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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Al Lively says:
10/13/2007 at 10:35:02 AM

This is good advice.
When your team comes off the floor after losing a close game. If they feel they did their best and feel good about them selves. You are doing a good job.


Ron says:
2/9/2008 at 5:13:16 PM

This is great advice .
Cause there alot of coaches and parents who forget this , sometimes it seem that all people want is to win and they for get that its about the kids learning and having fun.


Brendan Murphy says:
11/4/2008 at 2:22:43 PM

keep up the good work i found your web site very good and usefull for a new coach



bob coackio coach says:
11/14/2008 at 9:40:31 PM

great advice Jeffery well done pat on the back (i like to treat everyone equal)


jayvic says:
1/1/2009 at 2:35:12 AM

that was great

I have a question... is it ok to punish my players? are punishements heplful for me as a coach?


jayvic says:
1/1/2009 at 2:37:29 AM

is it ok if i allow parents to be with my players during practices?


Erin says:
1/1/2009 at 2:55:55 PM

I just wanted to let you know that I took over a high school team that has won 2 section games in the past two years and I have only coached junior high for one year. I use your website as a prominent tool for me, my assistant and players. Thank you we have not won but one game but we are playing as a team and beginning to set goals that are achieveable. I am also implementing a lot of new feeder programs for our district so I have been preparing for our youth program that begins every Saturday in January. THANK YOU...your time and efforts have helped me through this transition. We are making adjustments everyday. Any encouragement, notes, tools, or experience is welcomed. Have a blessed new year!


Joe Haefner says:
1/3/2009 at 9:14:43 AM

Hi Jayvic,

I'm not a big fan of punishment, rather discipline your players. Here is a link that you can read more on this:


Coach D says:
1/16/2009 at 10:23:42 AM

My favorite High School basketball coaching memory comes from losing a championship game. It came down to the buzzer and we lost to the defending state champions by a basket. The team did everything we worked on it practice and followed every instruction during the game. After the game we met in a class room and I was totally wiped out. I thanked them for trusting me and I apologized for the loss. One of my bench players stood up and said, "No thank you coach for getting us to this point, no one ever imagined we'd be as good as we are now. Just think how good we'll be next year." With that, he came up and gave me a hug, and the rest of the team followed. We've gone on to win a few championships but none of them meant more to me than what I felt after that loss. To me, that's the reason I'm coaching (20 years later).


Coach Rixey, Middle Township Crusaders says:
1/29/2009 at 6:12:19 PM

I find that even after you lose a game that letting the players know that you are still proud of them is extremely important. I tend to say that although we strive to win all the games, sometimes that does not happen and we have to continue to work even harder to refine our skills.


Rocky says:
2/23/2009 at 12:47:16 PM

I had a player that would voice "We're going to lose again" or something to that nature at the beginning of the game. The first couple of games I admonished him saying we don't talk like that. By the third or fourth game I made him run two laps.

He was trying to be funny, not realizing that what we say has an effect on others - whether for good or for bad.

We're 6-4 now heading into the tournaments. A pleasant surprise as this group hasn't played together before, few have played organized basketball before and I'm a rookie coach... I figured we'd be doing good to be somewhat competitive, let alone win a game.

Follow the advice in this article and you'll show them not only good things to do as a basketball team - but in real life as well.


Coach Todd Johnson says:
8/5/2009 at 5:55:51 PM

I was wondering if I had bad discipline this year with my 15 and under can I get the discipline back the following year.


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:


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:
8/7/2009 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?".


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

Thanks Coach Jeff for your advice.


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!


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.


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


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:
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.


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.


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