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Player Development Curriculum

  • Date:
    Mar 3, 2015

NOTE: The following is an excerpt from the USA Basketball Youth Development Guidebook. In addition to valuable information, coaches are encouraged to learn more about USA Basketball’s Coach Licensing Program.

The USA Basketball Player Development Curriculum has been established to guide players, and the people that coach them, through a level-appropriate system of basketball development. Using scientific guiding principles developed by coach educators Istvan Balyi and Richard Way, and found in their book Long-Term Athlete Development (2013), USA Basketball has designed a practical, functional and sequential development model to properly impart the game to a player.

The Player Development Curriculum consists of four levels of development: Introductory, Foundational, Advanced and Performance. Each level takes the player through progressive development techniques based on their mastery of basketball and movement skills as opposed to their age, grade in school or physical attributes. This mastery of skills approach allows the player to develop physical literacy, learn basketball vocabulary and acquire the movement confidence needed to optimize their basketball potential.

As explained in the sections that follow, the Player Development Curriculum incorporates seven stages of long-term athlete development – Active Start, Fundamentals, Learning to Train, Training to Train, Training to Compete, Training to Win and Basketball for Life. Although the curriculum removes age from the skill learning process, the long-term model provides age recommendations to demonstrate scientifically-proven learning capabilities. USA Basketball incorporated these age recommendations in creating the curriculum levels to show how the levels translate to real learning environments.

Through the long-term athlete development model, the Player Development Curriculum addresses the topic of proper practice/training-to-competition ratios. USA Basketball has defined competition as the act of competing against another team, or imparting team strategies to prepare to compete against another team. Practice or training is defined as all activity related to a player’s individual skill development. Based on these definitions, the following is a summary of USA Basketball’s stance on practice/training-to-competition throughout the four levels:


INTRODUCTORY LEVEL:

Learn fundamental movement skills and build overall motor skills. Participation once or twice per week in basketball but daily participation in other sport activity is essential for further excellence. Group skill competitions recommended throughout the level. Introduction to team principles/concepts ONLY, avoid actual 5x5 competition until fundamentals are further developed.

 

FOUNDATIONAL LEVEL:

Learn all fundamental and basic basketball-specific skills, establish building blocks for overall basketball skills. 70% of time is spent on individual fundamental training and only 30% of the time is spent on actual game competition. Teach position concepts, but DO NOT assign player positions at any point in the level. Divide actual competition between special games (1x1, 2x2, 3x3, skill games) and 5x5 play, trying not to focus on actual 5x5 competition until later in the level.

 

ADVANCED LEVEL:

Build the aerobic base, build strength towards the end of the level and further develop overall basketball skills. Build the “engine” and consolidate basketball skills. Early in the level, 60% of the time is spent on individual training and 40% is spent on competition including 5x5 play, special games (1x1, 2x2, 3x3, skill games) as well as team-oriented practices. Later in the level, depending on mastery of skills, the switch can be made to a 50:50 training to competition ratio and positions can be assigned.

 

PERFORMANCE LEVEL:

Maximize fitness and competition preparation as well as individual and position-specific skills. Optimize the “engine” of skills and performance. Training to competition ratio in this phase shifts to 25:75, understanding that the competition percentage includes team-oriented practices and other competition-specific preparations.

 

 

 

 

 

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