9 Tips For Coaching Youth Basketball

It can be tough coaching youth basketball. You often have kids at various skill levels, meaning you have to be flexible.

You want drills that are challenging and competitive, while still allowing youth to enjoy the game. Today, we are going to look at nine tips for coaching youth basketball. These tips encompass all age groups and should help you have a successful coaching season.

Be A Good Role Model

At the youth level, kids are going to adopt the style of their coach. This can be either a good or bad thing depending on your temperament. This season, strive to have an encouraging, positive attitude towards all of your players. Maintaining this attitude will teach your players good sportsmanship and leadership.

Some key components to watch out for include:

*Never curse at anyone.
*Encourage don’t discourage. If you have a kid who is slower to catch on, encourage them.
*Don’t complain to referees
*Maintain a positive attitude even when things don’t go your way.
*Always shake the other team’s hands after a game.

Remember, your job isn’t just to develop basketball players, but to develop these kids as young men and women.

It’s All About The Kids

We know that it is easy for youth coaches to be overly competitive. While it is okay to be competitive, make sure you are not the center of attention. Often times, we notice that coaches live through the performance of their kids on the court. Remember, this is not your basketball journey but theirs. You should make sure that all of your activities are geared towards development and fun rather than strict rules.

Come Prepared To Each Practice

Kids love structured activities, that require them to participate throughout the practice. This will allow all of your team to participate, get to know each other and improve. The way that you get better is through practice; which is why it’s important to come to each practice with a ready-made plan.

A good practice schedule includes a variety of activities that help your team improve. Obviously, you should adjust based on the age group you are coaching, but here is a sample practice schedule for one hour.

*Stretching: five minutes.
*Defensive Drills: 15 minutes
*Offensive Drills: 15 minutes
*Water Break: two minutes
*Free Throw Shooting: five minutes
*Press Break: five minutes
*Inbound Play: five minutes
*Fun Drill: eight minutes

Have An Organized Pregame Warm-up

Speaking from experience, the team that has a better organized pregame warm-up is usually the team that wins the game. It helps your group develop togetherness while allowing for effective drills before the game.

If possible, find out before the game how much time you have to warm-up. Some departments provide five minutes while others allow 10 to 15. From there, develop a pregame warm-up schedule. This should cover the most important fundamentals that you have taught.

A typical 15 minute warmup schedule could look like the following:

*Layup lines: five minutes
*Jump shot lines: four minutes
*Free Throws: three minutes
*Pregame huddle/strategy: three minutes

Be Ready To Deal With Parents

One of the unfortunate, yet inevitable tasks that comes with coaching youth basketball is dealing with parents.
It seems like every single season there is at least one parent complaining about their child’s playing time, how you’re coaching the team, or some other complaint.

Hear what they have to say, but take it with a grain of salt. After all, you are the coach. Another pointer, don’t hold a grudge against the child of a complaining parent. It can be difficult, but don’t bring the child into the dispute.

Don’t Be Afraid To Pull Players

You should never be afraid to take a player out of the game if they are making poor decisions, or not following the game plan.

However, you have to do this the correct way, so that you don’t damage their confidence. Often times, kids have the jitters during the game, so don’t berate them as they walk to the bench. Instead, explain to them what they did wrong and point out positives. This will help them build confidence in their abilities.

Exploit Mismatches

This piece of advice is geared more towards older groups of youth basketball. Basketball is a game of mismatches, which is why it’s important to exploit them.

Both before and during the game, we recommend that either you or an assistant coach look at the players on the opposing team. Get an idea of their height, speed, shooting, and athleticism.

During the game, put your players in advantageous positions that will maximize their success. A common example is whenever you are facing off against a taller, slower team. If you have a team of quick players, recognize this and work to get out in transition.

Call Time-outs At The Right Times

There are several situations during which you should use a time-out.
If the opposing team has momentum, consider calling a time-out to refocus your players.
If your players are noticeably tired, consider calling a time-out to give them a rest.
Call a time-out if you feel that you need to make an in-game adjustment.
If your player is trapped in a corner with no passing angles call a time-out,

Emphasize Defense

Many kids today want to jack up three pointers, without recognizing that the way to win a game is through defense.
Teaching your team defense instills unselfish principles that help them bond as a team. To run an effective defense you must communicate, give effort, and be in the right position.

Try several defenses including man and zone to see what suits your team best. Hopefully this guide has helped you gain some knowledge about different drills and skills to help make your season a success. Use these tips if you are coaching youth basketball to have a fun, competitive season.