Basketball coaching needs a unique commitment from someone that other jobs do not require. Basketball coaches have to play many roles for their athletes and work to keep their team healthy and happy. With hard work and dedication, nearly anyone can become successful at basketball coaching.
Develop a Basketball Coaching Philosophy
All coaches should have a coaching philosophy, and basketball coaching is no different. A philosophy should cover what the coach thinks is most important in the sport and what they hope to teach athletes during their time together. A philosophy should help drive practices and competitions and define the role the coach wants to play.
Communicate with Stakeholders
Basketball coaching requires communication, and not just with the athletes. Coaches should be in constant contact with other stakeholders—people interested in the program. These people often include the athletes’ parents, the administration, the owner of the space used for practice and competition, and the community at large. Coaches should develop messages to deliver to each group and recognize the importance of keeping everyone informed.
Push for Learning and Development
Coaches need time to learn and develop too, and all basketball coaches must continue their education through seminars, workshops, or lectures. Coaches should push for the flexibility to attend the programs they find most useful and put real time and effort into the techniques provided. Coaches can also use this time as a way to build relationships with other coaches and get good ideas from colleagues.
Coaching youth basketball is demanding, and all coaches face burnout at some point. The coaches who become “friends” to their athletes instead of maintaining a distance are more likely to experience burnout, so coaches should make an effort to play many roles to athletes but avoid the role of friend. When in this situation, coaches must express their need for personal time to rejuvenate, rediscover their love for the sport, and get reenergized to come back and perform even better.
Set Goals Early
Basketball coaches need to have goals in order to know if they are properly managing their team. At the beginning of the season, the coach should sit down with athletes and discuss what they hope to achieve during the season.
The coach can have a different list from the athletes, as the coach’s list will probably contain things like “build self-confidence,” “teach 3 new skills,” etc. When a coach has everyone’s buy-in on the goals, it will be much easier to enforce policies that help the team achieve those goals.
Life as a Basketball Coach
Basketball coaching is a rewarding experience, but it also comes with challenges. Coaches will need to balance their own needs with the needs of the team and work to provide everyone with consistent coaching. Coaches should strive to communicate well with all stakeholders and to give themselves enough time for professional development. When facing burnout, coaches should make known their personal needs in order to avoid leaving the sport altogether.
By developing a philosophy and setting goals early, coaches make basketball coaching no more difficult than any other job. These help set the stage for the year and put the coach in a good place for success.
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