Tedious Life of an Urban Apache

Chaos Basketball Game 1

We played our first game on Monday night and unfortunately the other team scored more points, so it’s officially considered a loss.

This was the first game our boys have played together as a team. Well, about half of them. 4 of them were last years kids, and 4 of them were brand new to my team.
I decided for posterity, that I’m going to do a quick breakdown for each game. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

20 minute halves. running clock. I was used to 5 minute quarters. Switch after each qtr. So I’m still learning as well. This was part of my undoing, and I take full credit for this loss because of that.

Our boys aren’t in basketball shape. It’s tough to do with limited time to teach them the game, and get time to keep them moving. I spent so much time analyzing what was happening on the court, I didn’t put aside any time for subs and quick switch outs.

I want everyone on this team to be able to handle the ball. Everyone to play every position. Which is pretty simple when you’ve played a number of games and they know the different responsibilities of each position. These guys are still learning the game so I’m asking an awful lot of them. And it gets confusing.

The game started off with a loss at the tip, but everyone managed to match up. The score was 0-0 for the first 3-4 minutes. First game jitters and all.

3-4 minutes in and there’s finally a score. We actually get down 6-0 right away with some bad rebounding and lazy defense. Some quick scores from Lincoln and we’re back to 4-6. Lincoln is already tired from dealing with full court pressure. He’s the only one scoring at the moment.

I can’t take him out.



I ask his teammates to help him out.

They stare at me blankly as apparently that’s a very vague term for 3rd graders.

Ronin gets a 3 fouls on the other team because they keep reaching.


He gets a block, but doesn’t pursue the rebound, he gets another block.

We have trouble bringing the ball in, (we haven’t learned an inbound play)
We have trouble running the offense because of the full court pressure.

I can tell they’re not sure what to do sometimes. They seem lost when there’s a substitution and all my yelling to talk to each other fall on round heads and bounces off. The speed of the game seems to overwhelm them. They haven’t played basketball competitively in 8 months.

Still, they’re blocking shots and looking for the open man.

Sam drops a pass under the basket
Brandon starts dribbling without the ball.
Cole forgets he can’t pick up his dribble but he’s chasing everything down.

Gabe wants to pass instead of shoot. That’s a good problem to have at this age.

It was a rough first half and we’re only down by 4. I’m actually very proud of how they’re doing. An extra play here and there and we have a lead or a tie game.

Cameron actually manages to bring the ball down a few times just due to him staying active. He has a really good nose for the ball. This is his first organized basketball game ever. You can’t tell.


He has a quiet confidence. I have to figure out how to bring that more to the surface.

The second half starts and the boys now know what they’re in for. They’re going to have to work extra hard.

Lincoln finally gets a break. He has a headache, he doesn’t get to go back in until we’re sure he’s feeling better.

shoot! I accidentally hit publish on this before I was done…

Brandon showed me how much better on defense he’s gotten since last year.  vlcsnap-2014-11-17-15h42m02s186


I think he’s going to be my busy bee as this poor kid had no chance when he fell to ground and had Brandon trying to take the ball away the entire time.

The entire second half looked a lot smoother. The score was almost the same, but you could feel the boys getting into a groove with defense.

Gabe even tried to crossover his defender.


He actually had him beat but didn’t ‘first step’ past him. That’s a detail we can work on in practice.

That’s one of the things as a coach that I love to say. It’s down to the details. If they know the basics, then we work on the details. It’s a far cry from teaching kids to dribble and catch a ball. Now I get to teach them that explosive first step. How to use it, when to use it.

Jackson was in there getting us rebounds.



I need to get a little more mad dog out of him.

Sam wasn’t scared to attack the shot and got a good block in there.



He did what we always wanted him to do. And his speed simply amazes me. Tallest guy on the team. Second fastest on the team. Just wait until our passers can see him running down the court. Just wait until I teach him to jump on top of people.

At the end we wanted them to be more aggressive when we were down. We picked up some fouls because of that, but it didn’t bother me. Our kids fault is they’re too smart sometimes.

Everyone played hard. Some played REALLY hard. It was an education for the kids and for me.

Next time I have to do better with substitutions. Next game we have to be more aggressive.  Next game we’ll do better because these kids work hard.

Will we win? Who knows. I just hope that first game was fun, and the rest of the season shows them what I’ve always loved about basketball. Competition, hard work and getting to simply play is the best part.

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