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PostPosted: 18 Mar 2014, 09:07 

Posts: 3
I really enjoy reading your basketball articles, particularly the ones about coaching tips.

I was hoping to get your opinion regarding my recent coaching experience. This past winter, I helped coach a 5th grade boys travel A team. We struggled all season, winning just 3 games out of 12. Aside from a relative lack of depth, I also started noticing another problem with our squad, which had little to do with x's and o's. Every time we would make a player substitution, the outbound and inbound players would never high five each other.. they'd just walk on by without any acknowledgement. The same was the case when a player was fouled and would go to the line for free throws. I was constantly trying to encourage the players to support each other, explaining to them that high fiving is good for team bonding and camaraderie. Unfortunately, we had a number of selfish-type players who were more concerned with their minutes than their teammates. Moreover, our head coach (I was only the assistant) did not seem to care about stressing the "intangibles".

Am I wrong in wanting to emphasize team building?? I almost feel like high fiving when coming into the game should be a team rule. It all goes to teaching these kids about good sportsmanship and respect for their fellow player.

Please let me know your thoughts on the matter.

Thanks and regards,

PostPosted: 18 Mar 2014, 09:41 
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Posts: 3139
The first problem you have is that you need to get the HEAD coach on board with what you are trying to accomplish.
Being the assistant you have to go about this slowly and certainly NOT step on his toes.

Even at the varsity level when we subbed they might forget to ask WHO ARE YOU GUARDING? That is the most important thing... How the heck can you go on the floor and NOT know who you are covering?

So, we had some towels and anyone that went into the game would have to hand it to the person they were going in for and ask "Who are you covering?" This is a start You might add this ... when a sub comes out, everyone stands up and claps... or at the very least, stands up.

We had Post game talks... and I got sick and tired of giving them my opinion all the time...I bet they did too LOL ... So, I started picking out 1 or 2 kids after every game and allowed them to give their opinions ... GOOD and BAD ON how the game went.... without attacking any ONE player.... Remind them that NO ONE PLAYER wins or loses a game..... its a TEAM sport! We win and lose together. When someone scores on you, he scores on the TEAM, NOT just one player, since everyone is responsible for defending the ball.

Ok, this is a start.... are we on the right track?

One other thing that we did to bond was to meet every Saturday morning for breakfast... it got pretty funny sometimes. :-) They loved to cut each other up in a fun way.Maybe you can come up with something like that.

PostPosted: 19 Mar 2014, 13:05 

Posts: 899
Yep, usually the head coach has to bring this one to the table. One of our sayings is, "make it hard on the other players, not on your teammates", which includes giving your teammates high fives and kudos. That is emphasized at the beginning of the season and reemphasized throughout. Players not willing to do this need to see there are consequences for their inaction's. We also address what is acceptable when addressing another teammate. Getting on their case because they made a mistake isn't acceptable.

I get what you're saying about the "intangibles" and they can affect the play on the court in a big way. Maybe you approach the head coach and ask him straight up if he's seeing what you're seeing on the court? A lot of times this can be fixed if the head coach comes out and addresses it as part of the team culture.


PostPosted: 19 Mar 2014, 14:42 

Posts: 3
Coach Sar and Coach Rob,

Thank you very much for your feedback. I agree with you both that the culture of the team starts with the HEAD coach and must be emphasized throughout the season. I fee strongly that the best basketball programs are those that are able to instill a "team first" mentality.

I also like the idea of allowing a couple of players to give their assessment after each game. It helps empower them by making them feel like they have a voice! In fact, I always thought it would be a good idea to elect 2 team captains for every game and have those two players lead the team through the pre-game warm-ups. Perhaps they would also be the ones to address the team after the game. Then we would rotate the captains based on how the kids practiced during the week.

Thanks again for your comments and suggestions. It really gives me a good perspective!

Rob S.

PostPosted: 19 Mar 2014, 17:17 
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Posts: 3139
Good luck coach.... I think you are on the right track.

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