Coaching Frosh Basketball 2.0 – Week 11

What an awful start to a week! We played again on Monday night, fell behind early, and were never really in the game. Our start against their zone was good, and we had some good possessions and good shots early. Our post hit a couple nice shots and a really nice hook. For some reason, after a couple possessions, we started to throw away the ball against a three-quarter court press. Most of the time, we made the right decision, we just threw a pass 20-feet over a teammate’s head or bounced the ball at his feet. We threw over the top to create a 2v1 and then threw away the pass rather than finishing. Once we got down, we started to hurry a little more and things devolved from there.  Read more

Coaching Frosh Basketball 2.0 – Week 5

We started with a game on Monday. I don’t like Monday games since Sunday practice is prohibited. Never know how freshmen will react after a day off. From the opening tip, we were in control, but we never really put our opponent away. When I spoke to the team, I did not have too much to critique: our defense was solid, we were getting open shots, we were rebounding better. Read more

Zone Defense and Player Development

Many coaches feel that youth teams should not be allowed to play zone defense. They believe that man-to-man defense increases player development. The perception is that zones are lazy.

It is true that zones can take advantage of young players’ lack of strength to shoot three-pointers and throw skip passes. However, for players this young, I advocate 3v3 play, rather than full-court 5v5 games.

As for player development, I do not understand the dislike of zones. I do not spend a lot of time with help defense and rotations with my high school team. Instead, I use general directions: no shots close to the basket and no wide open, catch-and-shoot three-pointers.

However, as I played in a 4v4 men’s league tonight (and played zone because one of our players was sore from painting his house all day), I realized that any team that can play a four-man zone understands help defense and rotations. As we talked about the game afterward, we were surprised at how well we rotated and covered for each other. We played with awareness and talked on defense.

If players practice in 4v4 or 5v4 situations, and play zone defense, they practice the same type of defensive rotations required to play great team defense. They develop help-defense skills and learn to help and rotate in a live situation rather than memorizing certain rotations in a shell drill and trying to apply those lessons to a game situation.

By Brian McCormick
Director of Coaching,
Playmakers Basketball Development League

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