20 Basketball Coaching Tips to Improve Your Team

If you are considering basketball coaching or you are a coach already, you will probably be looking for ways to better your craft. There are some great tips here that you can marry with your personal commitment and dedication to the team. You could be successful by implementing all of just some of these tips; it really depends on your unique group of players.

What Is Basketball Coaching?

Basketball coaching is a pretty self-explanatory concept. It involves the commitment of a person who wants to help young players succeed. The biggest objective in basketball coaching is motivation. It is crucial for the coach to foster their players’ confidence and skills.

One of the primary ways a coach can motivate a team is through practice. As a coach, you would want to make practice fun and productive at the same time. The role of the coach means wearing many hats, but the objective stays the same; to encourage the players.

Why Proper Basketball Coaching Is Important?

You have probably heard it said before that “practice makes perfect.” The reality is only perfect practice can make perfect. Because of muscle memory, the average basketball player will learn a lot through repetition. If players are being taught to repeat improper technique, their bodies will eventually take the errors for granted.

Proper basketball coaching can help players avoid the counterproductive drills and habits that plague so many teams. By adding these tips to your repertoire, you can be confident that you are practicing responsible basketball coaching. Your players will succeed and have more fun as they grow confident through your methods.

20 Basketball Coaching Tips to Consider

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but these are some proven ideas to help you and your team succeed. Your dedication and sincerity will go a long way as you implement these tips.

Find Yourself a Coach

Although you are the team’s coach, you will benefit from finding your own personal coach. Look for someone who can be a mentor and help you grow in your basketball coaching career. You should enlist someone who will not only encourage you but challenge you as well. Your players will sense your confidence on the court and having a trusted mentor will foster your certainty out there.

Although you are expected to teach others, don’t be afraid to learn as well. Why reinvent the wheel when you can stand on the shoulders of giants instead? Some of the most successful coaches are also lifelong students of the game.

Develop Your Drills

There is no shortage of practice routines and drills available on the internet. Between your personal experience and your access to Google, you should have a comprehensive list of drills to take your team to the next level. Make sure you cover everything from the fundamentals to the advanced. You don’t want your players exposed to repetition unless it involves proper technique. By curating a list of drills, you can be sure your team is getting the most of their practice time.

Consistency Is Critical

This one is all on you, the coach. It is of the utmost importance that you are consistent in your commitment to the team. Showing up to your practices and games, week after week, will convey your dedication to the team. Although this responsibility can be tedious, actions speak louder than words. Consistency says “I care” and your players will want to hear it. If you are going to lead by example and expect your players to try their best, you will need to as well.

Lay The Foundation

Every sport has its respective fundamentals. Make sure you are thoroughly covering the basics in your basketball coaching. The drills you’ve established should address the crucial skills. Offense, defense, and proper technique are building blocks of the winning teams. You have to learn how to crawl before you can run (or dribble a ball).

Always Be Prepared

This one also depends solely on you coach! President Abe Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” If your practices are going to be productive, you’ll need to be prepared. The players are expecting to show up and get going. Nothing will stifle morale more quickly than you being unprepared. Would you want your star player to show up without his uniform? If you are expecting the team’s best, you should be reciprocating at every chance. This is another opportunity to let your players know that you are fully invested in their success.

Attack the Weak Spots

Whether it’s your team or yourself, identify the weaknesses and focus on strengthening them. The best coaches and players aren’t the ones who work on the things they are good at. Your team will become much more balanced if you practice the techniques that really need it. Don’t be afraid of honesty when it comes to discovering the areas that need improvement.

Foster Competition

Get your team used the competitive nature of the sport. You could benefit from encouraging healthy competition in practice, so your team isn’t shocked when game time rolls around. Keep a balanced approach though, as the players should also be having fun. It can’t always be about winning after all.

Call for Help

Sometimes it takes a village to lead a team. Don’t be afraid to know your limitations and reach out for help. Unfortunately, you can’t know everything or do everything so that you will need some assistance along the way. It would even be wise to consider an assistance coach or team manager. The show must always go on whether you can make it or not. Asking for some help with your basketball coaching might take you to another level you couldn’t reach on your own.

Take Some Notes

One of the basic practices of the scientific method is recording your experience. Do yourself and your team a favor and jot down the highlights. It might help tremendously if you write down what your processes are and the results you see. This will allow you to have a higher level of insight into your performance and your team’s behaviors.

You can’t always stop and take mental notes in the midst of the action. By taking notes, you might be able to fill in some of the missing details throughout your season. You will be able to avoid repeating your mistakes as well.

Set Goals

You and your team should set goals, both short-term and long-term. Nearly all successful coaches made their way to the top by having and accomplishing goals. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with the small stuff and build on it.

As you achieve the short-term goals, you will begin checking off the long-term ones too. This is an important concept to convey to players. You won’t want them obsessing over big picture stuff when they still need to master some of the basics.

Back to School

This one ties back into some of the tips mentioned previously. It will help your basketball coaching if you can remain teachable. There are so many resources on coaching nowadays that you would be remiss to ignore all of the knowledge available to you. Although your team will need your expertise from the beginning, there is no reason to stop learning along the way.

Stay abreast of the latest technology and methodology simply by hopping onto the internet. Even a basic search of YouTube will drum up buckets of ideas and suggestions for your endeavor.

Study the Competition

You’ve probably heard about professional coaches watching footage of their competition. Don’t be left in the dark when the big day comes. You and your team should know what to expect from the opposition. If the game becomes a chess match, you will want your players to be thinking a couple moves ahead of their competitors. You can empower them by doing your due diligence beforehand.

Talk the Talk

This one falls under the personal development category of your basketball coaching. You might not be comfortable will giving speeches, but your team will inevitably need some. Whether it’s a pregame pep talk or a recap after practice, you will want to be comfortable addressing a crowd. Your players will look to you when they need a boost or even some constructive criticism. Don’t afraid to let them know what you are thinking, loud and clear.

Know Your Audience

This one speaks to basketball coaches within schools especially. There will be several age ranges that you need to be cognizant of. Some teams might also be co-ed, so it is important to consider your demographic. Your expectations and your approach will vary from group to group. In order to effectively reach your players, you’ll want to be on their level.

Walk the Walk

Your basketball coaching approach should emphasize leading by example. You can make this happen by getting into the action yourself. Don’t shy away from hitting the court alongside your players. By demonstrating techniques and drills, you will be able to communicate more efficiently. Your team may also get the sense that you put aren’t all talk and that you know your way around the court. This can be much more engaging, especially with the younger athletes. For many players, it is more about what you show than what you know.

Branch Out

Don’t discount thinking outside of the box in your basketball coaching plan. You might feel inspired by taking a look at how coaches in different sports are doing things. Some of the best coaches and teams thrive in a creative environment. Through exposure to other sports, you can build up your own methods. Many sports overlap each other in one way or another too. You might be surprised by how similar two seemingly different sports can be.

Focus on Fun

Ultimately athletes compete for the enjoyment and fun of the sport. Although winning is important, it falls under the umbrella of having fun. If you are not enjoying yourself, the players will sense it. This can lead to the team being uptight and hesitant when it matters most. Keep in mind why you are showing up every week. If you are enjoying the process, your team will follow along. All of your hard work will pay off when your players are relaxed enough to practice what you preach.

Be Sincere

Show your players that you are genuinely interested in them and their sport. Younger athletes will especially appreciate you being considerate of their perspective. One of the fundamental pieces of communication is establishing a relationship. You could see greater results from your team if you have established a report with them, prior to asking for their attention.

Have an Open Mind

As you interact with different personalities and process different ideas, you will benefit from keeping your mind receptive. While it is beneficial to determine your objectives, you could also increase your chances of success by considering alternatives. Don’t be so rigid that you miss the opportunity to improve your basketball coaching. Let your approach evolve as you acquire new information.

Sportsmanship Matters

Your basketball coaching might benefit from a balanced agenda. Take the opportunity to teach your players a little bit about life beyond the court. At the end of the game, win or lose, both teams are supposed to shake hands. It could help your team succeed if you focus on character in addition to the competition. The greater good of your sport will benefit as well.  


Basketball coaching is like many other pursuits, in that you will get what you give. There are many players out there just waiting for committed coaches. With the right knowledge, preparation, and dedication – you can answer the call. Go back through this list of tips and narrow down what works best for you. Remember, not all coaches or teams are created equal. If you know yourself and your players, your basketball coaching should be admirable and effective.


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