Coaches and parents have asked me a lot of questions regarding coaching kids basketball. Maybe you’re a parent coach, a teacher coach, a former player, or just someone who enjoys working with children. You could be putting up a recreational or church league, or you might be working on a curriculum for your primary school.
Some of the youngsters may have played previously, while others have never. Many are there because they already enjoy basketball, while others are there because they want to hang out with their buddies. Some were persuaded to attempt it by their families.
Their parents will have differing viewpoints. Some may scream suggestions from the bleachers if they believe you should win every game at any cost. Some parents are ecstatic that their child is a member of your squad. Some parents are concerned that you would shout at their kid, or that their child will be ashamed if they are not a good player.
So, what recommendations do I have for you?
First and foremost, make it enjoyable. Do not shout at them anything unpleasant or humiliating. This is counterproductive, as it increases stress and leads to additional errors. You’ll come off as a bully, and the gamer may be turned off from ever wanting to play again.
You are allowed to shout, but only good remarks are permitted. If a player makes a mistake, don’t humiliate him or her in front of his or her buddies. Instead of pointing the finger at someone who is having problems with a skill or practice, blow the whistle and say, “Some of you are having difficulty with blablabla … let me teach you how to do this.” Even if you’re down by 20 points, keep a good attitude.
Show excellent sportsmanship by not shouting at the officials, insulting the opposing team and players, and so on. Teach them to play hard, but no trash talking or foul play. Instill in them a sense of deference for their opponents as well as the authorities. At this stage, victories, and losses are irrelevant. Show them that being a winner does not need winning a trophy.
Make it clear to the children that making errors is OK and that you expect them to do so. Basketball isn’t a flawless sport. Professionals and amateurs alike make blunders. Coaches and referees both make mistakes. All you have to do now is keep playing hard and learning from your errors. “There are bound to be a few weeds in a nice garden.”
If you’re mentoring a team (not a huge clinic group), educate them about collaboration and their roles on the team, such as showing up to practice, supporting one another, and so on.
Provide a leaflet for participants and parents during the first practice.
When interacting with parents, be upfront and honest, and demonstrate that you genuinely care about their child’s well-being. Get them to support you. After a match, make yourself accessible to chat with them. Any coaching advice they have to provide should be handled with tact. Instead of arguing, simply appreciate them for their time and consideration.
The majority of parents are excellent individuals who genuinely care about their children and just want the best for them. Do not dismiss your parents. It’s a snobbish, insensitive attitude. When it comes to basketball coaching, parents can nourish or destroy you. It’s true!