What kind of team am I going to coach?

It is very important that a coach takes the time to understand the team they are coaching, using the following questions as a guideline:

  • Is it a mini-basketball team? A children’s team? Is it a team made up of promising young players? Is it a first-class elite team?
  • What sort of organization does the team belong to? Is it a school team? A club team? What sort of school or club?
  • How good are the players? How long have they been playing? What is their potential?
  • Why are the players playing? For fun?  To spend time with friends? To learn and get better at basketball?

The answer to each of these questions will help the coach to understand the context of the team. This will help the coach to avoid the kind of mistakes that can arise if the coach and players (or their parents) have different expectations for the team.

Once the coach understands the type of team they are coaching, it is important that they communicate their expectations to the team. In the context of coaching young children, this must also include communication with the parents.

(English) “A leader’s most powerful ally is their own example”

coach John Wooden

(English) A coach who is training young players has the responsibility of contributing to the players’ overall development both in sport and life in general – taking a holistic approach. The coach should not only be interested in short-term achievements.

Taking into account all of the above, coaches should decide upon general objectives for the team which reflect that particular team and those players and their particular motivations.

For example: a coach training a mini-basketball school team (ages 9-10) might want to consider the following:

  • All players should have equal opportunity to participate in games.
  • Some of the players may never have played before; some may have been playing for only a year and in general, the skill level of all players is likely to
    be low.
  • Some players will have good basic movement skills (running, jumping etc.) while others will not and the level of fitness of players may vary widely.
  • The coach’s main priority will be to contribute to the personal development of these children in developing a positive and sportsmanlike.
  • Therefore, general aims that the coach may adopt could be that the children:
    • enjoy themselves
    • improve their physical development
    • improve their physical development
    • learn certain values (such as team work, respect for others, etc.)
    • work on overall improvement of basketball fundamentals (dribbling, passing, etc.)
    • see that success is measured by the improvement of skills (team and individual) and executing those skills in games.