If you are thinking of becoming a basketball coach, the best place to start is at the youth level. You can either look at elementary basketball, middle school, or Junior high to start off your coaching career. However, your primary goal should always be to engage with the team and make them better players on and off the court. In order to do that the coach him or herself has to be a great coach. Not everyone is a great person. Not everyone is a great player. And obviously it is hard to find a great coach in your zip code.
We recommend you the 6 vital factors that you need to install in your coaching system and principles. These factors may encourage you to continue coaching if they are applied accurately.
It is important to stick to a certain philosophy, so select yours and stick with it. Great coaches usually have a certain unique style of coaching that separates them from their peers. We can see this in all level of basketball, such as the NBA, the NCAA, high school basketball in the United States or abroad, and in Pro Basketball overseas. A great coach has his own way of doing things. It is very necessary to find and or develop your certain philosophy on how you approach the game and want the game to be played. Sometimes, this is already installed in you or if not you need to develop that overtime. But, it is crucial to have it constructed and organized by the time you are relating or considering on becoming a basketball coach.
As a coach you want the best for yourself and for your players. So, it is important to have high standards early on and have those standards maintained by yourself and your youth team from the start and end of the season. No matter how many players you have on your roster, you should be making them into stars. They are your young stars, so implement the categories that make players into stars in the game of basketball. The key is to apply this from the earliest stage of an athlete’s career.
We are suggesting you the five principles to be applied on the youth and we also recommend this to be installed in your coaching doctrine.
The Habits: Future Stars
Solid pedagogy of simple courteousness and apposite demeanors. It is the coach’s responsibility to solidify this principle for all players. This part is the strict part, and requires a lot of discipline. Use your practice games, drills, and other practices to emphasize the principle of sportsmanship. This should be implemented on the players’ characters. This should stay with them till the end and develop them as positive and polite individuals. What we learn at the youth level usually stays with us for the rest of our lives. A coach also has the opportunity to shape individuals and their characters. Below are the things to do and not to do in order to develop this key element called “sportsmanship.”
Do not be one of those coaches who continuously yell at opposing coaches, players, and especially the referees. Coaches who do this should be ashamed. It is the coach’s obligation to set positive examples for young athletes. Unless you have something positive to say, don’t say anything at all. Either if you win or you lose, treat the referees and opposing coaches with the respect they deserve. You may be strict or super strict with your players, but do not shift that on the referees or opposing teams at all cost. Be respectful because the youth look up to you as guidance and inspiration.
Winning is perhaps the best thing to achieve in sports, either on a regular basis or once in a while. Basketball is fun to coach and or to play because of the winning. Yes, winning is absolutely fun, however it can also develop overconfidence, arrogance, bullishness, and immoral conduct like provoking and mocking the players or the losing team in general. Not very likeable qualities in a person. Strictly demonstrate and instruct your disciple(s) to win with dignity. Inculcate them to shake the opposing players’ hands after games and say, “Great game,” instead of just “Good game.” Coach them to be unpretentious and humble in their success. Greg Popovich from the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA is the model for winning with dignity
Losing with Elegance
As mentioned earlier in the paragraphs above, defeat is as significant as winning. Both are equally important in the development of a complete player with the quintessence of good sportsmanship. Instruct your players to definitely congratulate the winners and not be sore losers. Support your players at these stretches with reassurance, encouragement, compliments and praise. Speak to their parents and convince them to help you and their children in the sport. Their parents can offer to help your players to practice more. Moderately provide instructions on things that might need to be improved or corrected. Firmly, emphasize optimistic actions as contrasting to hurtful feelings. And most importantly, remember they learn from you because you are the head coach. Grasp yourself and hold your head high and be as humble in defeat as in victory.
Have Respect for the Game
To impress people. To rile the crowd. To make sure you are attractive. The hot dogs. Sure, they can be entertaining and occasionally comical. Except, if you are the Harlem Globetrotters, they are not really officially part of any systematized sport, just some “dude” entertaining people in basketball with unique abilities and skills.
Inform your students or players that it’s okay to be cheerful, joyful, or happy. It’s okay to celebrate, and to relish themselves, since it is only a game. Just a game of basketball here. However, your players definitely can do all that but, with respect for the game of basketball, teammates, opposition, referees, and coaches. Tim Duncan and David Robinson were great examples of how to profoundly love and play basketball with class, the right temperament, and elegance.
Obey the Rules at all times
Reminiscing the John McEnroe days. He often went ballistic when the umpire’s call was against his interests. To come to think about it, his behavior actually made him more popular amongst tennis fans. He actually became more famous for his absurd rage more than his talent and skill as a tennis player.
Why do we have rules? To keep the game fair and in order, evidently. Elucidate to your basketball ‘youngsters’ to follow the procedures and to obey and respect those that are there to implement the rules, such as sporting directors, people at the scorer’s table, and especially the person with the whistle all the time. Yes, the referee! Teach your kids to be the smart player by acknowledging the fact that not every call will go your way. Simple logic to teach and explain. We are sure that any youth across the country or globe will get a grasp of this concept and realize the reality to it in a very short time. This kind of acknowledgment comes with experience.
Instead of an extra practice day, use one of the days for watching films. By films we mean basketball clips of previous recorded games, practice, drills, and action(s) of your own team. So, before you go deep into a season manage to record every all stages of development of your team. Also, have them engage in films of other basketball drills and scrimmages, such as NBA games, NCAA games, other high school league games, or youth games that are highlighted across the country. Studying film has been one of the oldest methods in the coaching philosophy. This is definitely one tactic you or all coaches should implement in their system.
During film sessions you and your team learn about each other from a different perspective. Studying the films helps you (coach) to point out examples of both good and bad sportsmanship. Undeniably you will see both. Filmic illustrations are always an outstanding learning tool.
Never exclude your teammates
“Never exclude your teammates.” Strictly program this into your youths’ minds and understanding. No individual is a desert. Your players should know that you cannot achieve anything alone. Discourage the “ball-hog” concept and make it seem like it is totally unwanted of any team.
If one of your players is the most talented out of the bunch, that is just fantastic. As a coach you cannot ask for more, however, use him or her as a tool at the same time. A precious tool who can help your coaching and you helping him or her develop at the same time. Teach your “ace” player to help the other kids who might not be as great or as talented. Teach to comprise them and to use the gifts he or she brings to the benefit of the team. One youngster may be an excellent offensive option. Another might be the best defender. However, it’s a team game and all of them united and combined rhythmically is what will win you trophies!
- Teamwork - Teach your players that "we over me" is what most often leads to "us over them," in team sports competition. Encourage your players to be selfless and supportive teammates in both losing and winning efforts.
- Positive Attitude - Life is not fair and basketball is worse. Help your players get over it and still do what they need to do to succeed. Playing sports is one the best ways to practice overcoming adversity and preparing to handle tough times in life. Humor helps!
- Respect - Pay it forward and get it back. How a coach interacts with other adults--coaches, parents and officials--will naturally influence the behavior of your players. Be mindful that you are a role model and are always being watched. Insist that your players respect coaches, officials and opponents--like you do. Have the courage to enforce your rules with every player and parent involved with your team.
- Beliefs – Searching for a reliable way to be a great ‘formative years’ coach? Ease up! Try following this philosophy or belief system. DUNKFEED’s tip: The good news is that not one of your games will be a Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Millions if not billions of people don't even recognize your existence, let alone know and care about your practices. Exhibition league(s) and even exclusive mobile team trainers & coaches should apprehend that kids simply want to play sports and have a lot of fun at it! Sometimes you have to let the kids figure it out on their own. Don’t call timeouts on every mistake during games. Don’t rush in punishing them during errors in practice. Let them be for a while. Let them sort it out, and give them a chance to be creative but also learn from their own mistakes. There is so much that we can actually do to input the system into them. They need to have their own initiative and drive. Do however ask questions, but don't give instruction or answers. You see the technique here? Observing their growth will be fun for you too! We guarantee it!
- Communication – Always assemble the unit or team for a private meeting before the first practice of the season. Give complements, as we have suggested you to do earlier, however, do not over compliment them, rather focus on the bad most of the time. If we would have to give you a number, 80-20. For either percent of the time focus on the mistakes and what to improve and how to rehearse it on next practice. But, start off with the 20%, the compliments. Raise their confidence by appreciating them then feed them with more hunger. This is a great tactic psychologically, but also at the same time a fantastic communication tool. Ask the parents or guardians of your players to follow the same routine.
- Persistent Learning – Even the best of the best (coaches) require ongoing learning. In your struggles to learn, make sure the ingredient of the material is suitable for the talent, age and maturity level of your players.
- Custom Resources – You can find a lot of assisting services to youth coaches online these days. So, keep digging and you will find quite a lot of programs and people that want to help you improve your coaching abilities. We advise you to watch a lot of videos and definitely attend coaching clinics and youth basketball camps during t summers. Apply for coaching positions at summer camps or volunteer for some positions. Even as a volunteer you can gain a lot of knowledge and experience.
The team who practices the hardest and has the most fun at it is usually the team that wins or lifts up a trophy at the end of tournaments / leagues. This applies in all formats and levels of basketball. If you don’t have fun in practice, what more can you expect from games? Your players should enjoy competition and especially competing amongst each other during practices. Competitive drills and fitness routines will only help develop the players on a faster pace.. Theoretically, this is called devolution. Ever hear the phrase – “Things you do in practices carries over into what you do in games.”
- Skills – The first skill set you should work on with the kids is their ball handling. Basketball is a game where the ball bounces a lot, and movement with the ball is important. So perhaps games like dribble knockout are very popular drills to implement during practices. Make sure the school or institution is capable of providing each player with at least one basketball. Here is a minute long video of a team dribbling drill where coaches can learn how to implement them and or teach the kids. This is done by George Karl, a popular NBA coach.
- Team Concepts - Construct most of your offense by playing 3 on 3, but constrained to one side of the floor. Input plays and make the players to help each other understand the given plays. And for some of the offense, implement 5 on 5 half court sets. This conveys direct game time scenarios.
The involvement on a youth sports team can affect a child's development as a person, positively or negatively. So, it is important to stress the positive and make sure they get positive memories out of this. How will you (coach) assist in your player's communication skills, collaboration, ambitions and work ethic? What will you be thinking a decade from now? What will your players remember about there games and practices and mainly what they learned today 10-15 years from now? It is safe to say most of them will not remember the scores but the experience you have designed for them. That is key.Get together after games and long practices. Involve the parents as well. Have them join the team and you (coach) and go out on a bowling night. Watch a movie! Have Pizza! Ride roller coasters if you are not scared of heights! There are many ways to bond so be creative and initiative. Do what is best for the kids and their development, not just in the court while they are wearing their uniforms but also off the court. We wish you the best coach!