This past season I got the privilege of, volunteer coaching, a Youth Basketball team, Ages 8-10. First off, I have NEVER head coached kids before. I have assisted with and coached age’s 15+ up before, but never this young an age group by myself. I had no idea, what I was in for…
I bought myself a whistle and researched online what other coaches at this age group did, and I tried to come up with a game plan.
Being part of various sports teams growing up and through my adult ages, I felt I had the “hand’s on” experience in winning championships from all levels of sports that it “might” be something I would enjoy.
“Not only did I enjoy coaching youth Basketball, but I LOVED IT!”
Starting off on [PRACTICE 1] I was scared. We only had access to practice at a lowered basketball standards, 30 minutes restricted elementary school. I requested each player have a parent present for the “kick-off” practice, so I could review rules, standards and hand printed instructions to the parents.
After letting the players warm up for 10 minutes, allowing all parents and players to be present, I gave my whistle its “first official” blow of the season and barked out…
“All right everybody…Toes to the Line“.
“Toe’s to the line” is basic and simple. When “Coach” blows his whistle and says “Toe’s to the Line“, all the players must quickly put their balls down, run to the half court line, stand facing the coach, and remain silent and wait for the coach to talk.
Let me tell you, that first time, with a parent behind each child, and all eyes on me waiting, for me to begin, was a little scary at first…
So we had a “introduction” practice for less than 30 minutes and had a game that same Saturday. They don’t keep score and neither did I for that first game, but I do know it was ugly and my “game plan” went quickly out the window as I realized I was coaching KIDS and I needed to adapt to their needs and style. I do know we scored more baskets then the other team, that day, but it was an ugly mess, that can only be blamed on the coach!
By [PRACTICE 2] we had access to a full gym, with regulation basketball standards and a hour or longer if needed time frame. It was awesome! One of the players dad’s had access, and not only would he come and unlock the gym, he would assist if needed and stay and encourage his son.
Some Basic Rules at this Level:
– No double teaming.
– No defending the opposing player till he crosses mid-court.
– Youth sized basketball used.
– Smaller courts.
– No keeping Score (no need for over-time)
– Four, 8 minute quarters
We ended up going undefeated, (I may have been keeping score during the rest of our games) with two tie games. I had so much fun, and was very dedicated and passionate towards the team, the players and our fans, that the boys could sense my authenticity towards them and responded by constantly giving me their all…
I learned some tricks in developing my coaching skills this first season, that I look forward to implementing them into next basketball season. I will be sharing those tricks and tips I have learned on my blog here as I prepare for next season and again, coaching…
“the best damn group of kids anywhere”.