However, it is often the only way that players (and their parents) will judge the team’s “success”.

The coach should provide some review of the game which highlights where the team, and individual players, are improving and the areas for continued improvement. With players so young doing video review sessions, having weekly “one on one” meetings or undertaking statistical analysis of the game (all strategies that are used with professional teams) is unlikely to be productive. Likewise, simply saying “well done, we played well today” at the end of the game is also unlikely to be productive.

Some ways to incorporate game review with very young players are:

  • Set goals at the start of the game that relate to things that have been focused on at practice and then “measure” those goals. For example, counting the number of times the team “reversed” the ball in offence. Having 2 or 3 goals for any one game is probably sufficient (although there will be many more that could be focused on);
  • Introduce one or two activities at practice that specifically relate to things that happened in the game, and tell the players how they relate. For example, “last week our opponent had more than 20 offensive rebounds so we need to work on blocking out today”;
  • Acknowledge good performances by the team or individual players. For example, having the players shake hands at the start of practice and congratulate each other because the team reversed the ball 20 times in the previous game. This acknowledgment should focus on “process” or effort rather than simply top scorers. If the coach is going to acknowledge individual players they should make sure that all players get recognized;
  • Set goals at the start of practice, similarly to those used in games, and provide feedback at the end of practice;
  • Use contested situations in practice and give them a “game situation” (e.g. we are down by 4 points with 2 minutes to go) which relates to the previous game;
  • Provide a short written report (which can be written in the style of a newspaper article) after each game. Parents who may be unable to watch a game will particularly appreciate this and it allows the coach to focus on the transfer of skills from practice to training.