Respect the Golden Rule

Treat your players, their parents and the officials in the same manner you want to be treated. That means no yelling, no sarcasm, and no embarrassing anyone in front of others. To gain respect, you must give respect.

Be Everyone’s Coach

As the saying goes, “there is no I in TEAM.” Let everyone contribute. That goes for your own kids, too. If you coach your own child, be sure not to shine the light too bright or too low on them. Treat everyone the same.

Appreciate Your Assistants

No youth basketball coach can do it all. Find a good assistant or two, give them responsibility and never stop thanking them.

Focus on the Fundamentals

Help your players master the basketball basics. Wins and losses come and go, but you only get one chance to develop a player’s skills. Don’t waste that opportunity. And remind your players that hustle is also a fundamental skill.

Check out more videos on skills and drills to continue to develop coaching techniques.

Teach—and Enforce—Good Sportsmanship

Spend time at practice and before games explaining to your team how to behave after a win or a loss. Good sportsmanship means no trash talking or taunting. Teach your players to develop a positive relationship with the officials. Have the courage to enforce sportsmanship if one of your players misbehaves. That’s the key.

The Jr. NBA has developed Practice Plans specifically centered around teaching and enforcing good sportsmanship.

Understand the Rules of the Game

Read the rulebook. Identify any special policies your league has adopted. You can’t expect your players to know the rules if you do not.

Have a Positive Rapport with the Officials

Officials will not respond positively if you try to bully or intimidate them. Instead, act like an adult. Ask questions if necessary. Seek clarification if it’s warranted. Set the right tone for your team by never arguing a call or disparaging an official.

Promote Fun

Avoid getting too serious. Don’t get crazy about winning. Make sure you smile. Above all else, make sure the kids are having fun. If they aren’t, then you are doing something wrong.

Be Patient

Young players are going to miss shots. They’re going to make crucial turnovers. They’re going to commit needless fouls. They need the freedom to make mistakes. It’s your job to help them learn from those mistakes. That takes time and patience.

Talk to the Parents and Understand Their Goals

From the first practice, talk with the parents. Explain your coaching philosophy. If a parent has a particular concern, give them the opportunity to discuss it with you. Parents come to games to see their kids play. Make sure every player has the opportunity to make a contribution.

Providing parents with resources to support their athletes can be a positive way to build report and relationships.