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Take It to the Hoop: A Short Guide to Coaching Youth Basketball

Updated on October 9, 2012

Coaching Youth Basketball

Do not discourage if you are not legendary basketball coach Phil Jackson or Pat Summitt. There are plenty of resources on and off of the Internet to help hone your basketball coaching skills. There are several organizations that host coaching clinics for beginner basketball coaches all the way up to more experienced coaches. With the abundance of information available on the worldwide web, you are sure to be a pro in no time. And, do not underestimate the value of a good assistant basketball coach if you are just getting started in this sport!

A few equipment essentials you will need to start coaching:

1.) Youth-size basketballs! Try to have plenty of basketballs on hand so each player can have a ball. Players begin to develop the necessary fundamental skills early on so making sure each player has a basketball for drills is essential. The more hands on a young player can be the better. However, make sure the basketballs are the correct size for the age group you are coaching.

2.) A whistle! Though it is not necessary, it is often useful to have a whistle to get the attention of your players. Many young players become overly excited and less focused on you at practice.

3.) Cones for drills! Cones are helpful when determining boundaries or starting/end points for young players. Make sure you have enough cones for whatever basketball drill you would like to practice.

4.) Pinnies! You will need these when trying to separate your players into teams for drills and scrimmages.

5.) Extra basketball equipment [basketball shoes and mouth guards if necessary (not-reusable), etc.]! Donations or sponsorships are always nice for coaches to arrange for their players in need since some children may want to play but not be able to afford the necessary equipment.

* Check with the organization your team is playing through for sponsorships and equipment donations. Many organizations will provide coaches with these materials or players with sponsorships so no child is left out of the league.

Youth basketball coaches will also need to arrange practice and game times with their organization's coordinator. It is important that a team be allowed to practice using a gym and proper basketball goals. A coach must also be able to create lineups and youth basketball plays that include all players so each child has the same opportunity to see if basketball is a sport they would like to be involved in long term. Most importantly, a youth basketball coach should reflect the ideals of teamwork, hard work, and sportsmanship in all that he or she does to ensure the correct impressions are made upon each child.

I believe that it is very important to make all drills fun when coaching youth basketball. If players are having fun and not just continually repeating motion after motion, then they are more likely to enjoy the sport and will want to practice and ultimately, learn. Make sure to make your basketball drills are "game like" to promote the skills you wish your players to learn. To see a list of drills we recommend this site for free basketball drills, tips and advice.

Remain patient, keep practice and games fun, and always encourage each child on the team. It is extremely important to remember that you are coaching children, not NBA players!


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