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Teaching Kids the Game of Basketball

"It's amazing how much a youngster's hearing improves when he or she hears praise.

from Coach Jim Harrick, head coach University of Georgia

This is a brief outline as to how one should approach the teaching aspect in youth basketball.

  1. General Thoughts
    • Lack of fundamentals
    • Overall knowledge of how to play the game
    • Lack of team play
    • Dealing with constructive criticism: 'Coaching'
  2. Your Role as a Teacher First - Coach Second
    • Be aware of your influence over a youngster
    • Take great pride in your responsibility to the kids
    • You are an authority - A Model!
    • You are a person who can make a great impact on the character development.
  3. Character Development
    • Respect for the coach: demand their attention and their effort
    • Desire to Excel through hard work
    • Develop sportsmanship
    • Have great enthusiasm - a must!
    • Competitiveness - by the rules
    • Be a team player - respect your teammates; be unselfish
    • Maintain a positive attitude
  4. Coaching Traits
    • Praise Praise Praise. Coach with encouragement.
    • Exhibit great patience - too mny beginner's don't
    • Show compassion for an honest effort
    • Self-control - Keep your emotions in check
    • Impartiality - give each player a fair chance
    • Integrity and honesty - a constant.
    • Teach with enthusiasm.
    • 'Know what you teach and teach what you know!'
  5. Developing Your Philosophy
    • Your job is to effectively teach the execution of various fundamentals.
      • Don't give them too much - do a few things well!
      • Be clear and simple in your explanations
      • Devise a balanced offensive and defensive system
      • Stress playing the game without the ball
      • Demand quick execution of the fundamentals
      • Remain POSITIVE
  6. Key to success
    • Have a sound knowledge of your subject
    • Have discipline and accountability
    • Be organized - Maximize your practice time
    • Have Public Relation skills: Parents, refs, administrators
    • Demand attention and concentration
    • don't assume they know what you are talking about
    • Demonstrate drills
    • Use easy to understand terminology
    • REPETITION is the key to success
  7. Coaching Methods
    • The Learning Process: Whole-part-Whole
    • Reinforcement of good will repeat the action
    • Make a clear presentation of a drill or play
    • Explain necessity and importance of your teaching
    • Use teaching aids - video film sessions, chalk talks, etc.
    • Set realistic goals and strive for excellence
    • 'Inch by inch, life's a cinch, yard by yard, life is hard.'


Our thanks to Human Kinetics for sending us some excellent coaching books. You can't beat the discounted price, less than $20 including shipping.

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Excellent video with thoughts and drills on organizing your practices. Learn from one of the greatest coaches of the game, Coach "K".
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"My son's high school coach gave him a copy of the book and he read it in two days. Now he is leading the effort to get himself a scholarship. The book is inspiring and effective for high school athletes."
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