U12 Philosophy

Climb Basketball Academy’s primary objective is to develop the knowledge, skills, and enjoyment of basketball for boys and girls of all abilities and experience. We aim to create an atmosphere where children feel free to get out of their comfort zone and make mistakes because we believe this type of environment makes sport most enjoyable and optimizes learning. We also prioritize keeping the children active in our sessions. This means we do our best to reduce the time children stand in lines and listen to coaches speak. While some teaching through explanation and demonstration is necessary, we believe children learn best from doing rather than observing and listening.

The primary focus of the U12 development program is teaching perimeter offensive skills: dribbling, passing, shooting and finishing around the rim. We also begin to introduce the basic concepts of offensive perimeter spacing and off-ball movement such as basket cutting.

We teach these skills and concepts through a phased approach. Similar to our younger programs, time will be spent developing through “on-air” (no defense) training, which we refer to as Phase A.

In our U12 program, we will also begin incorporating the next two phases of development: Phase B and Phase C. In Phase B, the children work on the previously mentioned skills and/or concepts, but decision-making is also incorporated into drills and scenarios through “guided” defense. An example of a Phase B drill would be an offensive player catching the ball on the perimeter versus a “guided” defender; the guided defender takes away one penetrating direction, forcing the offensive player to penetrate in the other direction; this causes the offensive player to make a split second decision after catching the ball while developing the skills of ball handling and finishing around the rim.

Phase C centers around providing an offensive player or players an “advantage” at the start of a drill or scenario while working on skills and/or concepts. If a score doesn’t initially occur, the drill continues as a live game scenario until there is a defensive stop or a score. This provides a momentary advantage for the offensive players to finish at the rim, shoot, pass, dribble, etc. but perform these skills in simulations that occur in a game.

Incorporating decision-making and advantage scenarios into player development is important because it enables athletes to learn to perform skills in a “real” game more effectively. Training in Phase B and Phase C develops decision-making and the ability to use skills in games through a step-by-step approach. Going from Phase A (on-air training) to Phase D (live games) is akin to expecting a child to know how to sprint when they are still learning how to walk; it’s skipping important steps in the learning process.