex stuff comes later when they are old enough to really understand it.

    At 8-9, the focus should be on basic stuff, getting exercise and (like Moddy said), having fun.
  5. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Pressing should be iron-clad illegal for any level under junior high school (with the exception of the trailing team in the final two minutes of the game). One warning for each team, then technical fouls.

    Otherwise the game simply degenerates into a one-on-one contest where the two star point guards take turns stealing the ball from each other and shooting layups, and the other 8 players standing there and watching them. After about two possessions, it becomes clear which point guard is better at stealing the ball, and they're going to win.

    Now once you get to the next level -- junior high -- they should be ready to both press and be pressed. When I coach at that level, I press and press a lot. Once you have some of the ground-floor fundamentals down, like dribbling, passing, picking up the ball, etc etc, pressing and playing at a faster level gives kids better experience in learning how to play, create and adapt on the fly. Plus it gets/keeps them in better shape and pretty much forces you, Mr. Coach, to play a full-rotation substitution pattern, which usually keeps the parents quiet.

    But at the lower levels, it does nothing but fuck up the game.

    (See also, base-stealing in kids' baseball/softball)

    Of course, you also have the other side of the coin: the dickknocker coaches who have a couple kids who can handle the ball, so they get the bright idea of running a 4-corners. If you think an 11-8 game is brutal, you should see a 5-1 game.
  6. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    and that is the point here.

    I don't mind our team losing.

    I DO mind their only exposure the past couple of weeks to be some knock off of the 1988 Oklahoma Sooners running the amoeba defense. It's like watching 4-year-olds play soccer. The ball rarely leaves the area between the circles.

    Which is a terrible way for kids to grow with the game and learn more...
  7. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    The fifth-sixth coed league I coach in bans pressing except for the last minute of each half, or unless you're behind in the fourth quarter.

    I rarely use it. First, unless you have amazingly athletic players, all that happens is you watch the ball fly to the other end of the court in a hurry. Second, it doesn't teach you how to play real defense. In my league, a lot of teams jump the point guard the moment he or she passes midcourt. I don't draw plays, but I have them practice against that.

    I instruct my players to not pick anybody up until the 3-point line. I figure they actually learn half-court and team defense that way.

    Even when I was an assistant on the seventh- and eighth-grade level in that same coed league, we didn't do a lot of pressing -- for the same reasons. Players got confused, or our players weren't quick enough to keep up, so the ball went flying downcourt. For us, at least, it always worked better to have the defense beat the ball up the court than worry about pressing.
  8. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Pressing in third grade? Damn. When I played at that age, we couldn't play defense past halfcourt.
    I coached a 12-14 year old team a couple years ago and you had to play man to man in the first half, then you could press and do whatever you wanted in the second.
    The kid I coached with (we were both 25 at the time, no kids on the team) we taught defense over offense. We taught a trapping zone defense and how to correctly double team so we could do it in the first half.
    So in a playoff game, douchebag coach plays his first half offense - where we can't zone and trap - like this: Best player brings it up the right side of the court and he has the other four stand on the left sideline. We sent a kid over to double team and he bitched to the refs about that not being a man to man defense.
    Nearly everyone involved was way to worried about winning, but I was proud because by the end of the season our "C" players were better than any other C player in our league.
  9. Chef2

    Chef2 Well-Known Member

    Paul_Westhead just tuned in, and doesn't know why.
  10. printdust

    printdust New Member

    That dude is a John Wooden or Bob Knight in the making. And a damn good dad. I'd like to see his personal trophy room.

    In the meantime, I've got to go shoot mine in the ass for misbehaving (I'm kidding).
  11. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I'm surprised they make third graders play 40-minute games. High school games are only 32 minutes...
  12. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    I have far less of a problem with coaches pressing at younger ages than I do with coaches of youth basketball teams below the junior high level who spend more than five minutes of any practice working on "plays"

    That, to me, is a much bigger waste of time and is not teaching kids how to play the game.

    And I've seen some very good fifth grade teams who pressed the entire game and the scores turned out to be 40-36 or something like that.
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