With a lot of talk as of late in the media about soccer and hockey's proposals to change their approach to youth sports, we felt it was a good time to provide some updates on what the sport basketball is doing tied to the changes tied to Long Term Athlete Development and the Canada Basketball Athlete Development Model.  A number of past and current initiatives include...


The Need for Rule Modifications
Basketball Manitoba is dedicated to the promotion and development of basketball in the province.  To make this happen, changes have been incorporated into the rules of Winnipeg Minor Basketball Association (WMBA) to better serve the participants – athletes, parents, coaches, and officials. The focus of the WMBA is for children to learn teamwork, develop their skills, and most importantly, to have fun!

The following rule modifications were developed by a committee that represents all levels of basketball in Manitoba. The meetings focused on the needs of the athletes and are based on helping them become long-term players of the game. The modifications do not impact the way the game is played, but are used as a way to aid in development.

The following changes are coming in the near future...
  1. Playing 3on3 or 4on4 – This helps athletes to learn basic offensive and defensive principles (i.e. spacing, ball and player movement) and encourages more sharing of the ball.  Fewer players on the floor reduce congestion and allow for more touches of the ball. Playing 'half court' or 'cross court' also greatly increases offensive opportunities for players by reducing the time used in advancing the ball up a full court. 
  2. No Scores Kept - At the younger ages, this helps keep the focus of the game to be more on training and skill development and less on competition. It creates a positive and encouraging environment where success is measured by more than the scoreboard.
  3. No Zone Defense – This means that players will play a “man-to-man” defense verses defending a spot on the floor.  This greatly aids an athlete to learn the basic fundamental skills of individual defense.  It encourages more player and ball movement and allows for more creativity with the basketball.
These rule modifications will help all children develop their fundamental movement skills while at the same time emphasize the basic fundamentals of the sport including footwork, balance, passing, dribbling, shooting with and introduction to basic team offensive and defensive concepts.

Focusing on more than the basics too early can be overwhelming for young athletes. It can also cause coaches to feel the need to spend more time working on strategies in practice, rather than the fundamentals. Players can not develop if they do not have the proper foundation. Once a solid foundation is built, a player can build on those skills and succeed.

The rule modifications are based on the Canadian Sport for Life principles and address the development needs of children.  To learn more about this progressive framework, please visit…http://sportforlife.basketballmanitoba.ca 

A summary of some of the changes coming to basketball include...

  • The unification of the rules of play in of all levels of the
    game to fall under the 'FIBA" or international set of rules for all
    players, coaches and officials to develop under.(2007)
  • Forming a new 'Technical Committee' and 'Provincial Council' whose
    mandate is to review all these factors and bring forward recommendations
    to the different levels of the game (2010).
  • Supporting the creation of a National Officials Certification Program (NOCP), a first for Canadian basketball history. (2010).
  • Restricting the use of any zone defenses under the age of 15 or grade 9 and under (took effect in 2010).
  • Limiting when clubs could first host their open tryouts to the second Saturday in August (many clubs were hosting tryouts for the following season in June immediately following the club season).  This will build in a better window for 'rest and recovery' for athletes and coaches to benefit from. (2010)
  • Changing the playing format at the 5-7 age level from 4 on 4 full 
  • court to 3 on 3 half court and the 8-9 age level from 4 on 4 full court
    to 4 on 4 cross court by 2012.
  • Exploring the 'no scores kept' model from the current ages 9 and under to additional years including the transition of 'site scores' only for certain ages (meaning no
    standings kept) by 2012.
  • Continuing to review all other game modifications used at all levels of the
    game and proposing a unified and progressional approach including club
    and school basketball.  These include the size of the ball, height of
    the basket, types of defenses, shot clock and three point line usage
    among others.  A one page summary of the current recommendations can be found HERE.
  • Continuing the roll out and management of the new National Coaching Certification Program
  • Adopting a number of the principles and coach & parent education techniques of the Positive Coaching Alliance.
  • Reviewing the practice to games ratio at all levels of play to move
    towards the LTAD recommendation of 70% practice to 30% games ratio. 
  • Reviewing and changing the total number of games played by an
    athlete and ensuring a proper window of rest and recovery or to ensure
    opportunities to participate in other activities.

Ross Wedlake addressing the 2010 Basketball Manitoba Super Coaches Clinic 


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Basketball Athlete Development Model

The Long-Term Athlete Development Model (LTAD) provides a consistent
framework from which coaches can work. This document has been designed
with the input of sport scientists and coaches from across the country.
It is a long-term player/athlete development model that illustrates to
coaches, parents, volunteers and administrators at the local,
provincial and national levels, the importance of a systematic and
consistent approach to the development of athletes. It also recognizes
the importance of participation in securing the health of the nation.

The model is to be used as a guide for coaches and administrators. This
will assist them in understanding the importance of teaching particular
aspects of the game to athletes at specific stages of development. It
is hoped that with this systematic approach, skills and abilities
needed to achieve excellence in basketball will be reachable. It will
also ensure that all participants will receive the appropriate training
that will produce well-rounded people and maintain a lifelong passion
for the sport.

More information these changes and other resources can be found in the Basketball Manitoba Technical Committee page.  

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