Coaches' Clinics — Addressing the Problems in Many Youth Sports Programs

The Problems

  • Untrained youth coaches who don’t know how to teach basketball’s basics.
  • The loss of fun as the top priority — replaced by over-competitive pressure.
  • Too many elite leagues, teams, play-offs and tournaments at the expense of fundamental skills.
  • Pushing adult play models down onto younger kids.

The Solutions

  • Clinics that properly train coaches on what and how to teach sports to kids.
  • Adopt academy style approaches to coaching kids that emphasize skill-building and fun.
  • Refocus youth sports programs where they should be — putting learning and fun ahead of competition.
  • Implement small-sided play models that develop kids skils — use 3 vs. 3 instead of 5 vs. 5 for younger ages!

(90 minutes to 2 hours)

Get over being worried about winning the game
Philosophy about how to coach kids
Defining what are true “fundamentals”
Seeing the game from the kids’ perspective with the 9-pound green ball
Importance of gross motor skills
How gravity affects children’s skills
Basketball is a game of balance (and imbalance)

Foot Work & Pivoting
Can’t play the game without teaching footwork
Stopping with balance – curing traveling
Catching the ball – controlling the top half of the body
Running and jump stops
Pivoting without the ball
Pivoting with the ball
Catching the ball and pivoting Inside and outside pivoting

The most common dribbling errors
Dribbling – teaching it as a progression
Dribbling while kneeling
Dribbling while close to the floor
Forward dribbling
Backward dribbling
Dribble jump stop
Dribble jump stop and reverse
Dribbling against a defender
Dribbling at speed

Biggest problem in passing – body position and heaving the ball
No one-handed passes
Passing – teaching it as a progression
Starting chest passes with the “wall pass”
Bounce passing off the wall
Passing ahead of teammates up the court
Chest passes and follow through
Passing on the move – using the “square”
Passing with defense – using the 5 holes – over, under and around

Shooting & Lay-Ups
Most common mistake in shooting – heaving the ball from the side
Importance of shooting with two hands for younger players
Avoid 3-point shots – any way you can
Importance of lowering the height of the basket
Shooting – teaching it as a progression
Teach shooting near the basket first – from the inside out
The 13 shooting spots around the basket
Shooting technique fundamentals
Understanding lay-ups – the most misunderstood fundamental
Starting lay-ups with running and jumps without the ball
Practice lay-ups off the wall
Lay-up techniques

Basic Offense
Stating with triangles and basic movement
Passing and cutting with defense 5-man walk through and setting picks

The 3-on-3 Play Model
Key reasons for 3-on-3 – more touches = more skills and more FUN
How the model works
The 3-on-3 play model demonstrated

Planning Practices
Developing a practice plan
One ball for every player
Make sure everyone is involved
Teach techniques over tactics

Coaching Games
Focus on the skills displayed, not winning
Bring your smiles to the game!

Wrap-Up and Parting Thoughts on Your Program
Play 3-on-3 half-court as much as possible
Man-to-man instead of zone defense
Lower the baskets for younger players
Final tips for coaches

A Letter from Bob about His Clinic:

I have been doing clinics for coaches for 20+ years worldwide, and have boiled down all the things that the experts try to teach about the fundamentals that coaches truly need.

For years, I have described this clinic’s content as “Fundamentals: Redefined and Refined.” All too often in youth basketball (and other sports), the definition and application of “fundamentals” has more relevance to the sport’s upper levels (high school and college), than to the 8-14 year old age groups. Pete Newell, a worldwide Hall of Fame coach, once described basketball in this country as “America’s most over-coached and under-taught sport.” At no level is this more true than in American, pre-high school basketball.

In my Youth Basketball Coaches’ Clinic, I present “solutions” to Coach Newell’s “over-coaching” dilemma. Having played at the highest levels, I’m certainly well aware that basketball is a team game with obvious “tactical” necessities. However, the “hows and whys” in the teaching of proper fundamentals with age-appropriate methods, along with how to structure this teaching and learning within an appropriate practice and game environment, is what will benefit our youth players most.

Typically, for the cost of less than $5 per player per season in most programs, I can present a highly valuable and unique 1½- to 2-hour clinic that can meet the needs of all of your players. Often, I conduct this clinic in conjunction with my youth sports talk, which is delivered to parents, coaches and administrators of youth athletes in all sports. I have done nearly 1,000 of these presentations during the past 20+ years.

Learn more about my mission and how I can help improve youth sports in your community.
Contact me for more information. Learn about my Coaches' Clinics DVD sets.

Thank you very much for your consideration, and for your continued efforts to help America’s children grow through sports participation.

Bob Bigelow

What We Need for Better Youth Basketball

“…a greater emphasis on training coaches and creating a more fun, playful environment for players to learn basic skills at a young age…grassroots basketball is where the change must start.”

— Brian McCormick, author of Cross Over