5 Keys to Being a Great Basketball Coach
Why are your players freezing up? Is it because they're only 10 and don't know what to do? Is the offense too complicated? Do they lack confidence? Is there too much defensive pressure on them? Can they pass the ball far enough?
Every kid develops differently and experience and confidence building might be the only answer. Here's a good quote from one of Don Kelbick's posts on our forum. It might shed light on the issue that we all face with young kids People want only the best for their kids. When a father gets on the sideline, he thinks he becomes Phil Jackson. But they don't have the knowledge or training that Phil Jackson has.
Then again, I don't think that Phil Jackson would be very good with your son. The operative word in "Youth Sports" for too many people is 'Sport" where it should be "Youth.
People expect more of kids on playing fields than they do in their own homes. How many 9-year olds remember to put their socks in the hamper? But, they are expect to remember both zone AND man-to-man offenses. When in the home, adults look at their kids as kids. Put them out on a basketball court or soccer field or football field, etc and they cease to be kids, they become players. The ideal they are held up to is what they see on TV. Youth sports is not about sports, it is about child development, just as school is.
That is where they are expert, not in the subject matter. Joe, to answer your question, they're 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, and it looks like I've been approaching my 1st year of coaching wrong, based on the responses on this site - focus on fun first, and the rest will develop.
Seems wrong, I was always taught discipline 1st, but I started to play late too, in 7th grade. I mean, I learned many a day by shooting, shooting, shooting, dribbling, dribbling, dribbling - constant repetition!. Hi Roman, I believe in discipline. I always like to be very disciplined the first week. Then, I loosen up a little bit and have lots of fun.
You just need to keep their age in perspective. Youth players won't be able to focus for very young. Need to be active with minimal speeches. That is when I started coaching my daughter's youth basketball team 4th grade. She is now playing for her school in the 8th grade and I now understand what a crappy job I did as a youth coach.
If I could do things over I would have stressed the following: Lay Ups - Every girl should have been able to make both left and right handed lay ups, even contested ones. We practiced this, but I didn't stress it enough. I am seeing 8th grade girls I coached in youth league shooting with the right hand on the left side. I also see them wanting to stop and take a set shot on a fast break.
They just aren't comfortable shooting lay ups. Left-hand Dribbling - Again, we practiced but I didn't stress. Dribbling with the left hand when going left. Every time I see one of my former players get the ball stolen because they dribble with the right while going left I hang my head, ashamed. How did I handle this as a youth coach? I limited the amount of dribbling they could do in a game - two dribbles then either shoot or pass. Maybe running some drills every practice would have helped these girls more.
I could go on and on, but the story is the same. I've probably set these girls back a couple of years in their basketball skills because of my failure to develop the fundamentals. Anyway, just wanted to say that you guys are spot on with the priorities you share for youth coaching.
Winning is not important at the youth level - development of skills is the priority. Get yourself and your kids involved in a program that stresses development - it's the best thing you can do. Hi Bill, Thank you for the kind words and thank you for sharing your thoughts. I know it took me a few years to figure things out. And that's after I researched and studied. Most parents don't have time to do that. That's why we put together this website. We wanted to help youth coaches get started on the right foot.
I am a first time coach who knows relatively nothing about basketball and was thrown into a 10yo team of girls. I was unable to get a response to set up any practice time so what is your suggestion as to how to coach them during a game. Can I set up some sort of play module or what???
Any help is appreciated. I'm not sure what you can do without some practice. In games, I'm not big into strategy or schemes, especially at the youth level. The only thing you can do is provide positive reinforcement when they do things right. When they do things wrong, you can talk do them on the bench and provide instruction trying to shout and teach during the heat of the game doesn't really work.
My first suggestion is to get some practice time scheduled. My next suggestion is to find a mentor with basketball experience. My daughter began playing basketball when she was 7 years-old. She played Upward and spring rec until she got a badly sprained finger at age She has had to take a year and a half off so it would heal. She was still having pain when she moved it after a year. Her orthopedist says she can go back now. My question is, has she missed to much to catch up to her peers who have been playing all along?
What advice would you give her to prepare her to try out for her schools middle school team one year from now? Should she do fall and summer rec or try club in the fall? Any advice is appreciated. First, I would not be overly concerned because she is still so young.
Steve Nash 2-time MVP didn't play basketball until he was Dirk Novitski started around the same time. Bill Russell and Michael Jordan were no good as sophomores in high school. So I wouldn't be too worried about "getting behind" just yet. With my own children I'm more concerned with their athletic development, coordination, and mental development. I know that if they are athletes, coordinated, and hard workers, then they have a real good chance to be as good at basketball as they want to be even if the never play bball until middle school or high school.
So my advice would be to worry less about catching up and more with a good well rounded athletic development.
Play soccer, gymnastics, swimming, martial arts, and flag football seasonally. Get a good skill development trainer for basketball. Play some bball games seasonally. A good skill trainer will do more than playing games all summer. A good mix is the key. Thank you Jeff, I appreciate the encouragement and the link.
She is also on a swim team so she works on other skill sets. I have one more question. She went through puberty about 1 year ago and is 5'2" It does not look like she is going to be tall. Could she still be a good player if she is not tall? I guess it depends on how you define "good player". She can certainly be a very good high school, college, and even pro player.
Of course the taller the better, but there are many other things that make up for a good basketball player. If you are short, you better be skilled, athletic, and a smart player. I could not agree more with your sentiments about promoting skills development and fundamental until kids are closer to 13 or The biggest problem in youth sports today is over-coaching younger kids. Good intentions usually ; bad result. The feeding high school issue is also a big problem. It may be good for that coach who may not even be there in 3 or 4 years but it is often bad for the player who is not exposed to another offensive system.
The concept of a role player has no business in youth sports. In any event, there is no point in a player learning a structured offense if they have no ball handling skills, poor footwork, bad shooting mechanics, no court awareness and no vision. Retention with kids is somewhat of an oxy-moron but fundamental skills are much easier for them to understand and can be practiced at the schoolyard or in the driveway. The bottom line is that youth coaching should be about building a foundation for the future success of the players.
It should not be about living out a Bobby Knight fantasy. The center of today might be the point guard of tomorrow. Teach everyone the fundamentals and how to play This helps alot thanks! I'm 16 and I am teaching a basketball camp over the summer and I wanted to know what I should teach younger kids becuz I've played for 11 years but have played varsity ball so much haha I wanted to get back to the basics so thanks!
Remember to make sure that they have fun also. You are young but they should look up to you as a role model. Thanks for great information. Youth sports is about developing skills and fun. I am coaching a 5th grade girls team. We only started with them this past January. We finished up a tournament this weekend and got beaten pretty handily. The major issue is that most other school districts have in-house programs that start in 3rd grade we are a parent volunteer program , so we are essentially two years behind in teaching our girls the fundamentals while the teams we play are very well organized at this point, run set offensive plays, and generally beat us in every facet of the game.
I am a competitive person and find it frustrating that we are having difficulty being competitive. An additional problem is that we have a lack of gym availability in our school district and are limited to practice 3 days a week for 90 minutes each day.
I have read various articles on this website and others regarding how to coach youth basketball, but feel that I need more than this to catch up with our opponents. Our ultimate goal is to have the girls be ready for 7th grade when our school's in house program starts, but we don't want the girls to get discouraged by constantly losing.
Any advice on what direction to take is greatly appreciated. Michael - I know that this is tough on you and the girls It is hard to catch up with people teams that have years on you I know what you are saying, I was there too Next, the first group goes to the opposite free-throw line, and the second group to the half-court line, the third group to the free-throw line.
This goes on up and down the court, until all groups have successfully performed jump stops down and back again. This gets kids used to running in the V-pattern needed to maximize basketball performance. Cross-Legged shooting can also be done against a wall. On command the kid with the ball will release it to his partner, releasing it from above the eyes and snapping the wrist down in a goose-neck formation as they shoot.
This adds velocity and power. All good basketball players need to be effective with both left and right hands. Make sure that each player has a basketball or one for every two kids, and ask the players to begin the drill by dribbling right handed.
On command, they must switch to left handed dribbling. Allow players who progress faster to increase their passing distance during drills. Pair up players during drills by skill level. Teaching dribbling might be the toughest challenge you face as a youth basketball coach. A lot of players will be able to dribble well with their strong hand, but almost all will struggle with their weak hand. Have the children dribble with their weak hand as much as possible.
They will struggle and get frustrated at first, but they will eventually get better. Teach them to dribble with their eyes forward and head up, and have them dribble while walking up and down the floor. Dribbling while standing still will help, but not as much if they practice dribbling while moving. While players will understand to stay in front of the person they are guarding when that person has the ball, off-the-ball defending is tough to teach.
Teach them to leave a little room and play the passing lanes. A good rule of thumb is to stand close to your assigned player when they are one pass away. Teaching weak-side defense will be a struggle. Choose the complexity of your drills by how well the majority of your players understand the concept.
Teach all players to bend their knees and shuffle their feet when guarding.