The first fundamental to instill in young players is that basketball is a team game. If there’s one lesson you want to leave with them, it is this – no team is going to win unless each player contributes through passing. Everybody has to learn how to dribble, pass, defend, rebound, and hustle if the team is to play well and succeed. Make it clear that unless everybody does their part, the team has very little chance of winning consistently.
This is the first step in building a team mentality. Let your players know the team always comes ahead of the individual. Stress the idea every player is important, and that everyone must contribute to the team’s effort. Most importantly, you have to mean those words. Don’t fall into the trap of playing the same five players and then pushing the others off to the side. Let every player know that he or she is going to be called upon to play and perform during every game.
And remember, if you show confidence in your team, they will rise to the challenge. Praise not only makes a player feel good, but it also results in bringing their game to a higher level.