Coach Knows...

You have questions, we have answers. See what other parents are asking to help foster their child's basketball development

How to keep your child engaged in the game? What's the best way to protect your child's body from duress? Can your child improve his basketball IQ? If you have questions, we have answers from the coaches who live them every day.

Coach Knows

My son's classmates are seven months to a year older than him. Right now, while his knowledge of the game is there, his ability is not there yet. He won't jump or stretch out, and he doesn't like to run the floor, although he can when he wants to. What should I do?

Start be staying away from critiquing what he does not do correctly. Let him figure it out, because I guarantee you he hears what you are saying. He just cannot execute right now. It's the same with running the floor. He knows how to do it, but doing it every time is not something he is comfortable with yet. Compliment him on the different aspects of the game, even if it is an exaggeration. This will help motivate him to try those other things.

I have an 11-year-old son who is already complaining about knee problems. While it could be growing pains, I'm afraid it also could be something a little more serious. He has been playing travel ball since he was in the 4th grade. Most of his tournaments are three games in a day. How much basketball is too much basketball?

The knee could be a number of things, including playing too many games. Dr. Mininder Kocher, associate director of sports medicine at Boston Children Hospital, said, "Kids 12 and under, both boys and girls, are still in their growth stages. Their growth plates are still open. Their bone and soft tissue biomechanics are different than a 14- or 16-year-old... to much stress could be damaging."

This has also become a big topic in the NBA. Recently, Commissioner Adam Silver said today's young American players are entering the league with the bodies of a 30-year-old. He even went as far as to say that youth basketball should adapt the youth baseball rule (where players are on a pitch count). If they don't play as many games so young, they want wear themselves out.

My 13-year-old son did not make his 8th grade team – his first school tryout. While he is one of the better players on his select rec team, he lacks a proficient basketball IQ. We live in a large 6A school district in Texas, so it's competitive. Can he improve his skillset and IQ? Does he have an honest chance?

First of all, yes, your son has a chance to make his 9th grade team. He needs to put aside his negative feelings about not making the 8th grade team. You have to help him move on with a plan – and that starts with improving his skills so that they are high school worthy.

In my book, "Parent's Guide to Youth Basketball and Beyond," in Sections 2 and 3, I talk about what needs to be done in between tryouts. Coaches put together teams based on individual skills. You have to find an instructor who can teach your son how to hone his fundamentals. But remember, when it comes to fundamentals for things like shooting, not everyone who trains kids knows how to teach the mechanics of a shot.

As far as his lack of basketball IQ, there is not much he can do about it. His basketball IQ will come from playing the game. He needs to be on a team where there is structure, for example, practicing five days a week. Remember, your son's personal skills will be the deciding factor in making or not making the team, so he needs to make a commitment to be the best he can be.

And that's where you can help, too.

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