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Coaching children

Updated on June 7, 2007

Coaching Children

In my spare time I coach my kids various sporting teams. My kids have done soccer, BMX racing, baseball and basketball. I have seen it all, from parents that actually think it is about them to kids that feel they have to be the best player on the court. While the kid that wants to be the best player is not a really bad thing it is when it comes to not sharing the ball when he or she should.

Recently I was hired to coach FRESHMAN GIRLS high school basketball and we had a coaches meeting. At this meeting we met with the head coach and all of the other coach's. The head coach started telling us what he expected from the different teams. I explained to him that I was going to keep all 15 girls that I knew were trying out and run them in squads of 5. I also explained to him that felt that it was not about playing at this level but about developing all of the players so that by the time any of them made it to varsity they would be much better players. He told me that his expectations were that I play my best 7 or 8 kids and that I was to try to win every game. I just did not agree with this mans ideas. I mean you don't even have a play off system or a championship until you are on the varsity level so what does it matter. I quit this position after 2 weeks.

I have seen this with AAU teams as well. The coaches that coach only to win drive me crazy. I am not saying it is bad to try and win but when you belittle kids and look like an idiot then you are not doing this the correct way. My daughters current AAU coach's are some of the greatest coaches I have ever seen there program is based on development first and winning second. If my daughter makes a mistake in a game they will pull her out of the game explain what she did wrong and put her right back in. This team sometimes goes to local tournaments only to work on plays and pressing I have actually heard him tell the girls that once they break the press throw the ball out of bounds and get ready to press the other team. It is kind of weird to watch the other teams react to this as they know we are not even trying to score. Oh did I mention that our ninth grade team this year has played 80 games in tournament play and they have only lost 4 games. They have played in JV and varsity level for all of there tournaments.

I guess my point is to not worry about winning tournaments and develop your players they will love you way more for this in the long run. I know there is ego involved but trust me when I tell you that the kids will be loyal to you and after a few good seasons or years of developing them they run the table on just about any team you play them against. By the way all of our teams always play 1 year up as we want tough competition not easy wins.


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    • Coach_Pickles profile image

      Dr Brad Kayden 9 years ago from Atlanta, GA / Chicago, IL


      You have the coaching mind of a teacher and so does your daughter's coaches. I enjoyed reading what you wrote.

      Successful coaches possess the teaching trait and as you've witnessed it is usually the difference maker between good coaching and great coaching.

      As an example, when coach John Wooden was observed by researchers over 50% of his behaviors were instructional in nature. They say he rarely used positive statements without some form of instruction and his negative statements were consistently followed by instruction as well. Continue on your path but get more educated in how to integrate winning into your teaching mentality.

      As coach, I care about the kids in the same way. I realize my purpose is to prepare kids developmentally. The right coaching system is a balance between teaching and coaching.

      If you get the chance, share the difference between teaching and coaching with your daughter's coaches by checking out Jay Bilas' article from entitled "America needs more "teaching" from its coaches. It is a very motivating article.

      As a youth coach, making kids coachable is my mission.

      Another resource, if you get the chance, check out my Making Kids Coachable blog that gives great sports parenting advice and inspires coaches like your daughter's to keep doing what they are doing. Although you wouldn't know it to look at many of the coaches who are out there, there is a lot of research supporting what your daughter's coaches are doing.

      Thanks again for the blog,

      Coach Brad