Thank you @Nate Wade! Much appreciated. I’m really pleased that PGC is venturing into younger age groups – I truly think it can be a real game changer. Tyler makes compelling points that I hope will provoke discussion and change. 

I must confess that I really don’t have or understand the full picture of youth basketball in the USA but have read numerous articles about high burn out rates and high overuse injury rates in youth athletes in the USA because of the sporting environment (not just basketball). I’m a big believer in multi-sports for youth players – every sport benefits from it and we have healthier minds and bodies as a result. 

When reading posts to different basketball groups, I’m always amazed at the competitiveness (‘should I cut a 9 year old?’!) and the tactics used to win (zone defense, only playing the best athletes, full ct press for primary aged players!). I’m also stunned to read about primary aged players using screens and wonder how on earth you build Basketball IQ so young! I’m struggling to get u14s to understand & use screens properly! ? 

Basketball Scotland usually gets more wrong than right but I must applaud them on their decisions for the youth league (by the way, that’s the only league anyone can play in, no choice as not enough players!). 

Players aged 8-11 play with a size 5 ball, 8′ baskets and cross court. There is also protected playing time to ensure quality minutes for every player. For the first time, this coming season they will play 3v3s Cross Court (Fiba rules). Tbc, but there will be 6 ‘quarters’ and teams are encouraged to have their team of 6 divided into a stronger squad and a weaker squad so like will play like in games. The score will be wiped at the end of each quarter or once one team reaches a certain score. I’ve campaigned too many years for 3v3s and am excited for the future. 

I agree that the most inexperienced coaches shouldn’t be automatically assigned the youngest players, almost a ‘we all have to pay our dues’ before coaching ‘real’ basketball! I expect all my coaches, most experienced to newbies, to all work with the younger players. My club is the only one in our region that does this and it was an important point for me when starting out. And I love the points Tyler makes about how they should learn, train and play. 

These young players are the future of our club – that’s a lot of trust in their coaches! Just think how much your older teams would benefit if you invested heavily in the youngest players? If clubs had a clear development plan, identifying what skills/habits to develop at each age/stage? Think of the cultural impact & mindset, inculcated from the youngest age! 

In our rush to ‘make it’ as a coach and coach ‘Real basketball’, we’re overlooking just how much more successful (however you measure success) these older players would be if you had sustained development and investment in them from the youngest of ages? 

Sorry to blether on so! You’ve touched on something I’m passionate about! Thank you very much once again.