At Club Estudiantes, the club prioritised teaching youth players about spacing in basketball. Here are some ways they approached teaching spacing to young players:
Emphasising the importance of spacing: Coaches explained to players that proper spacing is crucial to creating scoring opportunities and making the offense work effectively. They may demonstrate how crowded areas can make it difficult for players to move and create passing lanes, resulting in turnovers or missed shots. An example of this would be making the ball see both sides of the court, which was a great method for moving the defence. There are many examples of this on the Hoops Europe YouTube channel.
Using visual aids: Coaches used diagrams, videos, or live demonstrations to illustrate how spacing works in a game situation. They showed players how to move and position themselves to create open passing lanes, and how to get open using exchanges and cuts.
Encouraging communication: Coaches stressed the importance of communication among players to create proper spacing. Not only verbal communication but mostly non-verbal. For example, they taught players to look at their teammates to hold back from cutting or go for it, make eye contact to help decision making, use head nods, and point to alert teammates to open passing lanes.
Practising in game situations: Coaches incorporated game-like situations into practices to help players learn how to create spacing on the court. They used drills that simulate game scenarios, such as fast breaks or half-court sets, and encourage players to experiment with different positioning and movement. To help with this the coaches may discuss lanes on the court or certain areas to avoid or spots to get to, giving a visual aid to help with spacing when in the development phase.
In sun, at Club Estudiantes, coaches prioritised taught players how to move effectively on the court and work together as a team to create scoring opportunities. It was a an education I will never forget, and with the focus on spacing the way it is nowadays, Estu and also the rest of Spanish basketball coaches were clearly way ahead of the game.