You want to know the reason behind the regressing skills of our American players, then look in the mirror!! More kids are participating in youth sports at age 7 than ever before, but more kids are quitting at age 14 than ever before. Why? They don’t have any FUN!! Grassroots coaches are more concerned with winning games, than teaching players skills. Our player’s skills are suffering. Two killers that coaches need to be aware of are boredom and fatigue. They destroy the player’s workout. This takes away the FUN in the workout. In our program FUN stands for:
Understanding the content (game)
Fun Man!! Smiles, high fives, fist pumps (Not the Jersey Shores fist pump connotation, but the Kobe Bryant or Diana Taurasi fist pump of jubilation and excitement of executing something important). When kids don’t think something is important or don’t have success, eventually their spirit dies!! It’s a kid’s spirit that gives them life. We have lost the spirit of skill development and we must get it back.
In our program at Ganon Baker Basketball players have grown to love working out because each player is treated like – Family!! If you embrace every player you coach your entire perspective and attitude changes. You automatically raise the bar for them. Below are some suggestions.
- 1) Develop high expectations and measurable goals for each drill
- • For example make 3 in a row… keep your teaching technique, the players experience a “game,” not a drill. Work now becomes fun. This activates the player’s intensity and competitive instincts. You can time drills or chart them. This also holds them accountable
- 2) Break their bad habits, but never break their spirit!!
- • You never want to crush the players self worth or self esteem. You don’t want to “baby them,” speak the truth and deal in reality to break their will, but not their heart.
- • Don’t get personal with the mistake. “That play stunk,” not “Hey you stink!”
- • Whenever you can praise them in public in front of the team, criticize softly close to them in private, but do correct
- 3) Give them your HEART!!
- • You would give your own family all your “firsts” of the day. Your firsts of love and attention. Rarely does your family get your “leftovers.” So don’t give your team leftovers. The players are not there to serve the coach. The coaches are there to serve the players.
- • A coach must have unbreakable passion. A coach should always be clapping. His tone of voice should produce great encouraging sounds, and not a yell. There is a difference. A yell is at them, an encouraging sound gets inside them. A great coach can reach them as they teach them.
- • Players like coaches who sweat and participate in drills. You should be hands on, grabbing / moving body parts etc… If you can show them the drill through demonstration, then that is wonderful!! I have seen 60 and 70 year old coaches ignite a workout with their involvement. No one sweats like Tim Grgurich (60’s), Herb Livsley (70’s), Kevin Eastman (50’s)
- • A coach should be intervening and voicing praise every 10-20 seconds. You’re always catching them doing something correct. Engage them. You are a mirror in practice. You praise “right” and correct the “wrong.” You have Polaroid eyes. You get them to see what you just saw!
As a coach we have to understand that coaching is an investment, not an entitlement.
Ganon Baker is the owner and an active world renowned professional skill development coach. He trains players of all ages from grassroots all the way up to the WNBA/NBA. www.ganonbakerbasketball.com