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Coaching Help

Coaching Help

Off Season

If you are considering coaching for the upcoming season start planning by looking at drills, plays, offenses and defenses to teach your prospective group of kids.  Make sure that you are using age appropriate material.  If any of the things you teach are confusing, the kids will become disinterested and lose focus.  Remember when teaching your players: keep it simple and keep it fun.

Some websites for good information:

Teaching Your Team

Offense: I can’t stress this point enough…make sure what you’re teaching your team is something they can handle. The younger the age group the less likely they are to be able to learn a number of plays or an offense. Instead think about teaching proper spacing and ball movement and fundamentals that they’ll be able to build on.  There are a ton of fun drills to teach these things.

Defense: Man to man defense is the only defense permitted until 7th/8th grade. Teaching a zone may hide holes in your team but telling someone to stand in a spot and move when the ball comes in their area isn’t helping them grow as a basketball player. Man to man will get them in the flow of the game and start getting them to think about where they need to be constantly and how to defend an opponent.

The final thing I talk to all of my teams about is how to handle playing the game mentally. In today’s world the proper attitudes in basketball HAVE TO BE TAUGHT. Too much of what the kids see on TV are not the attitudes that should be expressed on a youth rec basketball court.  Build the kids up and make them better. Have confidence in one another and making sure they understand that it’s alright to make mistakes.  Teach them to lose gracefully and be respectful of other players, coaches and referees.  These things are something that I talk about on a weekly basis and before and after each game.

Start of Practice

It’s most important to stay in constant communication with your player’s parents and be approachable. I send reminder emails out to the parents the night before our practices and games to ensure we’re all on the same page and see if someone will be absent.  

I also suggest, before the first practice of the season, that you have a parent and player meeting.  This will allow them to get to know you, your experience and what you plan to do this season. I like to go over team rules and expectations. In addition, I go around and find out a little about each player that already starts to give me an idea about who they are, where they like to play and their level of experience. 


Be organized!  You’ll have one hour of their time and it can go bad in a hurry if you don’t keep things moving and fun.  My typical practice is:

  • 5 minutes of warm up.  This exercise or drill is normally how we’ll warm up before each game as well.
  • 2 to 3 minutes of conversations with the players.  This is where I ask them questions about what they need what to work on.  I also go over what we’ll be doing in practice that day and any additional announcements.
  • 15 minutes of offense.  This will consist of drills to enhance the teaching of the plays or offense we run if any at all. I would also focus on read and react situations.  Your younger groups will not pick up the plays as fast as you like if at all.  Plan teaching fundamentals to the younger groups. Focus on floor spacing, passing and team play.
  • 15 minutes of defense.  Again I will use this time going over drills to improve team defense. I also go over situational instances and have them read and react to what they see on the floor.
  • 5 to 7 minutes of situational plays.  This includes out of bounds plays, jump ball, press and breaking a press.
  • Remaining time is used for scrimmage or competitive team drills. When we scrimmage I incorporate the drills and philosophies taught in practice to be used in our scrimmages.


By half time of the first game you’ll be able to see what areas you’ll need to build on.  The season will seem very repetitive and long so set small, yet attainable goals for your team to reach throughout the season. This will help them keep focus more on the season and improving themselves and the team rather than a won/loss record.