Coaching Basketball: Establishing Your Philosophy and Priorities

Home > Coaching > Coaching Philosophy > Coaching Basketball: Establishing Your Philosophy and Priorities
To be an effective basketball coach, the first thing you need to do is establish your philosophy and priorities.

This might sound silly. Nevertheless, this very important step allows you to apply very effective coaching techniques.

Like this article? Download it as a free PDF! (Download Now!)

Here's how it works...

You see, the most effective way to get the results you want is to emphasize the "right" things.

It's all about what you emphasize!

Players really notice this.

If you consistently emphasize and talk about rebounding, passing the ball, and playing the right way, then you're players will pick up on those things.

For example: At the very first team meeting, you might want to tell your players that you already know who two of the starters will be. The first starter will be the best defensive player on the team. And the second starter will be the best rebounder on the team. (This will get their attention!)

It's all about what you emphasize! If you're constantly talking about rebounding, you're players will pick up on that and become good rebounders.

You'll notice that they start talking about it. They might say something to another teammate like, "Hey, make sure you block out and get the rebound!" Or you might hear, "Hey coach, how many rebounds did I get today?"

If you constantly emphasize rebounding and defense, then you will probably have a team that is really good at defense and rebounding.

This concept is very simple, yet extremely important and very powerful.

Most coaches make the mistake of emphasizing the wrong things or emphasizing too many things. They end up getting poor results.

I know everything seems important but you just can't emphasize everything.

It's much more effective if you pick a few important things and primarily focus on those things. Just ask any successful college or NBA coach. They'll tell you the same thing because that's where I learned the concept.

In the business world, we use a similar concept. We often talk about "Focusing on the critical few, versus the trivial many." Whether it's business or basketball, it's an effective concept.

How Do You Decide What to Emphasize?

Here's what you need to do...

First, ask your self a few questions.

  • What are your coaching goals?
  • What are the most important things for you to teach?
  • What do you really want your players to get out of this experience?
  • What does your team need to be really good at to be successful?
  • How will you define a successful season or team?
Write down whatever comes to mind.

It's important to get this stuff on paper because you'll ultimately need to document these things and give it to your players.

To give you some ideas, here are a few things you might want to emphasize...

  • Playing the right way.
  • Defense
  • Teamwork
  • Rebounding
Now let's take things a step further.

What is your coaching philosophy?

In other words, what are your priorities in life?

This goes in line with what you emphasize to your team but it's not about specific basketball skills, like rebounding. It's about much more important things.

As a basketball coach, you have a VERY important responsibility.

You have a bunch of young players that look up to you. Believe it or not, they listen to you.

In addition, you have an opportunity to have an impact on their life!!

Think about it.

You're in a very powerful position. Most teachers would do anything to have the power that you have. Many of their kids could care less about what they are teaching. Heck, many of the students don't even want to come to class.

However, your players actually look forward to practice and games. These kids actually come to you and want to play basketball. They enjoy it. They are passionate about it.

Here is just a few of the things that players might be expecting from you:

  1. Fun.
  2. Learn new or better skills.
  3. Wins, yes, they want to win.
  4. Camaraderie.
  5. Fun.
Notice that fun is on the list twice. Unless you're a professional coach or a college coach with scholarships, your players certainly didn't join the team to have a bad time. Honestly, they probably didn't join to learn life lessons either but they will learn life lessons from you whether you intend to teach them or not.

Your choice is, what life lessons do you want them to learn and how.

Everything that you do and say will make an impression on them.

You have an unbelievable opportunity to teach them so much about life and basketball.

You probably don't realize it, but the things you say without a second thought can stick with a kid for LIFE!

Think back to all of the coaches that you had in your life. You remember every one of them don't you?

Of course you do.

I do too.

I remember so many little things about my basketball days. I remember the coach praising me. I remember the coach yelling at me. I can remember his exact words. I remember whether the coach had confidence in me or not. I remember believing everything that my coach told me, whether he was right or wrong.

Don't overlook the power of your position.

Some of the things you say and do can have a positive effect on these kids for life!

So what can you do about that?

Decide how you want to affect them. What message do you want to communicate?

Consider this interesting coaching tactic...

I knew a truly successful coach whose number one goal was to communicate and emphasize teamwork.

He communicated it in practice verbally. He reinforced it with drills. Every single time someone passed the ball, he offered praise. In fact, it was the only time he offered praise.

Even more impressive to me as a parent was how he handled the games. Regardless of whether the kids won the game or not, he reacted exactly the same way -- every time! He praised the teamwork efforts.

He didn't criticize the players for not passing the ball but he didn't praise them for single handedly scoring either. He only praised for teamwork. The players that showed more of an effort to work as a team played more during games.

When the kids lost a game, he wouldn't say, "I'm sorry that you lost." When they won a game, he wouldn't say "Congratulations" or "Good Job."

He only pointed out the teamwork efforts.

Now this team did manage to win a majority of their games. Do you know why? Because they worked together as a team. (And because he emphasized the fundamentals.)

How did the kids react? They strived to work together as a team. Even the showboats!

Document Your Priorities

Decide how you want to affect your team, what message you want to communicate to them and write it down. Document your coaching philosophy, goals, and what you want to emphasize.

You need to get your priorities in order first if you want to be able to communicate them well. Once you've accomplished this, then you can get your players priorities in order.

To give you an idea, Morgan Wooten, the basketball coach with the most wins in high school history, had the following priorities:

  1. God
  2. Family
  3. School
  4. Basketball
He then made sure his players understand those priorities. He emphasized those priorities all year long.

I personally like to take things a little further. I have similar priorities but I write down the "life lessons" I want to teach the kids for that year.

For example, some of the things I often try to teach and emphasize are:

  • Playing the right way: playing fairly, playing hard, doing your best.
  • Telling the truth and being honest is more important than anything, including basketball.
  • How to take responsibility for their actions
  • Teamwork
  • Helping others - Get them to realize that just one person saying to you, "You've made my day!" makes your day too.
  • Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% attitude - it's what you make of it.
These are just a couple examples. I know I can't teach everything, especially in one year, but if I can just teach a couple important "life lessons", then I know that I've had a positive impact on this young persons life.

These are all things that will teach the kids how to be successful in life.

Now make sure you write down your coaching philosophy and the important things you want to emphasize. Keep those things with you at all times. Look at them before every practice.

This will help you stay focused and emphasize the right things.


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

saeed says:
8/4/2007 at 1:13:32 AM

thank you


coach samir says:
10/5/2007 at 1:32:18 AM

We need more articles on basketball Philosophy . .

Thank you again


Mike Akemon says:
10/30/2007 at 3:40:43 PM

I,m very exited about the new youth articles and I can't wait to put the imformation to use.
Thank you for all you do.


Kevin Grayson says:
11/13/2007 at 5:51:24 AM

This common sense is so often overlooked. This should be mandatory reading, and coaches should have to take an oath.



Nupe3 says:
11/14/2007 at 9:46:04 AM

Very good info. Keep up the good work.


Craig says:
11/14/2007 at 10:16:51 PM

My question is, how can you pull a team together that knows that they aren't that good? I feel that I have lost this team because most of the players don't look me in the eye when I am talking to them and they always say that they understand what I am saying when they really don't. I have tried telling them that it is okay to tell me that I am doing something wrong and that I should change what we are doing because it won't work. The biggest mistake I made was teaching the team advanced basketball skills before the fundimentals. Some of the players don't understand most of the terms that I use when I talk. The season is almost over, but I still want the team to feel as if they can be successful at anything they accomplish. So my real question is, how can I get them back to wanting to play basketball?


Jeff Haefner says:
11/15/2007 at 5:57:49 AM


Maybe someone smarter than me can give you a better answer, but I don't think there's anything you can do to turn things around overnight.

Here are some things you can do to slowly turn things around:

  • Make things fun. Do what ever you can to make basketball fun again. Play the knock-out drill, smile, compliment your players, do some fun drills, keep things fast paced, and have fun yourself.

  • Celebrate small successes. Instead of worrying about winning, put them in a position where they can experience other successes...

    For example, if you work on shooting form, you can chart their progress and show their improvement in shooting percentage during practice. Celebrate these small successes!

    Maybe you can also measure things like turnovers, rebounds, and celebrate improving in those areas. Show them how they are improving!

    Kids want to be successful and have fun. But unfortunately not everyone can win

  • Slowly prove to your players that you can make them better. This takes little accomplishments over time. To give you an idea, Don Kelbick (NBA development coach) gets the attention of his players by teaching them something they've never seen before. He shows the NEW triple threat technique (shoot, shoot, shoot). You could show them this technique to get their attention and prove you can teach them something valuable.

  • Be confident. Study the fundamentals and be confident when teaching the fundamentals.

  • Explain the "reason why" for each fundamental and some drills. A great way to get your plays on board is to explain the reason why do certain things. Most coaches neglect this super effective tactic and instead they just jam the tactic down their player's throat. They don't even explain the reason why they are doing it.

    Explaining the "reason why" is a proven psychological trigger that causes people to take a desired action.

    At a psychological level, humans by nature want to know the reason why they are doing something.

    Let's take man-to-man defense as an example... If you're players don't understand the reason you want them to keep their knees bent, always be ready to help, see man and ball, apply ball pressure, and so on, then they will NOT give 100%!

    If you want them to give 100%, you need to teach the reason why you're doing something.

    Teach them why you're quicker if you keep a low center of gravity and knees bent.

    Teach them why you're not supposed to leave your feet and get out of position.

    Teach them why they are sagging away from their man when they are one pass away.

    The more your players understand the science behind your defense, the more they will buy into it and perform!

  • Show them you care. One of the best ways to motivate players is to show them you care. Go to their games and events outside of basketball. Help them with school. Show a genuine interest.

    Hope this helps and good luck!

    Jeff Haefner


  • doug ehmke says:
    12/7/2007 at 11:59:43 AM

    i coach semi pro and they love to learn new stuff even though most of them played through college. Its the way u approch them!!!


    Manolo says:
    1/1/2008 at 7:51:50 AM

    I just started coaching last school term 2007. I handled under 14s boys who competed locally. I felt frustrated and very disappointed about the results. I blame entirely this predicament to my inability to motivate the kids to practice. Most of the game period I relied only on 2 or 3 players. Team work was very weak.
    Reading your article on coaching philosophy gave me tremendous insights and boost to improve my coaching approach. Thanks a million for all your coaching lessons.



    Raymond says:
    1/15/2008 at 11:19:54 AM

    The information i have received from this site is tremendiously informative. Thank you very much!



    chris servas says:
    2/26/2008 at 9:30:30 PM

    i have been coaching for ten years now,and i enjoy the role of being a student of the game.thank you very much,im relearning things that ought to be learned.


    jack says:
    3/20/2008 at 9:23:10 AM

    i have once decide to give up the work as a coach.cause i am not good in playing basketball,although i like it..however, thanks a lot for the newsletters which give me more courage and confidence to move on..


    SRIYANTHA says:
    3/30/2008 at 6:27:24 AM

    hi jef...,

    first upall id like to thanking you exploring youre experiance.. I'm from sri lanka , a little third world country, near to jiant India.. of cource we were the world champions in cricket in 1996, and the finalist who met the australia in 2007 in the same subject.. So its very difficult to attract new young players to basket ball, since lack of funds, lack of expertise knowladge, gap between the mother federation and the players and so on... But here in sri lanka we have a very good seoson in mercantile bb.. I just manage to won the trympe few weeks back.. Ive refered your free e books and good points you mentioned,, thanx for all jeff... im being coaching bb for last 8 years or so. Think i have my own phulosopy about my teams.., i have listed down all of stuff as u do,, and very much simiar to you.. but jeff, my problem is that, why our country cannot make any significANT thing in bb.. why we cant rather i cant contineu my wining habitt atleast in domestic seoson..? It ll be a greaaaaat help if you could help me to develop my knowledge, my skills, and my teams.... Thanx again Jeff, you already helped me a lot...


    coach hassan says:
    4/7/2008 at 6:25:01 PM

    thank you i cant whait to give this info to my team we are 4 and 0 we can use this thanks again


    coach, ahmed says:
    5/12/2008 at 7:07:41 PM

    thats so helpfull thank you


    Assistant Coach Steven says:
    5/15/2008 at 1:18:32 PM

    It is very refreshing to be able to go to a site for good free advise to help our young players. Thank you very much.


    Coach Farai says:
    5/29/2008 at 8:02:45 AM

    Thanx so much esp on the teamwork issue.


    ariel rabe says:
    6/17/2008 at 11:52:22 PM

    Humbly, please allow me to share this information. Last year (2007, from November to December 23 (Saturdays and Sundays only), our Basketball Clinic (N.G.O.) conducted a 3 on 3 Skills Application Basketball Tournament, with 8 teams participating and with the theme "Teamwork," which was printed above the number in the back of the kids' uniforms. In the semifinal games, the expected team to win the championship (W=7 L=0) landed 4th and the winner pushed their winning ways all the way to the top! Somehow, ball movements got them to that top. All participants received certificates for "Potential Player For Organized Basketball." Participants cast their votes for "Best In Fundamentals" and "Most Behaved Player (MBP)." Certificates not trophies were awarded. At least they can keep the certificates and value same for life.


    coach sara gamal says:
    7/16/2008 at 6:33:28 AM

    thank u so much .. i was so confusing and u gave me the light ..


    KENT-FU says:
    8/6/2008 at 7:49:07 AM

    hey thanks men; i owe God the game of
    basketball but i'l probably credit you
    majority of my basketball knowledge;
    well its not a propability anymore, i'm quiet
    sure of it!


    Vee says:
    9/1/2008 at 11:15:56 AM

    Great information and assitance. Thanks so much to your company for the committment to help build better coaches and players.


    alde says:
    9/30/2008 at 8:33:22 AM

    yah..i agree with ur viewpoints!
    the performance of the team defends on the good leadership of the coach....


    Fran Whitford says:
    10/1/2008 at 12:44:32 AM

    First and foremost, the game is for the kids. Every major league player I have heard interviewed has said to keep it fun. Learning to face good times and bad, to grow as a person as well as an athlete, to meet new friends, to meet new and challenging situations, and a lot of other ideas come up in a season. Coaches are sport and life teachers.


    Coach Phillips says:
    10/24/2008 at 5:34:06 PM

    Great lesson, Keep it coming. Need more people thinking this way!


    Brenton Nugent says:
    11/5/2008 at 3:03:57 AM

    Life's journey is to me about developing the right skills to travel successfully to the place/s you want to reach. Having the right morals and attutide will develop you mental to get there. So without a doubt create the philosophy to carry out your actions.


    Robert says:
    11/18/2008 at 7:20:30 PM

    My philosophy is pretty simple. Fundamentals, conditioning and teamwork. The first day of practice it if very important. I must set the tone for the season and tell the kids what I expect of them. That is being on time, working hard on the drills and so on. Each year I learn from the last season and try to get better and better. I also think simplicity is the way to go. I also know that how you walk on the floor as a team makes a difference. I tell the players to run onto the court during a game and run off the court during time outs. Have your hands up on the free throw line. It shows team unity, this way the other team sees it as well as the parents.
    My season will start on Dec 1. I have been working on this season three months ago, so I know i will be prepared.


    tim says:
    11/21/2008 at 10:50:18 AM

    thank you for your support. this is my first time coaching fifth graders and your material has been most helpful. i will continue to use this resource now and in the future and would recommend it to everyone. nicely done!


    Steve Watkins says:
    12/5/2008 at 9:16:29 AM


    I am an engineer, not a coach but I would like to get into coaching. I am a basketball nut and I can relate to your comment about the influence coaches have. I remember practically everything my coaches told me when I was in High School and these coments have influenced me for the past 35 years.


    Coach Smitty says:
    12/31/2008 at 1:26:22 AM

    That was real informative and I can personally say I do a lot of what was told in the article with my teams and can say we're always successful.


    Rhonda says:
    1/18/2009 at 11:31:55 AM

    I am a parent and my question is, how should I approach the coach regarding his philosophy? I''m disappointed with how he communicates to the team and parents. We''re all very hesitant about asking him questions to get information we need regarding practices and games. Most parents call each other for information. He also tells us one thing at a meeting, but quite often never follows through with his own rules.
    I think your site is very informative and inspirational and I''d love for him to see it, but I don''t know how to let him know about it without offending him or blowing me off.

      1 person liked this.  

    Joe Haefner says:
    1/19/2009 at 10:48:10 AM

    Hi Rhonda,

    That's difficult, because so many people don't respond well to criticism and instantly become defensive.

    I would advise to go out of your to compliment him on something he does well. Talk to him for a few minutes. Then, say that you found this website with tons of free coaching information.

    You can say whatever else that would like to convince him to check out the articles or the site.


    Jodi says:
    3/10/2009 at 6:58:16 PM


    I have a difficult situation arise and I was looking for an objective opinion.
    I coach 7-8 girls'''' basketball at a small school and I was wondering if you could shed some light on the following problem.
    I agree 100% about teaching fundamentals and running M2M defense. I have some parents that disagree with this philosophy. They think the way to teach basketball is to play as many games as possible. IN order to accomplish this, they have their daughters play on a traveling team all year round and throughout our school season. This traveling team consists of players from neighboring towns and the coache''''s philosphy is to run zone presses and other junk defenses. These parents also take the "best" players off my team and form a different team to play in tournaments on the weekend. The girls that get left out are hurt and jealous and I have to try and fix it. On top of that, this parent/coach then teaches them a different offense and runs a zone press too.
    I am trying to build a foundation for these girls to grow and work together for one common goal, but I feel that I am just spinning my tires in the mud.
    Our athletic director talked to the parents before the season and asked them to respect our season and not participate on other teams until our season is over. Unfortunately, these parents have gone against the schools advice and continued to play. I am frustrated with coaching and dealing with ignorant parents. HELP!!!


    Jeff Haefner says:
    3/12/2009 at 10:19:22 AM


    It sounds like the parent you are dealing with is either an ass or ignorant. But it's not uncommon and you're not the only one dealing with this.

    Without being in your shoes, it's hard to give specific advice. But I'll throw a few ideas at you. Maybe it will help.

    Option 1 - Give the players and parents some rules. The should be written rules. The consequences should be written too. This needs to be clearly provided a head of time. If they break the rules, you follow through with the consequences. If it's important, you could have a rule "No organized leagues or games during the regular season. One violation results in one game suspension. Two violations result in two game suspension. Three violations result dismissal from team."

    My philosophy is simple. Set expectations and accountability with players and parents. Clearly communicate those expectations with written materials and verbally. Then hold everyone accountable and follow through.

    Option 2 - Give the parent our information and materials. It's funny you mention this because that parent really need to listen to an interview we just did with Don Kelbick. We are developing product to help coaches, parents, and players develop off season basketball workouts. We did one recording just for youth and middle school players. In the recording Don talks about how other counties are pulling away from the US in skills and starting to kick our butts. The big reason is that other countries practice 5 times a week and play once or twice. But in the U.S., for some reason we play 5 times and maybe practice once. That recording would really hit home. Don really knows his stuff and works with youth players all the way to the NBA. I think the parent would start understanding the error in their ways. When you hear it from Don, it makes perfect sense.

    We're still working on packaging the audio and everything, but maybe we can provide you with something to help. Just drop me an email and maybe we can come up with materials or a plan to get something for that parent.

    Here are other pages the parent should read:

    BTW, what age level are you working with?

      1 person liked this.  

    Clement Kong says:
    7/9/2009 at 1:06:36 PM

    i read many articles that should include fun in the drill when the players are beginner, but how i can i get those of information, Does anyone have suggestion?


    Joe Haefner says:
    7/10/2009 at 3:18:20 PM

    Hi Clement,

    You can find more drills on this page:

    If you are looking for fun drills specifically, we have created a product called '60 Fun Drills & Games' which you can look at here:


    Ruben Dario says:
    9/17/2009 at 11:09:19 AM

    My philosophy is simple to look out how to pleyers are feeling before they start by then introduce them to the daily routine


    Greg Syslo says:
    11/1/2009 at 2:16:15 PM

    Thank you for this site. These ideas have helped re-enforce my own, and have given me ideas to add to my teams


    coach R says:
    11/9/2009 at 3:40:37 PM

    How do you handle a player who is truly very talented on the 7th grade girls team? This is not just my opinion, the varsity coach has a great interest in this girl. She has already played up a grade and has started on a national AAU championship team..She is also a great kid, just so far advanced.


    Preston Liddell says:
    12/29/2009 at 8:16:45 PM

    I am amazed at the compilation of materials you have aggregated for this website- it all speaks to your altruism and ardent affection for the game. At first thought, I was reluctant to post a response, but your research is truly astute and accord. I have a Kinesiology degree and Teaching Certificate from the University of North Texas and many of the concepts and ideas that you suggest correspond with the curriculum we covered in respect to teaching in the classroom. The interview with Don Kelbick was brilliant and many of the website’s materials are sagacious. I had intentions to create a website in the same mold as yours, but discovery of this website made my idea is inane and fatuous. In close, I am embellishing much of this content you have posted and add me to list of people you have assisted surreptitiously. You could have charged a fee for this information but it is all free. Thanks.
    God Bless you and may Jesus Christ continue to live in you (if you believe).


    L C says:
    1/4/2010 at 9:24:38 PM

    Great information!


    Andre Abdollahian says:
    1/22/2010 at 1:35:43 PM

    You can''t have the kids learning advanced drills or plays until all of them know the fundementals like the back of their hand. You can draw up plays that are simple and have your team perfect that play(s) during practice. It only has to be a few plays. One should be an easy bucket to the rim. This gets their confidence up and they feel more relaxed. They dont have the monkey on their back. You can always preach to them to be like Coach Mike Singletary says "Physical with an F" theres no where that says you cant be a physical(teach them the right way without fouling).Comanding the paint that our house and the other team is not invited to our house EVER. If you find them in the paint muscle them out. Be extremly tough on defense.If you are more physical than the other team it sends a message. Look at most winning teams in all levels they usually have a dominate post figure. When your physical you have dominate rebounding, great tough defenders, and you are dominating in the paint on offense. It''s going to be hard to lose.


    Kelly says:
    4/6/2010 at 11:06:29 PM

    Hi Jeff,

    Question: Everyone talks about teaching the kids the fundamentals. And we all agree. But precisely, what are the fundamentals and when do the fundamentals change into advanced skills? that is; there are so many skills that could be taught to a group of 6th graders, but what should I absolutely, without a doubt, focus on and what should I get to if I have time and what should I just leave for their junior coach? Thanks.


    Joe Haefner says:
    4/7/2010 at 8:41:10 AM


    Take a look at this page and let me know if this helps answer your question:


    Kelly says:
    4/12/2010 at 12:00:29 PM

    looks good, thanks Joe!


    Derrick says:
    7/7/2010 at 10:01:35 AM

    I just started coaching 8-10 year olds. It's my first time coaching anything. We just had a really tough first game last night.

    Part of the issue was that I was meeting the kids for the first time, 15 minutes before tip off. No previous practice. That added to the fact that it was a 95 degree day with the sun beaming, made the conditions rough on a few of the kids. The kids all played hard even if the final score didn't show it. But it was hard to tell how much fun the kids were having.

    I'll be reading this site quite a bit for tips and pointers.

    Thanks for sharing this great information.


    Coach Chief says:
    8/9/2010 at 2:21:53 AM

    Hi Jeff!

    I'm a high school basketball coach for the Xavier University [Crusaders] here in the Philippines.

    I would like to say that the material you have here really made me realize a lot of things about my philosophy and priorities in life as a coach for our young and very skilled players.

    Just wanted to take the time to let you know how i would be looking forward to those newsletters from you in the future.

    Thanks, Jeff!

    -Coach Chief
    Xavier Crusaders: Fight A Good Fight!


    Julie says:
    9/23/2010 at 1:09:00 AM

    Thank you for this great article. As a brand new high school girls basketball coach it was just what I needed to read!


    Brian says:
    9/30/2010 at 12:21:57 AM

    I read this and as becoming a first time Coach for 1st - 3rd graders I felt really overwhelmed .

    But Thank You ..


    Joe Haefner says:
    9/30/2010 at 10:03:42 AM


    Coaching 1st-3rd graders, here are some simple tips:

    1. Keep lectures short. No longer than 30 seconds.
    2. Create a fun atmosphere. You want to create a passion, so they want to play the game when they are older.
    3. Keep activities short. Drills should not be any longer than 3 to 5 minutes.
    4. Do lots of ball handling. This is the easiest skill to pick up at this age due to strength.
    5. Shoot on lower hoops with smaller balls. Otherwise, don't even worry about it.

    For more coaching youth basketball information, visit:

    And don't worry about being overwhelmed at first. You're way ahead of the game just by being on the website reading and learning.


    Coach Ujwala says:
    10/6/2010 at 5:34:02 AM

    Thanks Make me a good Learner


    KENT-FU says:
    10/16/2010 at 8:14:52 AM

    hey Coach, i really don't agree much on trying to let kids pick up things that are least the hardest to learn, i mean it would take much longer time for a kid to learn basic dribbling skills as to lets say rebounding the basketball... there's really no proven method to rebound a basketball effectively except get your feet squared and go straight up for the ball, my point is; I'd rather focus more and first on things that takes time to master rather than things that could be done instinctively. Dribbling over Rebounding first, don't you think?


    Doug says:
    11/8/2010 at 11:17:01 AM


    A couple of years ago my 3 boys and I came up with 5 goals for activities, be they athletic, family or academic.
    1. Have fun
    2. Be a good sport
    3. Learn something
    4. Do your best
    5. Have fun

    Seeing your 1 & 5 echo mine brought a smile to my face.

    I love the info here. Thanks for sharing it.


    Christine says:
    11/12/2010 at 10:17:41 PM

    I am new at coaching youth girls bb, however I try to teach the fundamentals and emphasize fun, since alot of you have experience. How do i deal with another coach/parent criticizing the way i coach. I realize I may not be the best at it, but it is a volunteer program,. My girls win games, have fun and learn things. So what am I doing wrong?


    Christine says:
    11/12/2010 at 10:18:59 PM

    I am new at coaching youth girls bb, however I try to teach the fundamentals and emphasize fun, since alot of you have experience. How do i deal with another coach/parent criticizing the way i coach. I realize I may not be the best at it, but it is a volunteer program,. My girls win games, have fun and learn things. So what am I doing wrong?


    Jeff Haefner says:
    11/14/2010 at 8:28:04 AM

    Christine - I have no idea why those coaches are criticizing. Maybe it's justified, maybe it's not. Even so, I would hope thet provide you feedback in a constructive way. It's always good to have someone helping you improve and giving you feedback.

    For the parents, read this report:

    With the coach, sit down with them. Have a discussion and you can both talk about "what's working?" and "what's not working?". Then put together a game plan and talk about any changes you might make. I think communication is key and then things work themselves out.

    Then be sure to give the assistant their role and expectations. This person should have their responsibilities defined on paper. Then I think it's good to meet with them every week or two to keep communication open and solve problems together. Here are more ideas for good coaching meetings:

    Above all don't stress about it. Coaches are always scrutinized (even the good ones). That is just part of the job and how it is. So just remember to enjoy yourself, this is just youth basketball not the NBA. As long as players have fun, learn fundamentals, you teach them life lessons, and you set a good example for them, that the most important thing!!!


    Alex says:
    11/30/2010 at 1:53:24 PM

    I'm coaching 7th and 8th graders. What should i really emphasize on teaching them?


    Joe Haefner says:
    12/2/2010 at 10:18:13 AM

    Alex, read the tips at the bottom of this page:

    Also, check out this page:


    EMILY says:
    12/17/2010 at 12:30:30 AM

    I am a parent of a 17 yo girl who has played varsity ball since 8th grade. This is her senior year. She has started for the high school team for 2 years and generally played whole game without being subbed out both years. She was the captain last year. She is the only senior this year. Certainly expected to start and be captain this year..There have been 6 games so far. She has not started yet. She has been out as captain once to meet refs. She played 6 min first game with 10 points. 3 min game 2 with 6 points. 1 min next games--last game sat bench whole time. Freshman and sophomores subbing frequently. Only 3 people on bench not getting in--other 2 have never really played. She is devastated. No warning. She asked coach what she had to do. Coach said she can't play defense. She is 5-10. I have a meeting with coach (coach was new last year as head--was assistant 2 years prior)--player is all A student-not aggressive -- steady--always with little emotion in practice or games--this is not new. She is so humiliated that she has turned in her jersey. The look on her face on bench has been so dejected. Coach says she "looks like she just doesn't want to play". Never misses practice--on time etc. She has never quit any sport--plays soccer also and was captain there. Voted most athletic of senior class. What does a parent say when so much pain is caused by such a crushing blow the senior year? Grad class size is 80. Total girls on team is about 15 or less. I feel that this was a motivational tool? to muster enthusiasm? that went very wrong. Any help out there for guidance for a parent's approach to promote healing here?


    Ken Sartini says:
    12/17/2010 at 3:33:55 PM

    As I sit here and read this, I ask myself, what am I missing here? There is always two sides to every story, but this girl has played Varsity ball for two years - without being subbed for....and was last years Captain.

    So what happened between last year and this year? Something political? Pressure from other parents? Rebuilding process? Even IF it was a rebuilding year you certainly don't bench a two year starter ... to me, even IF her defense was suspect, as a coach we always find a spot for a scorer.

    I think meeting with the coach is a great idea - I would also meet with her counselor (before) to see if there is anything else going on that you are not aware of.

    You could always go to the AD but that would probably just alienate him more.

    I would ask the coach what happened between the last two years to this year? She was at every practice - last years Captain - an A student who doesn't cause any problems around the school. (is she involved with anything else in the school other than sports?)

    Ask him EXACTLY what areas your daughter needs to improve upon to get some playing time to prove that she deserves to play. (6 minutes with 10 points - if you do the math and she would have continued on that pace..... wow)

    There has to be an underlying factor here someplace - BUT, IF you are going to heal this problem - you are going to have to go in with a positive attitude and not attack him/her ..... that would be the kiss of death.

    Be patient with your daughter and be supportive regardless of how this goes.... this has to be a very difficult time in both of your lives. Good luck and I hope that you can find a way to work this out.


    emily says:
    12/17/2010 at 10:21:14 PM

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful words. I respect a coach''s authority --I believe that that authority is God given. I am not comfortable taking this initiative to ask for a meeting with this young coach--the principal ( who was the girls''s coach until 1 year ago when he became principal) arranged this meeting for us at my request and will be there with us Monday. Coaches have played an important role in the lives of my children --as a single parent I have been very grateful for the time and energy they have committed--I hope coaches everywhere understand the significant part they play in shaping the lives of their players. They can cause deep hurt-like in this case--but even situations like this can be redeemed--if the parties are willing. Thanks again for the encouragement.


    Rifky Arzelli says:
    12/26/2010 at 8:50:43 PM

    Hi Jef,

    Thanks for this article.. Its help me a lot for trying to be a basketball coach..


    coach clevenger says:
    1/9/2011 at 7:55:48 AM

    Well This works awesome with my team. And my team is work great together and I couldn't be more proud of them!

    I coach in a league were we volunteer to be coaches and its in the 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls division. We have one coach that teaches his team how to play dirty and mean. I talk about my girls walking a way with scratches all over, bruised up thighs cause they are sticking out their Knee when they set a screen.

    What can I do to get my team prepared to play against a dirty team like that???


    Joe Haefner says:
    1/10/2011 at 7:54:54 PM

    Coach Clevenger,

    I'm sorry to hear about the dirty team. I would just tell your kids that they're going to have to prepare for it. Tell them it's going to be a real test to see if they are a true champion and keep their composure.


    Misty says:
    1/13/2011 at 2:03:18 PM

    Thank you! This is really helpful! Everything I have in my head about being a youth coach has been brought to the service and I'm sure it will make the season perfect!
    We have had one practice where we went over the very basics, but I emphasized on team work and passing. The kiddos did great at their first game last Saturday!
    Again, thank you!


    COACH SBU says:
    2/8/2011 at 3:53:00 AM



    Linda says:
    2/21/2011 at 4:26:10 PM

    My husband is the coach of our girls age 9 basketball team for the first time this season (they previously played for a coach who is now assisting). This is a rec league. Coach put every girl in a position at the beginning and that is where they have stayed. Many of the girls have asked to play point guard as that position handles the ball a lot and is more fun than just covering another player all the time. My daughter (coach's daughter too) was cried and asked again to play another position. He won't let her. He says it isn't about just a player but about the team. These girls are learning and already they are pegged in a position. Does this seem like the best way to go?


    Jeff Haefner says:
    2/22/2011 at 4:19:46 PM

    Linda - I can appreciate the "team" concept and that is a good thing. However youth basketball is about developing players and in this case that sounds like a cop out.

    So my simple answer is no, that is not a good way to go. I'm sure we have articles and content all over backing that up but here's one recent thread I remember discussing that concept of using different point guards at the youth level:

    Here's a video talking about it:


    Linda says:
    2/22/2011 at 7:00:37 PM

    Thank you coach for that perspective. I'll pass it on to my husband (coach). I'm sure he will appreciate me "helping". ;-)

    I know my daughter and the other girls would appreciate a chance to play other positions.


    prasad grl says:
    4/16/2011 at 2:47:37 AM

    thank u coach for giving me the thing which was actually missing in my coaching as i was coaching without any particular philosophy or particular way to work due to which my team members get confused most number of the times. Now I can tell them what I emphasize and what they sould do.


    Damon says:
    6/5/2011 at 12:54:25 PM

    I love the idea of announcing the 2 starters (best defender and best rebounder) on the first day of practice. I'm going to use that simple trick this season.


    Luke Anderson says:
    6/7/2011 at 7:52:30 AM

    Hey Jeff,
    Firstly, I'd like to thank you for the time you've spent on this website. I've learned a lot from it.
    I just graduated high school and finished my first season as a coach of a 5-6 grade boys parks and rec team. It went really well and I loved coaching. I was wondering if you have any particular advice for a young, aspiring coach?


    Coach Pat Anderson says:
    7/3/2011 at 2:54:59 PM

    Really important to establish a good relationship with your players through your coaching philosophy young. Establish it in your own mind then apply it to the court.


    Malinda Williams says:
    7/11/2011 at 10:04:19 PM

    Thnx so much for this. Im 17 and have a group of 5-7 year olds at my school's bball camp and this helps put things into perspective for me. I now know what my responsibility is to these kids. Thnx again :)


    Mark Baker says:
    9/6/2011 at 12:38:55 PM


    I am now entering my sixth year coaching youth basketball and this site has been the single "best" online resource I have found.

    Of all the articles, videos, audio clips, etc... . offered, for me, this article has been the most important and profound.

    This seasons as I launch the first ever minor basketball system in a local community I find myself constantly referring to this site, and in particular to this article, for gudiance.

    Well done and thank you!

    Mark Baker - Director & Head Coach
    Conception Bay South Minor Basketball
    The Basketball Academy
    Mt. Pearl, NL, Canada


    PJ says:
    11/2/2011 at 1:47:06 AM


    I am coaching a HS boys varsity team. It is the first year this particular school has had any kind of sports program and the school is also one for mostly underprivileged kids.

    I think it is so important for them to have accountability to their teammates and to themselves in order to grow as a team and to mature as individuals. The way things have started this season it seems like we might not be able to instill this in them.

    My problem is that we had 30 kids sign up for tryouts and only 9 showed up. These kids don't seem interested to be on a team and it seems most would rather go get high or have sex with their girlfriends than go to practice.

    Some of them are great kids and are very open to being coached, but if I force the majority of these kids too much into running drills or working on conditioning, I know they are going to quit.

    I figured maybe I would try and make the next 5 practices open scrimmages for anyone in the school to attend to just come out and have fun--hoping that this would encourage more kids to be interested in the team. The more kids are interested, the more they will value their individual place on the team and the harder I know they would work. The problem is this really didn't even work.

    Please do you have any suggestions?


    Jeff Haefner says:
    11/2/2011 at 2:25:26 PM

    PJ - Your situation is different than most. We (coaches) are usually lucky and we have plenty of kids wanting to play and be on the team. You will need to build and ease into things. You will need to generate interest, excitement, build relationships, and so on. Here is a document with lots of ideas that will help you develop interest and motivate players:

    You might have to start with 6 players. Then build each year from there. It won't happen overnight. A big part is developing relationships, showing you care, and showing these kids they can IMPROVE. Kids usually love to see improvement and enjoy that process. Plus most players want to be the next Kobe, so maybe once you build up your credibility, that will help. Eventually you might be able to build a tradition and kids will be begging to be on the team. One step at a time. Hope this helps.


    PJ says:
    11/3/2011 at 4:07:26 AM

    Thanks Jeff, I got a couple of ideas I'm going to start implementing this week.

    One other question. You had said that I may have to start with 6 players. Were you inferring that I should not allow the kids who don't have the right attitude, or don't show up to practice that often to play on the team?

    My 2nd best player often misses practices, however, I am very hesitant to not allow him to continue to play because after our best player there is a significant drop off in talent, and this being a high school varsity team, I feel winning is a higher priority than if this were just a youth league team.

    Thanks again, your advice is greatly appreciated.


    Jeff Haefner says:
    11/3/2011 at 6:53:57 AM

    PJ - That is one of those tough decisions we have to make as coaches. I think you need to consider cutting players like that if it seems they are hurting the entire team. Ultimately you need to ask, how can I help this collective group of young people the most? If you clearly do more good by cutting a player, then that's what you have to do. Be sure rules and expectations and implications of breaking rules are communicated.

    For this player missing practice, you can try cutting down playing time, etc. You as a coach will figure out what is best for them. But sometimes you need players that want to be there so you can build things the way you want.


    Jeff Haefner says:
    11/3/2011 at 6:54:52 AM

    BTW, cutting a player is generally the last resort, after all other solutions have been exhausted. Not something you do lightly.


    Andre Jackson says:
    11/18/2011 at 3:40:23 AM

    I am 27 And realized me playin basketball is not a option andymore , continuos injury to my ankle has paid its toll i love the game and i really reall love to coach and this article is a good morale boaster that i can do it .


    calvinharris says:
    11/18/2011 at 9:14:13 AM

    good imformation,thanks


    Coach Jackson says:
    1/19/2012 at 1:48:51 PM

    I have coached for 13 years and I feel everything you can learn to teach your players something different,plus you can use that will help your program become better use it. This is some really get information and please do not be afraid young coaches to pick up something from others coaches. Every coach has gotten something from another coach.


    Ken says:
    1/19/2012 at 2:09:26 PM

    PJ -

    You DO have a tough situation here ... God Bless you for taking that on. As for the running/'conditioning part.... do all your conditioning in drills that are competitive, all kids love to compete... they will have FUN and they will probably stick with it. END every practice doing something that is FUN. For us it was "situations" - IF you do this they will want to come back.
    Cutting kids is a last resort and as Jeff said, you can cut back on some playing time. It will take you a couple of years to sell your program and then you will have kids that WANT to play and will be willing to learn.


    Ken says:
    1/19/2012 at 2:09:27 PM

    Coach Jackson -

    You are right, we can learn something from every coach / program out there. Some of my best ideas came from other people... I would just tweak them to fit my personnel.


    Coach Tay;or says:
    1/20/2012 at 5:09:14 PM

    How do I reach a player that has great on the court presence and IQ when playing in games & or practice but, his off the court communicating skills, ambitious energy and excitement is not that great, he has not reached his full leadership potential? He has great influence over some of the other players and is not utilizing his influences to help build on the philosophy of the program. I don't want to lose the player but I would rather figure out how to reach him to buying into the overall philosophy of the program.


    Ken says:
    1/20/2012 at 6:46:09 PM


    Maybe he is one of those kids that leads by example? You say he works hard in games and practices?

    There are a lot of kids who are not comfortable in talking about how to do things.... Give him some small task that will take some leadership and see how he does it.

    Something as simple as playing a short game in practice - pick two captains, him being one of them and let them choose the players.

    If you would give us some specific examples it might be easier to answer this.


    Coach T says:
    1/23/2012 at 6:52:43 PM

    Coming to coaching after years and years of playing bball, I thank God for the wonderful game.

    My approach to coaching: Fundamentals at every practice. Repetition is key while making the drills always fun and fresh. Positivity and trust as well as teamwork are also my key to teaching kids what passion for the game means. Skills grow with encouragement. Conditioning is a huge part of basketball, but make it competetive. Keep it up coaches, don't loose passion and think about why you wanted to coach in the first place if you ever get discouraged.

    Thank you so much for this website. As a first time coach this season, it's already helped tremendously.

    God bless.


    Dave N says:
    4/2/2012 at 11:00:43 PM

    This was my first year coaching 5th & 6th grade basketball. With no basketball playing experience, or coaching, I wish I knew about your website sooner. You have so many great ideas, it has truely been a huge asset. Thank you for putting this out there. Even though we had a rough first season, the kids worked hard and the ones that can want to play next year. I look foward to all the suggestions and insights you provide. Thank you!


    Ross Hardy says:
    7/11/2012 at 1:07:45 AM

    What would be some good rules to use in a motion offense against a zone for youth basketball? Or some good questions to ask yourself when trying to figure out what rules you want to use?


    Jeff Haefner says:
    7/11/2012 at 6:42:18 AM


    Check out this post for some motion offense rules and ideas:


    Mick says:
    7/11/2012 at 12:51:07 PM

    Excellent site coach and I especially enjoyed the coaching philosophy comments. As a youth and college athlete and later a Dad hockey coach, it took many years for me to put together my thoughts about what is most important for a coach. It was only after attending an upper level Coaching clinic and having the priviledge of listening to a successful NHL, Division I College and youth hockey coach of 40 years put it together in the most simplest form. Listening to his priorities, I realize that he nailed it. He nailed it from every perspective (coach, player, parent, ref, organization, etc.). I was actually somewhat embarrassed that I had not figured it out sooner.
    Priority #1, You must love kids. So many problems arise because coaches do not behave in a loving manner toward their players and cannot decide to love each player as he would his own child. More than anything, kids need to know that you care about them and what happens to them as young people.
    Priority #2, You must love and respect the game. This includes the other team, the refs, the rules, etc. Being a steward of an organizaed athletic activity is a priviledge that brings great responsibility. The greatest responsibility is to ensure that it continues untarnished for the next group of kids.
    Priority #3, You must love to win. Winning is the great affirmation of hard work, dedication, team play, etc. Besides that winning is fun.
    The order of these priorities can never be changed. Winning never trumps loving the game, and nothing trumps loving the kids (players). I have played on and coached teams that have never won a game and came away with the greatest feelings and memories. I have also played on and coached some championship teams that had it all wrong. Fortunately, this great lesson in priorities came before one of my favorite seasons as a coach and Dad. I am excited to see my own son and daughter coach their kids some day and know I can help them to do it right for all the kids in their charge.


    Bernard Ofori Boamah says:
    9/29/2012 at 5:38:39 PM

    This is very important for any one who wants to become a basketball coach, I am thrilled with the stuff I just read and I think it has put me on the right track to set off thanks to the break through basketball team


    Brian says:
    11/18/2012 at 7:36:50 PM

    This is great info...i am starting to coach 5th-7th b-ball at a local Christian school and this has been very helpful. Thank You


    Joy says:
    12/4/2012 at 1:12:43 PM

    I coach 7th grade volleybll at the same middle school where my 7th grade daughter has started bball. I am prefacing with this, so you know that I am a girls coach, a 7th grade girl's mom and I have taught 7th grade English for 10 years.
    That said, sports at our school are placed in three brackets, A, B and C teams. This year, you the first time, coaches have decided that A team should practice after school and the B and C teams should practice at 6 am. In addition, 8th grade girls are doing the same thing. So, never will a 7th or 8th grade B or C player practice with an A player, I truly see this a being againsts the middle school philosophy of coaching, as it has created social stigmas in our 7th and 8th grade classrooms. Can you please give me your thoughts on this division of the teams based on rank? FYI, there are 4 coaches, one for each A team and one for the B and C teams.


    Ken says:
    12/5/2012 at 5:15:56 PM

    Joy -

    In this day and age, most schools rotate practice times so ONE team doesn't get stuck with the bad practice times. Seems to me at the middle school level they could work this out.

    IF you can rotate the times, there might be times where the teams can work out against each other.

    When I was coaching Boys varsity at the high school level, we switched practice times with the girls varsity....between early and late practices, the sophs / A team / B team practiced in the other gyms. Occassionally As would scrimmage Bs etc. However this was not the norm.


    Mike says:
    1/13/2013 at 11:14:41 AM


    Thanks for putting on line some really good information on how to be a better coach. I have an interesting and challenging situation. I currently coach a bantam division boys basketball team in a lutheran church league.There is a wide range of age in our division. We have 7 4th graders and 3 6th graders on our squad. All teams in our division seem to have many more sixth graders than us. I am having a close to impossible time getting the few 6th graders to trust the fourth graders, and the fourth graders refuse to put effort into learning or play defense hard. Many cant even catch a firm pass yet. Yet all these 4th graders seem to want to do is stand still and wait for a pass then just shoot. The parents dislike it if I yell, which I do only to the team as a whole, never singling out anyone, but this is going on for 2 months now and to say our coaching staff is frustrated would be the understatement of epic proportions. Playing time has shrunk for most of the younger kids as a result. My goals going in were to teach the kids, get them playing hard and let them have fun doing, so while preparing for possibly playing for school teams. Summing this long post up, how can I better get through to my fourth graders, and how do I get sixth graders to trust in them ? Do you like mixed age group divisions as I can imagine many other coaches face this same kind of problem?


    Ken Sartini says:
    1/13/2013 at 1:10:29 PM

    Mike -

    I think you have some good goals for your kids.
    Did you have a pre season meeting explaing your goals to the parent and kids?
    Too many parents and kids think about winning only - not a good situation. I think that your situation is tough... 4th and 6th graders.... 5th and 6th might work better.
    I don't know how much practice time you have each week but it is obvious it isn't enough. You need to spend some time on passing/catching, stationary and moving. Dribbling etc.
    Here is a way to get your kids to work together - play 3 on 3 games a) no dribble b) dribbling allowed. Here is the big rule.... game is to 4, EVERYONE must score before a player of your choosing can hit the game winner. This will force them to work together #1 and #2, it will teach some leadership. Kids will work hard to get other players shots until they score.
    As for the games, don't worry about Ws and Ls.... let the kids have fun and let everybody play... the younger kids must play at least 1/3 of the game.

    Listen to the audio at the top Mike


    Mike says:
    1/14/2013 at 9:16:51 AM

    We only get around 90 minutes of practice time a week. I try to get the gym more often , but its difficult. Many of the kids have other activities too. A brief overview of my practices ,
    1 lay up drills
    2 dribbling drills
    3 trying to teach setting a pick
    4 scrimmage games incorporating picks and screens, using a man to man defense and zones.
    my zones are 2 1 2 1 3 1 and 2 3

    there is a lot to cover, and not much time. I change up the drills and the kids seem to like them as they tell me they are fun. 3 on 3 games are sometimes the only way I can get a game going as if 3 kids dont make a practice Im down to 7 , so i use one sub.

    I end the practice with some conditioning sprints and they seem to be getting into bette shape. I will be trying the scrimmages with that everyone must score rule. I like that.

    I also will listen to your audio,



    Ken Sartini says:
    1/14/2013 at 9:44:37 AM

    Mike -

    With only 90 minutes of practice time I would eliminate the zones and spend that time on fundamentals....spend a little more time on your m2m.... Keep this simple ( KISS ) and let your kids become more adapt fundamentally.

    Forget the sprints at the end of practice... ( it took me many years to figure out that this was a giant waste of time ) Do some full court work, and if you have extra time, do your conditioning with a ball.... full court lay ups, full court passing drills etc

    If you want to end practice doing something fun.... run a "situation" Kids love to compete and its fun.


    Jon Johnson says:
    1/28/2013 at 4:33:06 PM

    Great publication, Hits home in a few areas,

    Thanks for sharing


    Dominic says:
    2/9/2013 at 7:28:29 PM

    Have me excited about taking over next years as head coach. Thank you for sharing!


    murugan says:
    9/26/2013 at 10:12:44 AM

    Dear sir,
    your article is amazing, its gives me moral support, its teaches me the life skills,should be taught to kids then sports skills, very informative , each line and words are effective and very usefull , a big thanks to team members of breakthroughbasketball site , usually i will not write comments in any website , this is the first time iam giving comments, because i admired the way information given in this article,
    thanks a lot sirs
    May god bless you and your team members always
    sir one question, sir how can keep the spirit and energy throughout the day 100% b.cos iam getting tired from my time table given by the school iam taking my class very effectively from morning and evening but in the midday like 12 pm to 2pm very difficult to keep my mind , body, sound way , but iam saying my self , iam here to teach life skills through sports , can you give idea to keep the energy, and mind power level to be always high
    please guide me sir this my mail id
    by murugan sports teacher


    Donna Marie Valentine says:
    3/7/2014 at 3:18:45 PM

    This article is so profound to me and absolutely what I agree with. Unfortunately, my 15 year old daughter has had the most horrible experience playing basketball during her Freshman and especially this year (sophomore year). She started for her Freshman year and the new coach (finishing her schooling to be a teacher) did nothing but scream at the team and criticize. She did not quit. She came to the open practices in the summer, went to the Princeton basketball camp and the captain's practices in the Fall. This year they decided to place one Freshman on JV and rotate 6 others in with a total of 16 girls on the team. My daughter sat on the bench and sat out games entirely. She went to every practice and even sustained a concussion trying to show how well she can play. The head coach said he did not want to hear from parents. My daughter said the JV coach acted like she did not exist. She worked hard in practice, but it made no difference. She stayed for all the varsity games and helped with the books, etc. She never started a game, only played in some games for a few minutes. The Freshman were not good players and after they were put in we lost all but 3 JV games. The very last game she went in, in the 2nd quarter and played the rest of the game (with 2 other Freshman). She was outstanding. She rebounded 6 times, made foul shots, baskets, stole the ball - really amazing - the Freshman really did nothing. We found out that he chose the permanent Freshman and 2 other Freshman to practice with the varsity for the last tournament. Therefore, it is obvious that he chose these girls to start on JV next year and swing to varsity (this is how he does it). She loves to play. She is all about the team - it is really heartbreaking. You cannot speak to the Athletic Director and the varsity and JV coach will not speak with parents. I have asked my 15 year old to speak to her JV coach, but she is/was so demoralized she felt that she couldn't. I have that last game on tape. I wish I could call a meeting and share all that has gone on and ask for outside coaches to come and evaluate her ability. She has done everything in terms of commitment and attitude that he asked - but it seems that she was only there as practice fodder and to continually pay for things for the team. They just want you to walk away, but I feel that the someone should speak out about all the unfair/unjust things that have been allowed to go on. If you tried out and other players were picked because their ability was better that would be one thing, but that is not the case here. The worst part, is that after all I have taught her to keep displaying the right work ethic and attitude, her treatment last year and especially this year (4 months season every day) makes it really hard for a 15 year old to believe in these values. What are your comments/opinions on this experience and do you feel that I am just supposed to have her quit, give up and walk away or try to address this?? Thank you so much for your time.


    Mrs. Valentine


    Ken Sartini says:
    3/10/2014 at 10:47:31 AM

    DMV -

    Go to this page.

    I had a lengthy conversation with a parent about a situation pretty similar. Read everything I said to "Concerned Parent" and you might get some ideas / answers. She might even reply to you also.

    I hope this helps.


    Todd says:
    3/14/2015 at 11:25:12 AM

    Your input is awesome and has given direction!


    Cbo says:
    3/23/2015 at 4:02:46 PM

    Hello! I have one question bothering....

    What u people think when it is ok to start givin more playing time to the best players on ur team?

    Other way around: what is the age of the kids when u r not anymore sharing playing time egualy?

      1 reply  

    Jeff says:
    3/23/2015 at 4:34:01 PM

    It all depends on the situation. With out 4th graders playing time is not equal for each game (I try to match them up based on ability so they can all succeed and yet get challenged). However during the course of the entire season playing time ends up about equal.

    Generally speaking, I think playing time should mostly be equal until about 6th grade. But again it depends on the situation. I think all kids should get opportunities to play... you never know who will develop if they just get a chance. But also as they get older learn how to "earn playing time".

      1 reply  

    Cbo says:
    9/3/2015 at 3:30:34 PM


    I coach u10 and here of course I share playing time equaly... Only if someone is behaving badly or something like that they r not getting minutes...


    Coach K says:
    3/12/2016 at 12:17:55 AM

    Thanks Jeff for a well composed and very important article. I have only a slightly different perspective and that is that formulating a philosophy is not the FIRST thing. I've seen far too many young coaches who don't understand the nuts and bolts of the game try and formulate a philosophy. Rotten wood builds a poor house.

    The steps that come before this in my mind are to a) study the game, b) learn what the building blocks are, and c) note that they actually have to be taught (teaching skill). Then I think it's a good idea to dig deep inside yourself, find humility and set your ego aside and apprentice with someone who knows what they are doing. Unfortunately we live a society where credentials and skills mean less and less and few people want to bother with the effort to acquire and polish them.

    This is why there are so many responses in the thread with unhappy endings .Teaching isn't opening the ball cage and running a scrimmage. It's rolling up your sleeves, getting in there, getting your hands dirty, and instructing. If you can't manage that no philosophy in the world is going to help you.


    Ron says:
    4/24/2016 at 9:13:36 AM

    There''''s always gonna be "haters" Christine, just do your best and if your team is doing well, your players are not complaining, that''''s all that matters. Plus you are doing it for volunteer, I applaud you for that. :)


    Ruth King says:
    1/27/2018 at 11:20:55 AM

    Along with coaching philosophy we also need to teach THE HISTORY OF THE GAME!


    Coach Hale says:
    7/15/2018 at 5:14:42 PM

    You take them to the children''''''''s hospital and show them kids who will never be able to walk again, children who were born without limbs and doesn''''''''t have opportunities to even play basketball.You take them to the city of Chicago or Detroit and show them poverty and children who will never have an opportunity to escape that poverty to enjoy a game of basketball. Take them to the Washington monument and show them the unforgotten tombs. Men that sacrificed their life so we can enjoy our freedom and compete in sport! If they don''''''''t want to play basketball after that field trip than they can #handoverjersey


    Chris says:
    5/9/2019 at 7:56:33 PM

    Well done simply written but hit the nail on the head welldone


    Leave a Comment
    Email (not published)
    Two minus zero is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
     Load New Question
    Leave this Blank
        Check this box to receive an email notification when someone else comments on this page.