Want to get your player’s attention or find a useful way to handle large groups of kids at practice or camps? Having problems with kids messing around during practice? Check out the tips below.
Many coaches struggle keeping their player’s attention throughout practice, especially at the youth level because they have really short attention spans and brains of younger players are actually designed to get excited and hyper even if they don’t want to. They really can not help it, so it’s a bad idea to punish them.
Here are some ways to keep their attention and keep practice flowing smoothly:
1. Keep lectures short (2 minutes or less). If you lecture any longer than this, most kids will be in “lala” land by then. And kids don’t come to practice to hear you talk the whole practice, they come to have fun.
2. Keep drills short and fun (half court – 5 minutes or less, full court – 10 minutes or less). If you stay on a drill for too long, it becomes monotonous and the kids lose interest.
3. Clap Method – You tell the kids at the very beginning of your first practice that whenever you clap, they have clap the same number of times you clap. You clap twice, they clap twice. Make sure to also tell them that this is time for them to listen.
You can usually get everybody’s attention after 2 to 3 sequences of claps and that only takes normally 3 to 5 seconds. Much better than yelling so much you can’t talk the next day.
4. Line Method – Whenever you blow whistle or yell “lines”, the kids race to an assigned line and sit down. You might have 5 lines of 6 or 3 lines of 3 depending on the size of your group. The team that lines up and sits down first wins. Congratulate them with some enthusiasm by giving them fist-pounds, high fives, and/or verbal praise.
I’ve seen both of these methods work in small practices and huge groups.
If you need some ideas for fun drills, check out our 60 Fun Youth Basketball Drills & Games.