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PostPosted: 08 Jul 2013, 15:26 

Posts: 56
First of all, I love this site with lots of tips. I'm like a sponge to learn as much as I can for my kids.

I have two boys (11 and 8 years). They have been playing recreational basketball in their teams.
Comparing to their peers, they need improvement and lack lots of fundmentals. As a Dad, I blame myself because I don't play basketball and didn't introduce it to them sooner.

Over 4 month ago, I met a personal coach in a club/gym when he was coaching other kids. So I hired him to coach my two kids one hour per week during school and two hours/week in summer.

Kids like him and I like him as well. The kids made improvement given where they were and comparing to themselves. But at the game, they still struggle. I realize that 4 months is not long enough and I need patience.

However, one thing I noticed about the coach is that I don't see a written long term or session training plan. Since he goes to different gyms to coach different individuals, I'm not sure if he can remember all individual's strength and weakness. Every session seems different. For example, I have to remind him frequently about my kids ' weakness.

I have two questions.
1) do you think it's appropriate for me to bring it up with the coach that we need to define a training plan. for example, short term work on which skills and long term achievement etc. then I design a worksheet and track the drills and skills training each session.
From what I read, it's not complicated to design a worksheet.
Other parents may be OK with ad hoc approach. But I believe plan and clear goal are more effecitve and all parties (parents, kids and coach) know what they are working towards. I don't want to look back two years from know and realize that we haven't achieved much.

Do you think the coach will be offended if I bring this up and suggest we do this?

2) if it's OK to bring it up, do you think the following the top priorites (plus a worksheet of other skills to be tracked)?

a) defense (off-the-ball, on-the-ball, defensie stance)
b) form shooting, layups (achive 80% for strong hand and 60% for week hand for uncontested laysups)
c) drible will be alays be part of the training

I don't want to have too many to overwhelm them and coach

PostPosted: 09 Jul 2013, 05:38 
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Posts: 1187
I think it's ok to ask... as long as you're "asking" and not suggesting or critiquing. You can just talk to the coach and say...

"Would it be ok if we created long term plan for ____ development? We'd like to work on a few things at home and I think it would help us a lot if we had a long term strategy to work from. Could you sit down with us and help develop that?"

Maybe emailing him is easier.

I think it's fun and good to "test" skills on occasional to gauge where they are at and then demonstrate improvement. I think tihs is a great motivator. See tactic #10:

I'm not sure about the worksheet thing. The coach can probably just reference the original long term plan.

Keep in mind that as a trainer myself, the parents and I often have a quite different idea of what the player needs. I try to listen and keep in mind that the customer is always right... but in the end it's my training program and I'm going to do what I believe is right. Otherwise it's not rewarding for me as a coach. If the parents disagree that strongly then can find another trainer.

Jeff Haefner

PostPosted: 09 Jul 2013, 06:48 
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Posts: 3139
I agree with Jeff -

In most cases the PT has more experience and knowledge than parents do. We know that parents want the best for their kids and as a coach, I think that most coaches, as professionals will work hard to make the players better at all aspetcts of the game.

I don't think that there is anything wrong with you asking him about what he sees as a plan for your boys. You might even ask him if there is anything that you can do at home to help them with the process. He should see this as you being on the same page with him. Stay positive and everything should work out well for you.

PostPosted: 09 Jul 2013, 07:31 

Posts: 56
Hi Coaches Jeff and Sar,

Thank you for your advices.
Speaking of the test idea: this last Sunday the coach grabbed an 8-year old in the gym while my boys were training with him. The coach let this boy played both defense and offense against my two kids. He let my boys guard against the dribble. then he let that boy guard against my boys' dribble.

My 11 year old was actually struggling both at defense and offense against that 8 year old (let alone my 8 year old).
I knew that boy was good because I saw he was playing 2nd grader game against my son's team. Still, I was pretty disappointed at that time that my 11 year old was struggling with an 8-year old though I didn't say anything.

Based on what you two said, I will keep monitoring progress for another a few months to see how it goes instead of getting in the middle.

PostPosted: 09 Jul 2013, 07:41 
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Posts: 3139
Michael -

You might ask him for some advice as to how to help your boys get better by doing some things on their own and / or with your help.

Good luck

PostPosted: 09 Jul 2013, 08:33 

Posts: 56
Thank you for the advice.
we don't have hoops at our driveway and it's hot outside these days as well. So they can't practice on their own unless they go to the gym.

The coach did give advice such as trying form shooting on both hands at home even without basket and dribble 100 times on weak hand. they boys are doing that.
I also purchased some videos that teach them how to do stationary drills without requiring a basket at home.

PostPosted: 09 Jul 2013, 08:41 
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Posts: 338
Location: Winter Garden, FL (Orlando suburb)
Michael, I like your idea of creating a long-term plan. With players that I have personally worked with, I like to pick a couple of things and get really good at it.

I think your concerns about spending money and making sure it leads to better performance on the court is a very valid concern. I believe that private training can be very helpful. However, you also have to be careful that you don't start too early. Sometimes, kids are not ready yet.. mentally or physically. All the private training in the world isn't going to help a child who isn't physically ready or truly passionate about the game.

That's why I personally don't conduct private training for kids under 12. There are exceptions, but 99% of the time I don't do it. However, there are too many unknowns to say that is what you should do or shouldn't do. Every situation is different.

I'm also afraid of burnout and I know that when kids are reach a certain maturity level physically and mentally; usually between the ages of 12 and 15, the improvement from private training increases significantly because you can do more at a faster pace.

If it's my kid, I find a high-quality team coach who is going to make sure the kids enjoy the game and teaches the importance of hard work, honesty, etc. Second on the priority list would be a coach who teaches kids skills and how to play the game.

Second, I send them to some high-quality camps. Camps that have a good reputation.

Third, set up some 1 on 1 tournaments at the park or somebody's house where kids can have some fun playing the game. 1 on 1 is also a great way to start applying some of the things that they have learned from camps or private training.

Fourth, make basketball seasonal and play other sports.

Your son's ability to play against the 8 year old could include many factors:
1. Skills are not good enough yet.
2. Low self-image and confidence.
3. In a funk. Maybe he just wasn't sharp that day. Everybody has those days.
4. Needs more competitive play to apply the skills being taught. You have to be careful with this especially if they have low self-image and confidence. This could make things worse.
5. Maybe that 8 year old is just darn good.
6. Your son is starting to grow and going through awkward coordination development. Sometimes, they regress during growth spurts.

Those are just a few thoughts. I'm sure there are a million other factors that it could be.

I hope this helps.

Joe Haefner

PostPosted: 09 Jul 2013, 08:59 

Posts: 56
Hi Coach Jeff,
Thanks for your great thoughts and suggestions.
Regarding using personal coach, there are a few factors.
First, I don't play basketball. So I need someone to teach them.
secondly, it has to do with how their teams play and practice the game. They join YMCA playing teams. The coaches are volunteers. they don't stay in the same team all the time. every season, there will be a different coach. Some times you get a coach who doesn't teach much. If you get a really good coach, this coach starts cutting play time for players who don't play well. Basically good players get even better by playing more in the game.

So I'm trying to get them some private coaching so that they can keep up and have chance to play in the game.

Locally, our middle school start forming basketball team in 7th grade. My 11 old still has two years.
I heard they have 3 teams based on player's quality. So my goal is for him to make any middle school teams to play for a couple of years.

I'd appreciate if you have any advice on how to make to middle school basketball teams.

PostPosted: 09 Jul 2013, 17:52 
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Posts: 3139
Jeff makes a lot of good Look at his suggestions and see if you can do some of thing for sure, at that age, make sure they are having fun..... I just might add to what Jeff said ... being fundamentally sound or at least pretty good will help them to make their middle school teams.
Having a good attitude and being coachable helps too.

Being able to dribble with both hands helps -
Passing and catching the ball - standing still and on the move
Being able to shoot layups or at least with the proper footwork.... ( for your younger son this will be hard and the 11 year, that depends on his size and strength.)

Watch the DVDs with your sons and pick out a couple of drills that can help them... make sure that you make it fun for them... make a game out of it somehow. Maybe do the drills with them at times, that should help to make it fun for them... Getting better at this game is a journey, not a destination.... small steps and make sure that you give them a lot of attaboys.

Its a shame at their age that the coaches are thinking more about winning than teaching/coaching.

PostPosted: 10 Jul 2013, 17:01 

Posts: 894
After reading through this thread, I have to say, I'm impressed that you're thinking ahead like this. I didn't really have a concept of what was "out there" in terms of basketball until our team entered a tournament at the end of our 5th grade year. That was our wake up call.

JoeHaefner wrote:
If it's my kid, I find a high-quality team coach who is going to make sure the kids enjoy the game and teaches the importance of hard work, honesty, etc. Second on the priority list would be a coach who teaches kids skills and how to play the game.
Amen and amen. In fact, Joe's entire post was full of great suggestions.

I coached YMCA ball for several years before moving up into the more competitive realms. I'll throw out some thoughts based on my experience as a coach and personal experience with my son regarding going from Y ball to more competitive. I live in a large metropolitan city, so you might not have access to some of these suggestions.

-Look for opportunities for your kids to play basketball outside the Y, especially 3v3. Every player has to dribble, cut, screen, rebound, and shoot; plus they get great playtime. I'm a HUGE fan of 3v3.

-Try finding leagues outside the Y. Where I live, they have a league that has 3 levels (rec, basic, and competitive). You might run into a coach with a team that stays together from season to season.

-Personal coach can be a good thing, especially if the kids like him/her. However, the kids should be saying they enjoyed their time and be inspired to practice on their own after the sessions.

-Try not to compare. It will be very tempting to compare your kids to others. Avoid it.

-They will have to practice on their own.

-Things change. I won't bore you with the details, but if 3 years ago you would've told me my son would be starting on the freshman high school summer team, I wouldn't have believed you.

-"I enjoyed watching you play." Remember that phrase and use it often.


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