Coaching Basketball: 8 Simple Ways to Earn Your Player's Trust

1. Look them in the eye when you speak.

2. Listen to them and be empathetic.

3. Communicate your expectations clearly.

4. Follow-through on your promises.

5. Be honest.

6. Make sure they're having fun whether they're winning or losing.

7. Fulfill your commitment as their coach and teach them to be better players.

8. Remember that your goal is to make a difference in their lives, not win the national championship.

See, I told you it was simple. :)


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Bradley says:
9/23/2014 at 8:45:16 PM

Losing is agony, but it should be a temporary feeling not allowed to permeate longer than a day or two.

I do not believe the author meant that losing is fun, but to remember that basketball is fun and as coaches we need to remember to make it fun.


Ken says:
2/3/2013 at 5:46:47 PM


This is not the NBA. This is about teaching young kids how to play a game. Teach them fundamentals and how to play together and have fun. Losing is not fun but it's not the end of the world.
There is a lot more about working with kids Than Winning a basketball game.


Randall Beeman says:
2/3/2013 at 5:32:12 PM

You should never teach that losing is fun. Completely inappropriate. Losing is agony.


Ken says:
1/28/2012 at 11:12:39 AM

Todd -

Only you know what's best for your team.... there are times when we get kids that "need basketball more than basketball needs them." Sometimes we can reach a kid by keeping him active in something positive - other times, we just have to cut them lose. Like Jeff said, think about what's best for everyone concerned.

Mike -

You are so right, I still have some 8th grades talk to me about their last year... with a team that 2 shooters and 4 other kids that played a role to help them be successful. Lost the championship by 2 points but for a team without a gym playing a team that beat us by 26 in the regular season... they did a great job. I still see some of my Varsity kids today and we talk / kid around about their seasons with me..... and most of them said we had a great time...

Stephen -

The longer I coached this game the more I learned about how valuable practice time was. Early in my HS coaching career I had them run a lot too...
One team bought me Jim Fixx' book, The Complete Book of Running and the light went on...... once I got to be the Varsity coach... I learned to do something with a BALL.

They can learn skills and get in condition at the same time. Was out with a friend of mine and his assistant after a tough loss, the assistant says, I'm going to run them forever. I told him that is self defeating, the kids will learn nothing other than hating to run, which is what they do for 32 minutes every game. The head coach agreed.

This is a tough situation, they are Freshman playing in a new program. IF they had a captain that felt comfortable talking to him about this, that might be one route they could go. Does the Varsity coach know what's going on? Does he approve? They had two practices of just running? 4 hours wasted, what did they learn? What skill did they acquire or correct. IF You miss lay ups - run the drill some more until you are happy with the results. Another thing I learned was.. when things are going badly with a drill, move on to the next thing, you can always come back to it or run it the next day,

After games in our post game talks, I learned to spend less time with the negatives... the kids knew they lost and messed up.... my assistant and I would sit down and write down everything we messed up on. It went into the next few days practice plans.... we corrected it so we didn't make the same mistakes again.

I don't know what kind of relationship you have with this coach or the Head coach... but you might make an appointment and talk to him about this before he loses his players, they end up hating the sport and quitting. JMO


stephen.barbosa says:
1/27/2012 at 9:58:45 PM

scenario: 30 pt loss to a much bigger and faster team, if that matters at all. The JV coach the next day at practice makes the team do endless "suicides" and "ladders" and they never touch a basketball. The very next game they lose by 7 pts. but are completely exhausted. Today my nephew calls me to tell me that he tweaked his ankle during a town league game and asks the JV coach if he could miss practice. Coach is okay with it. A teammate calls my nephew and says the team ran "suicides" and "ladders" again at practice following missed layups. My nephew is a 9th grader and became a starter at the 4 position after game 4. The majority of the team is losing trust and confidence in the coach. At what point does someone or the team say "enough" and call him out on the techniques used to punish them before someone gets hurt? I played high school ball and hockey and I believe the methods work however it still isn't the military.


Mike says:
6/30/2010 at 9:20:04 AM

Being a good or even a great coach is not necessarily about X''s and O''s, but being able to related to your players in a way that makes them want to play their hardest for you. So often I see great players who play like they don''t care or teams that could be great, playing the same way. Why is that? Proper motivation from the coach/staff is very important. Seeing a team with average talent play above themselves is an awesome thing to watch. Trusting teammates and coaches is as important as having the skills necessary to play the game. Trust starts with the coach!


ariel rabe says:
3/4/2010 at 10:45:40 PM

Thanks Coach Jeff for your advice.


Jeff says:
8/7/2009 at 1:58:05 PM

As far as cutting it's I'm not suggesting that, although sometimes (very rarely) it needs to be done. If it all possible I would try not to cut any young players. Without knowing the situation, I can't even attempt to give advice about cutting players at anytime. My only suggestion is to do what's best for ALL the players on your team.

The most important thing is to teach players about life. Teach them how to be happy and successful. Teach them how to be a good friend and teammate. Teach them how to live with integrity and confidence.

With those goals in mind, ask yourself, "what's the right thing to do for the group?".


Todd A. Johnson says:
8/6/2009 at 1:02:50 PM

I was wondering if some of those players are coming back or think they are coming back with the same attitude should they be cut then unstead of later. How should I handle this.


Jeff says:
8/6/2009 at 9:53:47 AM

Todd - You absolutely can turn things around next year. Consistency is the key. Just starting the first practice the right way and setting expectations before the year can make a big difference. From there, stay consistent. Communicate your expectations before the season starts via letter and verbally in a meeting. Then consistently hold your players accountable. If they see inconsistency in your discipline, they will exploit it. Read this article:


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