Youth sports can be difficult to coach because it’s important to make kids stronger players, as well as better people on and off the court. Every coach should develop a well-balanced coaching philosophy that combines teaching competitiveness and life lessons. As a coach, there are a variety of things you can do to make the experience positive for kids. Basketball is a great tool to help mold our youth athletically and socially. Below are some attributes that every youth coach should have.
5 Principles of Great Basketball Coaches
1. Make Teamwork a Priority
Often times in youth sports, more athletically advanced children may “hog the ball.” A great basketball coach preaches teamwork to get all participants as involved as possible. They should also strive to instill sportsmanship in all young players. It’s important to be a good teammate and a good sport, while having respect for teammates and opponents.
2. Coaching Philosophy
Develop a coaching philosophy for youth basketball with a healthy balance between competitiveness and having fun. Primarily, you should make sure your coaching philosophy is a healthy balance between being competitive and having fun. There should be clear communication between the player, coach and parents to make sure everyone is on the same page. A good coach will strive to educate kids on the game fundamentals as much as possible. In the short season that you have with them, the more you can teach them, the better.
3. Well-Balanced Practices
Youth basketball practices should include learning strategy and practicing skills. The overall approach to these practices should be to compete to learn. Competitive drills are beneficial to the young players and teaches them necessary skills. There should be equal amounts of time spent on both individual skills and team concepts. This will help them develop as individual players and grow together as a team. Individual drills and team concepts will teach them valuable basketball intelligence that they can take with them as they grow older.
4. In-Game Strategy
Your overall approach to in-game strategy and what you want to do during the game should be kept as simple as possible. That will help children by keeping it simple, so they don’t get confused. Try to keep your offenses, transition and half-court, as simple as you can, and preach ball movement and teamwork. On defense, try to stick to a simple man-to-man or zone scheme to keep it simple for them as well. This goes for a press or a half-court defense.
5. Keep Kids Safe
When you become a youth basketball coach, you become responsible for the kids you coach during practice and games. This means that you need to take necessary measures to protect your athletes. You need to make sure you prevent serious injuries (concussions, sprains and broken bones) and avoid dangerous infections. Developing a cleaning and hygiene protocol with your team and facility is critical. Make sure the gym, equipment, balls, floor and locker rooms are disinfected. Influenza, MRSA, staph, strep and many other infections run rampant in sports. The easiest way to do this is to invest in a powerful disinfectant spray for sports equipment.
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