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Coaching Youth Basketball


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Coaching youth basketball is a continual challenge and joy. There are requirements of coaches they may not be aware of and that often look more like the role of a teacher or psychologist than a coach. To prepare themselves for educating young people in sports, behavior, growth, nutrition, and social skills, coaches should consider taking a training course or other educational seminar.

Knowing Versus Coaching

Most coaches begin their coaching careers because they know, understand, and love the sport they used to play regularly and now want to impart some of their wisdom on a new generation of athletes. While this inner drive is irreplaceable, those considering coaching youth basketball should also recognize that coaching is much different than knowing.

While coaches must be knowledgeable, they must also adopt the philosophy of an educator. Coaches must be patient, precise with explanations, and welcoming. Coaches must also correct gently, helping athletes take the lead in their development.

Proper Training

All those coaching youth basketball need some kind of formal training to help them effectively present materials to athletes. Simply knowing the sport is not enough. Athletes need to know that the coach can help them prepare mentally and physically for a competition.

Those coaching youth basketball should consider workshops, conferences, and coaching education. Several excellent books and online training programs exist to help coaches build fundamental coaching skills, which are different from standard teaching skills or sport skills.

Besides helping coaches learn important coaching techniques, conferences and other gatherings give coaches a chance to build a network of support with likeminded people. It is a great social opportunity to meet new people and learn from experienced coaching professionals. Coaches should go into any learning situation with a humble attitude and a desire to improve.

Avoiding Frustration

New coaches are often frustrated because of their inability to get the results they want. Coaching is a long-term endeavor. No matter how much a coach wants an athlete to grasp a concept or apply technique to their playing, it is only the athlete who can make changes.

Once a coach has explained a concept or answered a question, they must then step back and wait for the athlete to process things. Some athletes will respond immediately and the change will be apparent. For others, the “light bulb" may not turn on for quite some time. By setting proper expectations and letting athletes develop at their own pace, coaches can avoid frustration and engage in a meaningful exchange with athletes.

Final Thoughts. . .

Simply being knowledgeable about a sport is not enough to engage in successfully coaching youth basketball. True coaches are also teachers who display patience, clarity, and a positive attitude. Successful coaches do their best to teach a concept and step back to allow the athlete to process things and develop. To help coaches incorporate good coaching technique, conferences, workshops, and training sessions exist.

Coach Anderson's passion is coaching youth basketball . You can get his printable drills and practice plans on his website:


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