"Team Ball" for 10 year olds

by Russ Barney
(Sammamish, WA)

Youth Basketball Picture

Youth Basketball Picture

I coach 10 year old boys basketball. We focus equally on fundamentals and "The Game".


The trouble I'm having is this; My assistant and I have avoided assigning positions to the kids, so each can experience the different roles.

We've tried to teach a simple motion offense so the positions rotate. But, only a few of the boys understand the concept and the system breaks down right away in games.

Are we better off assigning positions and having very specific roles for each kid, so that we have chance to run some basic plays?

Right now, the kids with skills just take over and don't play team ball. I'm finding it very difficult to coach the team concept, for offense as well as defense. Am I expecting too much from this age?

Any feedback is appreciated.

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Jan 24, 2008
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I Think You Should Assign Positions
by: Anonymous

You'd probably be better off assigning positions. I think it would help the skilled basketball players be willing to play team ball.

Chances are that in their head they think that if they're the only players who know the plays and everyone else doesn't, then they might as well control the game.

So i say hand out positions. Teach them what that position does and let them memorize it. And maybe if they grasp that you can slowly work them into other spots later on but not before they learn the first one.

Jan 24, 2008
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Excellent points James
by: Joe Waters - webmaster

Russ, James makes some very good points.

The 5 man out offense is my favorite for younger players as it allows them all to get the basketball facing the basket. From there they can utilize a number of basketball skills - pass and cut, dribble drive, pass and dish, etc...

I also agree with James on sitting the two star players out. This allows the team to play without them and forces the "rest of the team" to perform on the court.

As these star players are sitting out, it's important that they still remain a good team member. This means they should cheer and encourage their teammates.

Best of luck Russ.

James, thanks for the great advice - you sound like you run a nice program!

Jan 23, 2008
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Know your pain...
by: James

I am coaching the same age group & have the same challenges. My approach is to focus on a 5 man out motion structure, but in it's most simple form.

To me this is pass/cut/fill, that way they do all get to play all positions & in theory should all get to touch the ball at some stage. As part of teaching this I focus on them running a basic 2 man give & go & when this simple 2 pass move works it really lifts the whole team.

You could also try to make a team rule of at least 3 passes in the 1/2 court unless they get a fast break.

I also try to ensure that at least part of every game is played with my 2 best players sitting on the bench together to force the rest not to rely on them, but for the most part, these 2 kids do tend to take over.

This will happen no matter what I think as they just understand the game better. I try to make a point of telling them (the better players)when their decision making is poor & when they should use their team mates rather than go it alone.


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