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Coaching Youth Basketball - Balancing Development And Fun

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Article Written by Kyle Ohman

As a basketball coach working with youth age kids you have a responsibility to help develop a foundation for the kids but you also want to make sure that you do it in a way that the kids are still having fun and enjoying the “game” aspect of basketball. The best players are those that truly love the game and can self motivate themselves later on in life as they get older to work and get better. Too many players get burned out at a young age because of coaches drilling them and taking the fun out of the game. On the flip side though, I have seen so many kids that really enjoy playing basketball but because they were not taught the fundamentals of the game and didn’t develop at an early age are not good enough to continue to play organized basketball for a team as they get older. You want to be able to teach your players the game and keep it fun, this is the balance that each coach must find with their youth players. Here are few tips to finding this balance.

Mix up your basketball drills on a regular basis to keep the material fresh and fun for your players. If a player has to do the same thing everyday they are going to get bored and turned off to it, but if they are constantly doing new drills it is fun and exciting and they are also getting better. Players learn and develop at a different pace so don’t stress perfection or mastering something, stress effort. Yes later on in life to have success they will have to master different skills to succeed, but if you can develop the work ethic when they are young it will go a long way to mastering those skills later on. Whereas if you only stress mastering something when they are younger and they can’t do it then they will get turned off to it. Build your players up and instil in them confidence. Teach them what they need to know but everything should be in a positive light. Youth coaches should be ½ coach and ½ fan because if you want them to associate basketball with a positive not a negative. Don’t be the negative dad who is always yelling at their son or daughter in the gym.

Being a youth coach can be a challenge sometimes but once you find the right balance it becomes a lot easier and you realize that you are really making an impact on your players lives and future basketball careers, and that is what it is all about.

This article was written by Kyle Ohman. Kyle Ohman was a thousand point scorer at Liberty University (div. 1), was ranked the 19th best shooter in the country by Fox Sports his senior year. Kyle has also played professionally in Spain. Most recently he coached a high school team that played on a national level and beat the 12th ranked team in the nation. Kyle is also the Co-Owner and founder of BasketballHQ.com

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Hi Kyle

Great little piece.

Agree with the need between balancing fun and development. There is no reason however that development can't be fun.

For many coaches it becomes about finding a group of drills which work and then just developing a schedule for implementing these activities.

Basketball should be at the junior levels more fun focused. Using drills that involve mass participation, quick reps and plenty of competitive situations will all help achieve this.


Functional Basketball Coaching


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