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.
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.
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.
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.
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.