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coach kia

No Coach Experience And I Need Help

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I have just been put in the head coach position for a 1st and 2nd grade nos basketball team. I have never done anything like this before. I want to do what is best for the children. Is there a book or something that I can read that will guide me in the right direction to make this agood experience for the kids and there parents?

Coach Kia

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Hi Coach,

This should help some...

The coaches (and trainers) who opt to make every session, practice, set and rep a 'do or die' situation. They yell, scream, speak aggressively and act angry... all in the name of 'motivation'. I'm talking specifically about the coaches and trainers who work with younger athletes, by the way. My personal style of coaching is pleasant and thought-provoking. I make it a habit of making my athletes understand what they are doing, why they are doing it and what they need to be accomplishing per set, session etc. The motivation is built into that approach... MY coaching philosophy is a different article, though!

With this article, I just want to show some basic information regarding coaching styles, from the perspective of parents versus young athletes and young athletes versus their coaches. Maybe coaches, trainers and parents will all learn a little about coaching from this (at least the ones who need to learn something).

In a study released by the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology in 1999 (Youth Athletes & Parents Prefer Different Coaching Styles), it showed that adolescent athletes (ages 10 - 18) enjoyed coaching styles that involved:

- Concerns regarding the well-being of each athlete

- Positive group tone & feeling

- Friendly interpersonal relationships

Results also showed that young athletes desire coaching styles that allowed for a certain degree of decision making by the athletes themselves with respect to sessions, practices and games.

While parents polled were not 'opposite' in their viewpoints, the study did show that young athletes desired the aforementioned criteria "more than did parents". The study actually concluded that "youth sport athletes and parents demonstrate different expectations for coaching behaviors. When most sport organizations are heavily influenced by parents in decision making, it is likely that many club administrators will make erroneous decisions because they do not reflect the preferences of the adolescent athletes".

Coaches & Trainers:

- Learn to build positive relationships with your young athletes. As I have stated before, your one hour session is a microcosm of that young athletes' week - if you don't make an effort to get to know the athlete and understand what stresses they face daily (not too mention what other types/volumes of exercise stimulus they encounter daily) you can't possibility be progressing them on an optimal level.

- Be positive when you coach. Refer to the above findings - kids enjoy and react better to positivity.

- Make sure your athletes know that you care about them as people. May sound stupid to some, by the easiest way I have found to motivate ANY athlete is by demonstrating that you have a truly vested interest in who they are and what they are doing.

Parents/Organizations Administrators:

- Don't be afraid to ask young athletes what they think regarding practice schedules, session lengths etc.

- Getting kids involved in decision making gives them some degree of ownership over what they are doing. I have always noticed that young athletes who are active in deciding certain elements of their sport/sport training have a better adherence level to the program and generally get more out of their experiences (anecdotal yes... but true none the less).

Anyone can learn the sciences associated with athletic development, but it takes a truly special and dedicated professional to become a good coach.

- Brian


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Training youth requires great patience and you must realize that the kids will not perform every move, every drill, or every situation perfectly. They are in learning stages not only mentally, but in physical and motor development patterns. My short & fast advice is to work on the basics of body control and awareness, and not get too caught up in the fundamentals of dribbling and shooting. Remember in hoops, only 1 guy has the ball, while the other 9 are either trying to get it or manuever around to get the ball in the hoop for their team. This requires great body control and awareness, or kinesthetic awareness development. Body control is a key component that is often overlooked in basketball, as most training has centered around the ball and not the true movement skills of the player without it.

Rick Karboviak, CSCS


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