5.4 Small Sided Games – 4×4
4x4Similar to 3x3, using 4 players on each team is another great tool to help young players to develop their individual skills as well as their understanding of team concepts, such as “motion” offence or man to man defensive positioning.
Introduce Post PlayIn 4x4 there is more scope to introduce post play and all players should have the opportunity to play in both post and perimeter positions. Defensively, there is scope for using “double teams” (when two defenders guard the ball), particularly in the context of “full court” defence.
Ball Reversal4x4 can also be preferable with very young players as the width of the court can be covered, with the passing distance between players being smaller, and this will encourage “ball reversal”:
“Reversing” the ball (passing from one side of the court to the other) is an important concept. Very young players may find that easier to do in a “4 Out” alignment rather than “3 Out” alignment, as the passes required are shorter when there are 4 players. Again, if side baskets are available, you can play “full court” but over the shorter distance across the court, rather than the length of a normal court. It is important that players learn the importance of “transition” between offence and defence.
“Space” and “Movement”Again, one of the key reasons to use 4x4 with young players is that it is an excellent tool for teaching the importance of “space” and “movement” and also how to move together as a team. Without instruction, many young players will move closer to the ball, not realizing that if they then stay close to the ball it:
- is easier for a defender to intercept the ball (a defender on the move will often steal the pass when their opponent is standing still); and
- makes it harder for their team mates as there is no “space” to move into to try and receive a pass.
Like 3x3, 4x4 can develop an awareness of purposeful movement, as a team. The following progression can be used to introduce players and then give them plenty of practice using 4x4.
Although the concept of purposeful movement may initially be shown without a defence or a small number of defenders, it is important to progress to and let the players “play” and, give instructions as much as possible:
- “on the run” – without stopping the whole activity;
- no more than a minute – which simulates a time-out.