When coaching basketball to young kids, it is important that you have a good understanding of the rules of the game as well as know some coaching fundamentals. These two are very important as you cannot survive as coach without them. Given that the rules of the game are simple to understand as you’ve likely played the game many times before, having coaching skills on the other hand is very different, especially if this would be your first time to be one.
The truth is there are a lot of skills needed to be an effective coach. This means you cannot be a skilled and effective coach in one season as this takes both time and experience. However, there are certainly several things you can learn in a day so that your approach to coaching is in the right manner. Coaching on your first day and not knowing what to do will certainly make your players doubt you. Even if you are a good player, it does not mean you can easily impart the knowledge that you know to them, especially if they are just young kids.
The list below shows some of the fundamentals of coaching to make any first time coaches ready and confident.
Tip 1: Be Organized and Prepared – a coach should be organized even on the first day of training, otherwise, the players will lose confidence in his coaching capability. If a coach is organized and prepared every practice, he will be able to chart the progression of the team. The truth is, organizing the team begins on the very first day of practice, even way before the league’s season begins.
A coach should always plan ahead of time, such as when the best time to do training, drills, practice games, or practice games with other teams. This way, the coach will be able to spot any weaknesses within the players and the team itself so corrections can be made. There are coaches who lose this perspective because they are blessed with excellent players. They fail to notice the improvements needed to make the team better as they bathe with winning.
Tip 2: Maintain Discipline and Focus – attitude is very important in basketball. Make sure your players see practices as learning experiences and not just as dribbling, passing, shooting, and running drills. This is because practices sessions are not just meant for learning physical drills, but also for learning mental ones. When a player is unable to focus during practice, it means he also won’t be able to focus during a real game. If a coach really wants to make a difference, not just for the team’s sake but also for the improvement of his players, he will keep them focused and motivated so that all can work hard towards their improvement.
During practices, players need to be focused the whole time. While they can have fun and enjoy what they are doing, they still need to work hard as much as possible and try to improve to the best they can. In fact, you can only practice so much with your team before the season begins. This means you need to be acquainted with your team as soon as possible and as much as possible while getting the team acquainted with their teammates so there is trust between each other. Having developed discipline, focus, and trust, players will be able focus better not just during practice, but also during the game. Such discipline will slowly unite the team and make them better.
Tip 3: Model Proper Behavior – nothing sets the manner and mind-set of the team as the coach’s attitude. If you want your team to become disciplined, then you should demonstrate discipline yourself. One good example for this is the habit of coaches asking their team to be present 15 minutes earlier before practice time so they can warm up and practice some of their weak points. If you want your team to be 15 minutes earlier, then as a coach, you need to be at least 20 minutes earlier so you can prepare some of the equipment needed for the drills as well as be able to identify players who come in early for practice.
Another proper behavior that coaches should demonstrate would be respect. A coach should respect the game, its officials, as well as the opponents. If a coach is disrespectful towards referees, screams at them, slams chairs in the bench, shouts at his players, as well as making bad unnecessary comments on the bench, then this attitude will likely be followed by players and eventually be played towards the game.
As a coach, you need to be the model of your teams, especially if you have very young players. A coach should always practice appropriate behavior, discipline, well-mannered, calm and composed during games. This type of attitude of a coach will eventually be the foundation that will build the team.
Tip 4: Every Player is an Individual – each player in the team is different, and so are their positions and skills. For example, Michael Jordan is a shooting guard, but you cannot expect every shooting guard to be like Michael Jordan. The same goes for other players. If you have a skilled player, do not expect your other players to be able to do what your skilled player can do. This also goes for player development. Some players simply learn and cope faster than others. It’s a fact of life.
When coaching basketball, try to focus on individual skills, levels, and player development. This is why it is essential to have preparation and organization so you can track the progress of each of your players. Only with this can you help your player become better, and thus for the team to become better. Before the start of the season, you can make assessments for each player and try to set goals for their skill improvement. Once you have accomplished the individual development of your players, you can then start developing their teamwork and how to act as a team.