So far I've spent a lot of time on really specific skill mechanics in the four practices I've had so far. I used video to break down their approaches and that made a huge difference. We've had real breakthroughs with at least half of the kids in terms of understanding what they're doing wrong and how they can fix it.
I've always felt that I'm not a very good skills coach. Now I'm starting to think that maybe I'm just not a good skills coach for young kids, because with the 17's I'm making a lot of progress.
I did notice today that I think they might be getting a little bored with that, so the next practice is going to be almost all play time, what I call "scenario work" to expose them to specific possibilities that happen during play. It also starts to develop the court dynamics that allow them to move instinctively among each other. They've also got a scrimmage next week, so I need to get them playing together.
The pressure is on to a certain degree, because we're playing in an early season "power tournament" mid-February. These are worth more points for rank in the region and the competition is top-notch. I'm cautiously optimistic, but it's hard to know just how things are going until I put them in front of another team.