Everybody knows turnovers are huge offensive efficiency killers and live turnovers put your defense at a big time disadvantage. Turnovers for lay ups or the pick six can be really tough to overcome and are demoralizing for your team. These issues can be easy to chart and recognize but the key becomes in identifying, diagnosing, and improving the situation.
If turnovers are an issue for your team it can be helpful to have an assistant coach or trusted parent identify and chart the type of turnovers occurring and by whom. Common turnovers include traveling, passing, footwork, post entry, or driving single gap errors. If a trend is found this can then be addressed in your upcoming practice sessions.
As an example, our team’s most common turnovers are: 1. Driving the ball into a single gap and turning the ball over off a deflection or steal by the other team. 2. Being soft with ball against ball pressure and making poor passes versus pressure. To address this we have a 10-15 minute practice segment working on decision making and ball toughness when driving the ball and overloading the passer versus pressure. Sample drills and rules to correct are noted below of which could change pending the specific concerns with your team.
Penetration and decision making drills and rules for correction:
Passing versus pressure decision making drills and rules for correction:
At the youth level playing through mistakes and not looking over your shoulder are very important. The bench can be a great teacher to correct a player who is having significant turnover issues, however, this would be a last resort. It is important to follow your association playing time guidelines. For ages 13 and above it would probably be the time to let the bench teach for certain players.
Lastly, another way to bring value to taking care of the ball is to scrimmage to 3 points but if a team turns the ball over that is instantly a loss for that team. You will hear your players coaching themselves in these situations by saying things like make sure passes, value the ball, and make the simple play. We hope this article has given you one or two things to help your team take care of the ball better this year and be a more efficient team.
4th Grade Spacing and Cutting
When choosing to teach 5 Out Motion we typically initiate this around the 9 to 10 year old range or 4th grade. Below is a numbered pathway to introduce the offense influenced by Harry Perretta, retired women’s coach from Villanova University.
5th Grade Screen Away with Curl Cut
5th Grade Screen Away with Slip
6th Grade Pass and Ball Screen
6th Grade Slip the Ball Screen
There are a lot of ways to teach 5 Out Motion and various options can be emphasized based on your personnel. We have found that this numbered teaching progression and working on one aspect at a time has simplified the teaching process for youth coaches and players. Email us at email@example.com with any questions and as always feel free to share our content.
A welcome packet. is a great way for your youth association to make a good first impression and let your volunteer youth coaches know that they will be supported.
If you are interested in having this welcome packet, designed for coaching ages 5-8, customized with your school logo and contact information just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the title Free Welcome Packet.
These are some great edits to show your youth players various finishing techniques at the rim. The edits include two foot finishes (power lay-up, air'em, and donut all off the stride stop footwork) and one foot finishes (speed lay-up, inside hand finish, and reverse lay-up).
We tell our players to play off two feet in the paint when there is going to be contact and to go off one if there is daylight. The vast majority of the time in the half court situation we are emphasizing playing off two feet as we believe it gives players a stronger base to absorb contact and it slows them down to make better decisions.
One way we teach to play off two feet is with the stride stop footwork.
Have a great 4th of July week!
Having a protection plan when there has been no advantage created or against pressure can help improve decision making and offensive efficiency. The below video shows edits of the Nash dribble, Barkley move, stride stop, and protect-attack dribble. These can be great to show your kids (10 years old and up) a visual of what poise and patience with the ball look like.
A progressive teaching plan provides a long-term road map for team and individual player success and allows players to play and think the game for themselves versus remembering multiple set plays and continuities. Additionally, by obtaining baseline skill measures and having a clear understanding of what should be accomplished at specific stages of development, your decision making as a coach becomes improved and practices can be more specific and efficient.
For ages five through fourteen years old we have broken down our progressive teaching curriculum into three phases: phase I, Beginning Phase (five through eight years old), phase II, Basic Principles Phase (eight through twelve years old), and phase III, Developed Phase (twelve through fourteen years old).
In the Beginning Phase (five through eight year olds), the emphasis is on having fun and basic skills. The six basic skill concepts that we are hoping to accomplish were previously noted in our skill development chapter. On our Members Page we have all skill and strategy areas addressed with their corresponding drills and games.
We do not recommend playing five on five at this age or spending any significant time on five on five offensive and defensive strategies. The rim heights and ball sizes should also be less to improve success. The recommended rim and ball heights can also be found on our Members Page with simple five to ten minute take home drill sheets.
Basic Principles Phase
For the Basic Principles Phase (eight through twelve year olds) or the “Golden Age”, skill development is progressed to proper shooting form at the rim, cross-over step and direct drive footwork, change of direction move and change of speed with ball handling, and various ways to finish at the rim. This is a key time to get a solid foundation for proper shooting mechanics and ball handling with either hand. A progression of strategy to five on five defensive and offensive concepts is also done in this phase with emphasis on spacing, dribble penetration, and cutting concepts.
In our last phase, the Developed Phase (twelve through fourteen year olds), teaching is hopefully progressed to ball handling with equal symmetry for the right and left hands with beginning mastery of one to two dribble moves, squaring up at the rim at multiple different angles, progression of finishing moves at the rim, and grooving and repetition of proper shooting form off the catch and dribble.
If seventy to eighty percent of the players on your youth team can enter their high school years (fifteen years and older) with the ability to dribble and finish at the rim equally with either hand, shoot with good form (great follow through, one motion on the shot, and strong base), and can pivot against pressure you have done an unbelievable job of developing the skill level of your team.
More important than this, if your team has a joy for the game, has a work ethic, and can listen well, all the better for humanity. The drills and games associated with skill development and strategy for this phase can be found on our Members Page.
How long should your youth basketball season be? The maximum number of months per year in organized basketball recommended is four months for ages eight and under, five to six months for ages nine through eleven years old, and seven months for ages twelve through fourteen years old. If players on your team are going beyond these recommendations you run the increased risk for injury, breakdown, and burnout.
Having a Plan
To be an effective youth basketball coach it is important that what you are teaching is developmentally appropriate. By following a progressive plan with drills and games specific to each phase of basketball development your effectiveness as a coach will improve. Lastly, we have touched on this in past posts, but beyond drills and games it is important you are also emphasizing your core values and to be intentional with this.