Players aged 12 and under

Winning should not be the fundamental objective. Instead, the players should learn to be good sports, respect the rules of the game, the referees and the opposing team, and to always try their best.

It is not that winning is unimportant, it is just that the other factors are more important. It is important for the players to strive for and experience “success”, however that does not have to be winning a game and often can be successfully “transferring” skills from practice into the game.

For this reason, the coach should organise the practices and games such that all players have an equal chance to participate. They should divide playing time among all of the players who have reasonably fulfilled their commitment rather than allowing the best players to play the most and keeping some players on the bench.

Neither is it enough that all the players get onto the court. Participating in a game means that players should be able to play without restriction.

For example, some coaches tend to let their best players have the ball and shoot while two or three other children are simply “filling up” the court. Obviously, those children are not participating in the game.

Similarly, all players should be encouraged to participate in all aspects of practice. The coach must not, for example, teach post moves only to tall players.

Practice sessions for players in this age group should be focused on fundamental skills and not vary relative to upcoming opponents.

Practices should include competitive situations, as this plays an important role in keeping the players motivated and interested. However, the coach should ensure that all players experience “success” and most of all, the performance of the coach can be judged by the smiles on the players’ faces and whether or not they wish to continue to play the sport.