Coaching youth basketball can be just as rewarding as it is challenging. Being able to support your players during their most trying moments, however, provides the ultimate amount of satisfaction. Best of all, although it can be difficult to ascertain the needs of each of these individuals, there are several times when the need to reach out and offer a little extra support is all too obvious.
1. When They’re Play Isn’t Its Best
During your time spent coaching youth basketball, you’ll come across players who perform consistently well and those who are consistently lagging. This might be due to personal effort or mere differences in overall talent. When you have an exceptional player who happens to have an off game, however, you definitely want to help rebuild and bolster this individual’s self esteem. Although good coaching might seem like its all about pushing your players to push themselves harder, helping them regain their confidence after an off night will not only bolster them on the court, but it can also make them more resilient in all other areas of life as well.
2. When Players Aren’t Put Into The Game
Failing to call a key player into the game could be a minor oversight on your part. Many times, however, this is often a generous effort on the part of coaches to give every active team member a chance to participate. Don’t underestimate just how challenging these decisions can be to a person’s sense of self-worth, especially if this is someone who’s consistently worked hard to be a central part of your games. Also, be cognizant of the fact that in addition to having questions about their own self-worth, they’ll also have to explain their absence to any personal fans that have come to see them. This is a great time to offer words of encouragement and to let your players know how much you look forward to seeing them on the court in future games.
3. When Players Graduate
You work all season long to build a sense of team unity. Although graduation is all about looking ahead to bigger and better things, many students feel as though their core families are being ripped apart. Tell your students how happy you were to have them and let them know that you expect them to come in when they can to check out your future teams. This is also a good time to let your players know that you will always be there for them, whether they need advice or letters of recommendation. Ultimately, they mostly want to know that they won’t be gone and forgotten as soon as they cross the stage.
4. When Players Are Suddenly Pushed Into Leadership Roles
Getting thrust into a leadership position can definitely be overwhelming, whether this happens in the middle of the game or after a team captain has unexpectedly quit. Let these individuals know that you believe in them and that you’re sure they’re going to do an amazing job. Also, let your players know that they can always reach out for any guidance they need when assuming these positions. THE TEAM CAPTAIN’S LEADERSHIP MANUAL from Jeff Janssen is a great book to share during times like these.
5. When The Rumor Mill Starts Churning
School rumors are just as painful as they have always been, but hurtful gossip can be spread infinitely faster and on a much larger scale than it ever could before. With more teens using Facebook and other social media platforms to discuss important life details, the rumor mill can be infinitely more detrimental to the mental health of your players. Get the group together to talk about social responsibility and using social networking platforms responsible. Sharing your own life experiences when coaching youth basketball will show your players that you care. It will also give you the prime opportunity to pass valuable life lessons down that you’ve had to learn the hard way.
6. When They Ask To Spend Time With You
More often than not, your players will initiate time with you by asking you to shoot together. This is always a good time to open the gym. It lets your team know that you’re personable and approachable and it also helps break the ice so that you can start forming more effective connections. These are relationship-building opportunities that you definitely don’t want to pass up on during your time spent coaching youth basketball.
7. When They’re Grieving
If you have a good rapport with your students, then you’ll likely be the first to know whenever significant life or family events occur, such as the death of a loved one. Given that you probably spend more time with your players during anyone else in their lives, this is definitely an instance in which they’ll need you the most. Even shooting hoops one on one can be an easy and effective way to help teens work through their grief.