Small Sided Half Court Games vs The 5 vs 5 Full Court Game:
This is a Reminder That The Player Development Emphasis. Generation X and Y played 3x3 and I want to stress Generation Z get this same development opportunity.
Anyone involved in youth basketball should avoid playing 5 on 5 as long as you can (And limit the 3 Point Shooting as well). The biggest issue to starting organized basketball the players lack the fundamentals to play the game. If players can’t catch the ball how can players pass the ball? If a player can’t dribble the ball how can they make a lay-up? If players lack understanding or rules and violations is it a game or chaos?
5 on 5 should start no earlier then 4th grade. Our 3rd Graders focus on core skills, transition drills and 3 x 3 half-court or 4 v 4 full court. Maximizing skill execution on the ball, decision making experiences and cuts that are rewarded with passing is essential.
Time is our greatest resource. Playing league and tournaments with Kinders, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade is plain stupid. Play 2 on 2 or 3 v 3 at these ages. We would not make our elementary kids drive cars but we thrown them 5 aside with refs, flashy uniforms and one ball and expect them to play a highly thought demanding sport. Basketball is not soccer. It's more like piano. Playing 5 vs 5 too early putting cart before the horse.
Player development should look more like soccer. Small field 1x1, 2x2 and 3x3, lots of touches, enforced basic footwork footwork rules, 1 on 1 defending and core fundamentals.
Fourth Grade players may begin a motion offense. Even then its one on one, one, two or three pass offense at best.
The purpose of player development is mastering the core fundamentals:
Dribbling With Either Hand Under Pressure
Passing and Catching
Lay-ups With Both Hands
Man to Man Defense, Staying in front, Staying in low in stance
Pivot, Triple Threat and Jab Foot
Jump Shooting Form
Cutting To Get Open and Create Space
Setting & Using Screens
Kindergarten, Ball Size 26.5, 8 Ft. Basket, 3 vs 3 Half Court
First Grade, Ball Size 26.5, 8 Ft. Half Court, 3 vs 3 Half Court
2nd Grade, Ball Size Size 26.5, 3 vs 3 Half Court
3rd Grade - 4 vs 4 Full Court
4th Grade 8th Grade
Ball Size is essential to the develop of the Shooting Form.