5 Tips To Get You Ready For More Talented Teams
Whether as players or coaches, we have all experienced times where we were clearly outmatched against our opponent. These are situations where you know your team has to play almost perfect just to have a chance. In youth sports, there can often be huge gaps in talent, physical development, etc. that present very lopsided competition.
As coaches, it is important that we build confidence in our players so that they can compete at a high level no matter how seemingly overmatched they may be. Below are 5 tips/suggestions on how to handle:
- Prepare as you would otherwise- It is important to prepare for a game as you normally would, whether that includes film study, scouting etc. Look for the team’s weaknesses as well as your team's strengths, and any area you might have an advantage.
Players know if the preparation is different and not preparing could come off as “Coach doesn’t think we have a chance.” That can kill a team’s confidence. Which highlights the next tip.
Build Confidence- The ability to motivate is one of the more important characteristics of a coach. Players will believe as much as the coach believes, and a coach that is able to instill confidence/motivate his players will get the most out of his team. “X and O’s” are great but if players and coaches can’t connect, winning is tough.
Set the tone- Ideally, coaches want every practice, drill and workout to be 100% high concentration, impact and effort. This is often not the case on any level of basketball.
Waking your kids up to the fact that they are about to play a team that is very good and in which they will need to compete at a high level can be very beneficial. Different methods might be introducing a drill that challenges mental toughness, forces players to exert tremendous effort and eliminates sluggishness. It might be inviting a guess speaker or even running your team a few times when they lose focus in practice.
Never Come off as Expecting your team to lose- No explanation needed.
Moral victories are okay- Although we live in a macho sports culture, we must understand that at times there are moral victories. If the team is down by 30 with 2 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, the likeliness of a comeback is slim. However, this could present an opportunity to set goals for your team, such as limiting turnovers, challenging your team to cut the lead down by 10 or to outscore the other team the last quarter of the game.
And maybe most important of all, it can be an opportunity to teach life lessons like never giving up, staying focused, displaying a positive attitude in the midst of trial, remaining a team player, etc.
Ultimately, the joy of being in athletics is that it truly is unpredictable. Being the underdog allows for both the player and coach to compete free of pressure, and this is often the recipe for UPSETS!
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