Players aged 13-14 years old

The coach of 13/14-year-olds should also allow all the players who go to practice to play many minutes throughout the season, otherwise their motivation will decrease and it will be more likely that they quit the sport or make little effort.

With players at this age, games are an excellent test of the effectiveness of the work done during practice sessions. With this in mind, it is necessary to consider the following steps:

  • before each game, coaches should establish the collective and/or individual performance goals that they consider most important for that game, taking into account what the team worked on at practice during that week or in preceding weeks;
  • before the game, coaches should establish a simple procedure to evaluate whether or not those goals are achieved, and to what degree;
  • during the game or afterwards, if it has been recorded on video, the coach or a capable colleague should make note of the behaviours that constitute the performance goals;
  • after the game, coaches should study the notes taken and assess what has occurred with the performance goals established before the game; this assessment will provide them with the information necessary to know how the players are assimilating the work done during training.

For example, the coach is working on screens during the training sessions and wants to monitor how the players are transferring these skills into the game. In the next game, they establish setting screens as a priority performance goal, and the coach may pay particular attention to whether or not the player made the correct cut off a screen. Focusing on the “process” instead of whether or not a basket was scored will help to evaluate the effectiveness of the screen.

Basically, the interaction between practice sessions and games - using the games as test experiences, is a fundamental element for 13/14-year- old teams. The game goals established by the coach should mainly be performance goals because what they are interested in is observing the players’ progress in the basketball fundamentals that make up the contents covered during practice.