The Press and Youth Development

Here’s a poll I just posted on twitter and I’m interested in hearing people’s opinions. This is in regards to coaching kids in the 3rd-5th grade.

If you have twitter, feel free to vote and then explain your reasoning with a reply. I have my own thoughts but I’m going to keep them to myself until the poll is closed.

2 thoughts on “The Press and Youth Development

  • If you’re not going to press at those ages, the game should be 3v3. Presses take advantage of weaknesses, but HC offense/defense skills are not developed sufficiently at those ages to handle the complexity of 5v5. I don’t see how walking the ball down court to run the coach’s play is better developmentally than playing a game in the chaos of a full-court press where one team or the other tends to get layups.

    I suppose the question revolves around:
    (1) What skills can children of this age perform competently during a game?
    (2) What game creates more opportunities to use those skills?
    (3) What skills do players need to master next?

    Or, from a philosophical standpoint, should the games center on the skills that are easier to master or harder to master?

  • I would agree with Brian that the games shouldn’t even be 5v5 yet at that age but would add that I think it should be that way with a press or not. Many gyms have shorter courts at the side baskets that you could use to have simultaneous full court or half court games going on. 3v3 on a short (50-60 foot court. If you chose full court this would provide transition but more scoring opportunities with the shorter court. Another advantage would be that many side hoops don’t have a 3 point line so kids would be less likely to stop at the 3 point line and might shoot jump shots from a little closer which wouldn’t require so many heaves. If you play half court, you could have 4 games (24 players w/ 4 balls) going at once.

    The majority of kids aren’t strong enough to throw a long, accurate pass, so their age and maturity would be a detriment vs a press (especially in leagues that insist on 5 v 5. It would be like asking Little League players to pitch from a 60’6″ mound and run 90 foot base paths. They aren’t developing more skill that way and it puts an overemphasis on size and strength.

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