It can be difficult at times to keep your youth basketball teams focused. People tend to get angry and frustrated and want to yell at the kids but have to remember that they are just kids and they just want to have fun. Whether you are coaching recreational youth basketball or a competitive AAU basketball program with these simple tips you can help your team stay focused, motivated and playing as hard as they can all the time.
1. Care about your players off the basketball court.
One of the most effective tools for motivating your players to work hard for you, and for their team, is to let them know that you care about them as human beings. Show them tough love. Don’t give them too much criticism or praise or else when you do it will go in one ear and out the other and never be valid.
2. Offer verbal rewards.
Positive enforcements cause young players to work hard to get your approval- No matter how complicated the concept you are focusing on is, make sure to always let your players know when they do something worthy of a compliment.
3. Add competition to your practice.
A great way to mix things up and keep players working hard is to add competition to your drills and practice agenda.
4. Set a Team Goals on the first day of practice.
Establishing your team goals from the day one is the best way to get your team focused on the task at hand, and also let your players know what kind of coach you’re going to be.
5. Set the right type of goals for your team.
Make sure that the goals you set for your team are achievable. Don’t set goals for the statistics, like scoring the most points and even winning games. Players already want those things without setting goals. Players should focus on team goals and never on individual stats. Individual goals can be chosen according to a players specific skill set or a teams ability to work hard to reach an obtainable record.
Know that what motivates some players will not motivate others. It is important to know your players so that you know how they will respond individually and as a team to motivational tactics. In the end, if you’re involved, excited, and willing to take the time to keep practices interesting, then your team will respond by winning as a team and having fun while working hard!
Coach Matt Durell has been playing and coaching basketball for the majority of his life. He has a deep passion for the game and helping better the local basketball community in the San Francisco Area. In 2009 he started Bay City Basketball, a Grassroots company that is dedicated to helping Bay Area’s youth basketball.