Coaching Basketball: Communicating With Your Players, Coaches and Parents

Your next important step is to communicate all those important rules, philosophies, and schedules you have created in our previous articles.

This is a critical step to make your season a success and keep things on track.

You need to document your:

  • Rules
  • Practice schedule
  • Game schedule
  • Expectations of players
  • Expectations of parents
Have a team meeting to communicate this information. Go over it verbally before the first practice. Ask for questions and make sure that the information is understood. Give them handouts to take home to their parents. In fact, if you can also email the information to the parents or hand it to them directly, you're one-step ahead. Guaranteed, once an issue arises, and they will, at least one parent will claim that they didn't receive the information.

Difficult Parents

Dealing with difficult parents is part of any coaching equation. This is one of the reasons why I strongly recommend that you hand the parents your season packet.

You can also keep the lines of communication open by sending home weekly notes about what the team is working on. This will help involve parents and they can practice at home with their children. Additionally include the schedule and reiterate any rules or expectations that you have for the team, particularly the ones that parents might have a difficult time grasping.

Like your young players, parents need to know what to expect and some will test you. You need to be prepared to stick to your guns and stand up for yourself. If you have a rule that parents are not allowed to sit behind the bench during games and 'backseat coach' then take measures to prevent this. Remind offenders of the rule and the reason for it.

One last suggestion. Don't feel like you need to defend yourself or convince others of your rules or the reasons behind them. You've written everything down, right?


Let's move into the fun stuff! Getting ready for your practice.


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iglis says:
9/24/2016 at 1:35:34 PM

I am Iglis Gjyrezi . 15 years old. I am from Albania.
I starts basketball before 4 years ago.
I play in position 3/4.
I have need for any programs from you for speed, shoting other
Plese help me because i want to be a basketboll player. Help me for realize this dream.
Why any day i play with you?
I would be very grateful



Ken Sartini says:
3/12/2014 at 8:25:13 PM

Robert - this is from Jeff or Joe /

Unfortunately, these parents see college coaches yelling and don't realize that these are older players and that these coaches have different relationships with these players.

College coaches have to win or they are gone... there is a lot of noise in those gyms and I would bet that they cant be heard very well unless they yell. As for standing up... I was a high school coach and I was up a great deal of the time... its kind of what we do.


3/10/2014 at 1:38:02 PM



Ken says:
1/24/2012 at 9:03:39 AM

Tough loss Dan -

But your kids really stepped up their game and that you can be proud of.

You gave the G'dad great advice.. its much better for this boy to PLAY rather than SIT on a level above him. AND you told him straight out that there is no program at the middle school for 6th graders - its the same here... 7th and 8th grade teams at the public schools.

Its a shame that he wants to push this kid instead of allowing him to progress in a program that can help him. Let him go check it out and maybe he will back off.


dolphindan1 says:
1/23/2012 at 11:29:39 PM

Lost by 1 a team that beat us by 13 two weeks was kids best game...they had 4 kids bigger than my center but my center and two small forwards really boxed out and controlled the boards....

Here is something funny....the granddad of the kid all my posts are about wants he kid to play jv next a 6th grader....i told him first of the jv team may lose one player next year....i also told him there are two 8th graders that would start on the bteam that are getting no playing time on jv....i also asked why is he rushing the kid as a 6th grader....i told him it would be better to stay on bteam and play than sit on jv....finally i told him to be honest the kid isnt ready for jv that he cant even handle a bteam press....grandad said well if he doesnt play jv he will go play middle school ball at public school....i told him 6th graders dont play school ball in our i am the bteam and jv baseball coach for a local public school....


Ken says:
1/22/2012 at 2:15:40 PM


Great thoughts Jeff -

Jeff is right, you are playing too many games and too close together. You should have a practice to game ration of at least 3-1 with your age group. Somebody must be in some kind of hurry to play a lot of games and get the season over with. NOT in the kids best interest.

The first thing I did when I took over the program was to eliminate back to back Friday / Saturday stuff. We went to Tuesday - Friday except for tourneys. I caught some grief about it but thats what I wanted and they are still doing that today.

This gave us some time between games to work on areas of concern... and work on our game plan.


Jeff Haefner says:
1/22/2012 at 9:17:40 AM

For next year, see if you can get fewer games and more practices. Do what ever you can to improve the schedule and situation.

This year, have mini practices before every game. You usually get 20 minutes to work on skills, correct errors, etc before games.

If you don't have a gym, work on footwork before games in the hallway. You can also warm up in the hall so you can start working on fundamentals the second the basket gets freed up. Use substitutions to correct errors and then put the kids right back in. Talk to them on the bench about the situation and send them back. You might already be doing these things, so just a few ideas in case it helps. You are in a very tough situation so sometimes you have to be creative to find time and teach teach teach every second that you can. Good luck!


Ken says:
1/21/2012 at 11:17:31 PM

Youth coaches have a whole different set of problems.... biggest one being practice time.
(not to mention some parents haha - they are at every level)

I cant imagine playing 4 in a row without at least one practice in between games... no way to correct problems so they just keep making the same errors.

Great job on the big kid.... I did that once on a 6'7 center... a page out of Bobby Knights book vs Northwestern, front and back BEFORE he got the ball... this kid was averaging 27 ppg, we held him to 7 and lost by 3.

Hang in there, as long as your kids are improving, thats what is important. When you do get a chance to practice, try to work on more than one skill in every drill.

Things will get better and as long as your kids are learning something and having FUN.... you are doing things right.


dolphindan1 says:
1/21/2012 at 10:42:11 PM

Its tough to deal with only fundamentals when i get at tops 10 practices and 6 are before the season starts....i had 4 games before i could get another practice....i am no on another 4 game streak before i will get anymore court its hard to work on stuff we need to work on including fundamentals....its a frustraing situation...we lost today to a much bigger team by 3....winning at the start of fourth and they pressed amd trapped my 5th grade pg and he panicked as did the other guard...good news is this team beat us by 12 a week ago and one guy had 14 pts...he is a 6 foot 2 inch 8th grader....we doubled him front and back and it worked he had 2 points on a put plan worked...we just as a young team couldnt handle pressure...i am happy we improved but we could be alot better with more practice time


Ken says:
1/21/2012 at 10:15:35 AM

Jeff -

Its good that you could stick to your principals.

My first year at the high school level I was an assistant football coach at the Freshman level.
I asked the head coach why we weren't putting in more of our offense, he told me that right now it was more important to hone our fundametal skills, they are ahead of us right now, but by the time conference play starts we will be way ahead of them... how right he was and a great lesson I learned.

I tell a lot of the coaches that I help that the game is a JOURNEY... NOT a destination. Be patient with your players ( and yourself ) and build your program from the bottom up..... meaning a good solid foundation of FUNDAMENTALS.

Winning is a by product of a sound fundamental team.


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