(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Coaching Third- and Fourth-Grade Basketball: The Three-Man Weave

I learned this drill/play decades ago in junior high school (I guess I'm dating myself because they're called "middle schools" now). Anyway, it once was called the Wisconsin Weave, because in the 20's the University of Wisconsin deployed it successfully against, among others, Purdue. In the late 20's Purdue had an all-American named John Wooden, who played against it. Of course, the Purdue teams had to solve the riddle of the weave, but it's a pretty cool play.

The basic premise is that you have three guys spaced out in a row, and you tell them "behind the man I pass it to and head downcourt." So, the player in the middle passes the ball to the guy on his right, and then he runs behind him to the right wing. The kid who catches the ball passes it to the kid on his left; this passer runs behind the kid on the left, while the kid on the left passes the ball to the kid on his right (who was the kid who started the drill). They keep this "weave" going until they're close to the basket, and then the kid with the shot puts in a layup.

Sound easy?

Well, the third-graders who hadn't played before had some trouble with it, as some of them were running in front of the the kid they passed it to, so I isolated a group of fourth-graders and had them do it together. Well, they caught on pretty quickly, they ran down the floor, passing crisply, weaving in and out, and putting up good layups. The less-experienced kids thought it was cool, the parents thought it was cool, and the kids wanted to continue the drill when we stopped it. What they learned, I hope, is cause and effect -- throw a crisp pass with good movement and no selfish one-on-one dribbling rifts and you can get a good shot. We're going to run that drill every week -- it also will help get the kids to sleep faster at night.

All kidding aside, it's an oldie but goodie. Try it some time.


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