I am an assistant coach for a 3rd grade boys YMCA basketball team. For those of you that know me well, you'll agree when I say this is definitely an "out of the box" experience for me. For anyone else who might be reading, let's just say I'm not exactly a "kid person" (although I am getting better).
We've played 3 games and are 2-1. Now we have a 3 week break for the holidays, and then I think we'll have 5 more games before the season is over.
It's fun to see how far they have come in just 3 practices and 3 games. Brandon had his hands in his pockets the entire first game. We did a little coaching and I haven't seen his hands in his pockets since, and he actually plays pretty aggresive defense. Austin used both hands to dribble the first game. After a little coaching he is now dribbling legally and making excellent passes. Simple improvements like that are nice to see.
The biggest improvement has been in their offense as a team. The first game, we had one kid who took 12 shots (and only made 2). It seemed like everytime he touched the ball he thought it was his job to shoot. Last night at practice we hounded them over and over about passing and looking for the open man, not just throwing up a wild shot. Being the last day of school before Christmas vacation, they were acting goofy and not paying very good attention, making us think the message wasn't getting through. Boy, were we wrong. They came out this morning and passed like champions. No one hogged the ball and took horrible shots. Instead, they were patient and passed the ball to the open man. We had 4 wide open shots within the first couple of minutes of the game. For the most part, they kept up the good passing for the whole game, and we won 18-8. Hopefully the lesson was learned - when you are unselfish and follow directions you have a better chance of coming out on top. Of course, at this level it isn't the winning that matters, it's the learning.
Now, we need to work on our rebounding. Maybe we should pull an Eddie Sutton and put them in shoulder pads and helmets for practice.....
Nah. They're just 3rd graders.