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First Time Youth Basketball Coaching pt. 1


Youth Basketball Team

So you find yourself coaching a youth basketball team but you do not have a clue where to begin? Or you have coaching experience but just not sure how to channel it to basketball? Maybe you just want to be better at what you do or just get some fresh ideas. No matter what drove you here we can help!

Before your first practice make sure you know the basic rules of basketball. Also make sure you get a rule book from the league you will be coaching. There is nothing more embarrassing than the coach not knowing the basic rules of basketball! Not knowing is ok – but take the time to learn them! You can not properly teach them if you don’t know them.

Depending on the age range of the kids you will be coaching the rules will vary. For example “Traveling” is generally allowed for the first and second year (4-6 yr olds) divisions – to a certain extent. This will be tightened up as the kids get older and move up in divisions. Learn the league rules – almost to the point of memorization. It is also a good idea to have the rule book with you on Game day. There have been many times when a referee (who normally officiates different divisions during a day) made the wrong call for the league they were officiating at the time.

Coaches also have “minimum” playing time guidelines for each player. This is something else you will need to be aware of – not only for your team but your opponents as well. Coaches will sometimes push/bend the rules to try to eek out a win any way possible. Knowing the length of the quarters, number of fouls each player can commit and timeouts per game can effect how you manage against a specific team. It can also be the difference between a win and a loss.

If your league is having a draft to select players make sure you have good balance. Mix in some speed players, with power players and maybe a few all around players too. A team that has no balance will be exposed by a balanced team and/or experienced coach.

Be sure to check back for more installments of first time youth basketball coaching!