Surprise here’s another sports analogy. Parenting five kids is much like playing defense in basketball. You do your best to manage the coverage but could use help.
After one child you go from man to man to zone coverage. I remember being taught pistols loaded which I’m not sure if that’s even allowed to be called that anymore but the idea is see the ball and your man. With two kids, you want to see both just like being able to see the ball and your man.
Once you move past two kids it starts to get tricky and you have to rely even further on zone coverage. You need to move your coverage based on need much like in a basketball game.
If you’ve played basketball you know there are multiple zone options. The box and one, which focuses man to man coverage on a team’s best player while rest of team is in a box zone. We often have to use this defense with Alice because she’s a troublemaker and requires the extra attention.
With the addition of Bryce who is now crawling, we may need the triangle and two. This defense involves man to man coverage of two of the opposing team’s best players with a triangle type zone for the remaining three players. When we let Bryce roam about and Alice is with him, the triangle and two is in full effect.
The 2-1-2 zone is good when you’re trying to keep the most ground covered. You let up some coverage in the middle but you have the wings and under the basket covered. This is used when you can let the oldest child kind of do their own thing and keep closer watch on the younger four.
There’s also a 2-2-1 which is used for a team where you don’t have to worry as much about their forwards or presence under the basket or you can do the opposite 1-2-2 if a team has better forwards than guards or shooters. This is another style that can be used when the older child doesn’t need that much attention and you focus primarily on the other four.
The 2-3 or 3-2 zones involve stacking three players high if they have better guards or 3 players low if the opposing team has better forwards. This type of management is used when you have 2 or 3 of the kids playing well together doing one thing and the other 3 or 2 doing something else so that you can kind of manage both areas of activity.
The 1-3-1 is a zone that requires a lot of shifting as the wings have to drop down to avoid getting beat down low on the opposite side. This is my least favorite defense as I think it’s easy to beat. This is when you’re overwhelmed. You are trying your best to keep an eye on your crew but you kind of being pulled in different directions by two or more of the kids and you’re trying to shift back and fourth to keep track of all the kids.
There is a match up zone where you cover the player in your area. That’s a common defense we use, rotating to whatever child needs the most attention in our area.
If things are really crazy, you may need to call for a full court press. A press is when a team covers their opponent up the full court aka as soon as they take the ball out to head down to their basket. When a full court press is called for with the kids, you need to address the kids immediately and not wait until they come back to your area. This could be some sort of fight between them, some sort of mess or spill or multiple children crying. I feel I’m pressing all day long sometimes!
And of course there is man to man. Even with five kids, I try to find some one on one time daily with each kid and take some on special outings so I am sure to focus my attention on all of them, especially the boys who are older and more capable. I always felt like man to man is the best defense in basketball and it’s the best type of parenting too, even if there’s limited opportunities to use it.
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