As the high school season gets underway, myself and our trainers at Catalyst Training begin to transition towards more youth training.
Just the other day I was in Eagan, MN running 4.5 hours of youth practices. I currently work with both the players and coaches to assist the program in all aspects of on-court development.
This was our third Tuesday evening in a row, and all of the coaches seemed to have a common topic they wanted to discuss:
How do we play better defense??
I began thinking back to my time as a player at Hillcrest Academy in Fergus Falls, MN, when we barely touched a basketball during the first week of practice.
Now, that might be tough in 2019 to keep a 5th graders attention without a basketball for more than 5 seconds, so I needed to get creative.
As I got to the gym on Tuesday night I paused...
I thought to myself:
"What if I just scrap everything I had planned, we work on team defense and I bring a ton of energy?"
So, that's what I did.
And then the coolest thing happened...THE KIDS MATCHED MY ENERGY!
They were flying all over the place and making mistakes. They were competing and it was awesome.
Once I was able to get them to match me energy, it was much easier to hold them accountable.
We went into a 4 on 4 Shell-look with a coach in the corner. If the ball got passed to me in the corner, I would attack baseline and the defense would have to rotate. Once I passed the ball out we played live!
I have never scored more baskets against middle-schoolers in my life! We were so bad at rotating defensively...but they got after it!
And when they didn't rotate we would talk for 5-10 seconds top and then we did it again.
If I had a dollar for every time I said, "Ahh! Do it again...."
But ultimately they competed. And then they would get it!!! Maybe not consistently, but they would start to understand what we were trying to get to.
The level of competitiveness went through the roof compared to the weeks prior...and we weren't even working on offense!
Coaches, your players are going to follow your lead!
Try bringing some extra energy and see what happens!