After a month of practices my group of 4th grade girls is ready for their first game tomorrow morning: the long-awaited rivalry of “Team 4 vs. Team 5”.
Well… "ready" may be an optimistic term. With an hour of practice a week, with an average attendance of about six girls (out of nine), it is difficult to teach than one new skill and find time to review anything else while managing to keep 9 year olds entertained. My stated goal has been to stick to "teaching the fundamentals” and not give in to the temptation to teach tactics solely to get some points on the board. We’re trying to break some bad habits, which is difficult in kids who have become adept at the 1950s era two-handed set shot. I’m trusting readers of this blog to keep me honest.
The girls, of course, want to scrimmage all of the time but with only six or seven at a practice, that has been difficult to do and due to the wide range of skill level, tends to devolve into one or two kids stealing every pass and the some kids never touching the ball. As a result, I've done more controlled 3-on-2 or other simulations, much to the eye-rolling disappointment of my own child. (I will say that I have been better about not under praising my own child because she is the “coach's daughter”).
So, we face our first game tomorrow never having even done a full 5-on-5 scrimmage and not having worked on approximately a million different skills and concepts. I’m already laying the ground work about expectations because I do feel at this age, shooting on 10-foot hoops, that the baskets that actually go in have very little to do with the teams on the court. It’s more likely that Team 4 will be more concerned with spontaneously and randomly coming up with code words. Last year, it was the sudden team-wide decision that “Cheese!” meant “Help”, confounding opposing players and gym rats alike.
To the Team 5 Coach who might stumble across this blog, the scouting report is simply: “Your guess is as good as mine.”