3 Tips To Prepare For Your First Season As A Youth Basketball Coach

Is this your first time serving as a youth basketball coach? If so, you'll want to take time to prepare before your first team practice. Your team will benefit from an organized practice plan and your team's parents will appreciate your preparation. You'll also likely find that running practice is much easier if you have a plan and you can limit parent frustration or interruption if they know what to expect. Here are a few tips on how you can prepare before the season starts to make sure everyone has a great time:

Create a list of expectations for both parents and players.

At your first practice, you'll likely want to spend a few minutes meeting with both your players and your players' parents. Use this time to take care of administrative issues like setting the practice schedule, announcing a snack list for games, and setting times for a postseason party. You also may want to set expectations for both groups.

For the players, give them a one-sheet list of expectations. Those expectations could include giving their best effort, being on time, respecting referees and other coaches and players. For parents, your expectations may include things like not yelling at the referees, not shouting instructions to their children during games, and generally being supportive and encouraging. By setting expectations from the beginning, you can prevent major issues during the season.

Recruit some help.

Running a youth basketball team is no easy task. You'll likely find very quickly that it's difficult to manage a team of ten or so young children by yourself. Some of the kids likely won't be paying attention to you some of the time. Also, you may see that some kids need extra attention and coaching, which can be difficult to provide if you're handling everything yourself.

Once you get your roster of players, reach out to parents and ask for one or two parents to volunteer as assistant coaches. If no parents will volunteer, perhaps reach out to your own network of friends and family for help. Also, think about recruiting a parent to be team manager, who can help coordinate snack schedules, carpooling, fundraisers, and any other administrative functions.

Plan your practice schedule.

Kids usually need structure if you want them to perform and practice at their highest level. If your practices aren't structured, you run the risk that they'll devolve into kids running around and doing whatever they want. Take some time to schedule your drills, scrimmages, and other practice routines. Also, plan each practice throughout the season, perhaps incorporating a new skill or strategy into each. By adding in new elements to each practice, you can keep it fun and interesting and make sure the kids' skills are becoming more advanced as the season progresses.

You can find many sample drills on a variety of basketball coaching sites. Visit some sites to find drills that are appropriate for your age group.