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Coaching youth sports can be a very big challenge, especially if you are coaching for the first time and / or have limited knowledge of the sport.
More important that an offensive or defensive philosophy, is an overall philosophy. Below are some ideas that might be worth considering.
Coaching Youth Basketball: The Elite Eight
- Teach Fundamentals – Fundamentals are the foundation of good teams and good players. Determine what are age-appropriate skills and focus on developing these. It is good to develop a teaching progression of introducing the fundamental, then incorporating skills that develop that fundamental.
- Make it Fun – Teaching fundamentals does not have to be painful. Find games such as dribble tag, that emphasize a fundamental (dribbling) in a competitive and enjoyable environment.
- Maximize Repetitions – Utilize as many baskets as possible. For example the Mikan Drill is a great, however t requires one basket per player. If you do not have enough baskets, it probably would not be wise to include in your practice.
- Create Opportunities of Success – Players will work harder if they see success. Try to allow for drills that will create success and a feeling or accomplishment. This also will create motivation in players to practice on their own.
- Challenge Players to Stretch – Expose players to drills that might be a little advanced. Some player might take the initiative to work hard and might surprise you. For example, players as young as kindergarten can drill 2 balls at once. Some players might practice and become quite skilled at a drill that you might think is over their head.
- Praise in Public – Whenever possible, try to praise players for doing the right things. A little praise can go a long way with youngsters (and adults too).
- Utilize the Practice Space – If you have access to 6 baskets, use them all. If you only have one basket, figure out how to make the best use of the space available to you. Many basketball skills do not require a basket. If you have limited time with a basket, focus on developing other fundamentals such as defense, passing, dribbling, or conditioning.
- Involve the Parents (Share drills and Philosophy) – Parents like to be involved in a child’s sports. Share a handout of drills, or if you are adventurous create a website or facebook page. (You also could share our site, we hope to be a valuable resource for parents, coaches, and players.