Monday, October 6, 2014

Simple Small Sided Games Build Up For Elementary Part I

Sunday nights in September and October are some of my favorites. Not because I get to cheer on the members of my fantasy football team (we are terrible), but because I get the privilege of working with our elementary players. Coach Klingsporn and I usually split them up with me taking the younger kids in grades 4-6. Holding true to my games based approach I've used a lot of games with them, with great success. Below is an example of a simple two game series that we did to work on dribbling.

1) Dribble Tag
  • Simple rules, everyone has a ball except for one player. He chases down another player and tags them. The player that is tagged drops is ball and is "it". The player who was "it" picks up the ball and is now a dribbler. 
  • What made it different was how we progressed in the game. 
  • Let them just play without talking about it for 3-4 minutes. Let them get a feel for the game. 
  • Then we stopped and I questioned them - "What makes it harder to get tagged?". The players decided that changing speed and direction (and hands) made it harder to get tagged. They also mentioned that you have to keep your head up to see who is "it". 
  • Modeled how to change speed and direction for the players - pushing off the correct foot, etc. 
  • Let them play for 5-6 minutes. Noticed lots of heads up, changing speeds and directions without having to be coached. 
  • Stopped and assessed as a group how we did. 

2) Rodeo
  • Rodeo is a simple game. Two players on D chase around and try to steal the ball or force a pick up on the dribbler. Play for 30 seconds and switch dribblers. 
  • Again, we let them play for 3-4 minutes to get a feel for the game. Had to coax some defenders to pick up the pace. 
  • After 3-4 minutes (everyone had 2 turns) we stopped and talked about how to be successful by asking them what they thought. 
  • They immediately recognized that they needed to change speed and direction again as well as playing with their head/eyes up. They also noted that breaking the trap by splitting it was only good in a vary rare situation. Lastly they said once you escaped the trap you had to sprint away, but not keep your back turned for long. Good stuff. 
  • I then demoed some stuff on breaking the trap, back dribble (see the defense), read what was most open, attack the outside, and go. 
  • Let them play again for 6-7 minutes (everyone went 3x). Saw a lot more of what we were working on, even when I wasn't coaching it. 

So there you go, simple but effective. In about 20 minutes everyone got in a ton of random practice ball handling. They had to change speeds and directions with the ball while keeping their heads up. They were genuinely enjoying themselves, and they were analyzing the game themselves. The most fun part about it for me was the questioning - seeing how much they really knew about the skill without having to be told. I also saw more transfer using questioning than if I would have flat out told them - I think there is something to making them think about it. 

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