Youth Basketball Coaching Tips

Coaching Youth Basketball
Leadership Skills Needed to Motivate, Guide, and Direct
By Brad Winters

Simply put, basketball coaching is leadership. To be a great youth basketball coach, I believe you must be a great leader. Leaders are people who have developed the skills needed to motivate, guide, and direct others in a positive direction.

Brad Winters' Team Wins

"Hard work pays off - After making it to the state championship game and loosing in 1999 and 2000, we finally win! I was totally humbled by the experience. Thank the good Lord, we did it... Here the horn sounds ending the game" -- Brad Winters

Basketball Coaching Leadership Tips

Leaders are made through discipline, training, experience, failure, and the desire to continually improve. Below are some guidelines to help you be the best basketball coach you possibly can be:

Learn to be strong but not rude.

Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It's not even a good substitute. Learn to stay relaxed and friendly when dealing with others. This applies to fellow basketball coaches, your player's parents, basketball officials, administrators, and especially the basketball players on your team.

[Related: Youth Basketball Playbook]


Learn to be kind but not weak.

We must not mistake kindness for weakness. Kindness isn't weak. Kindness is a certain type of strength. Basketball coaches must constantly look for ways to show their basketball players that they sincerely care about them as individuals. I always try to remember John C. Maxwell's tidbit of wisdom - "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Learn to be bold but not a bully.

It takes boldness to win the day. To build your influence, you've got to walk in front of your team. You've got to be willing to take the first arrow, tackle the first problem, and discover the first sign of trouble. Basketball coaches need and must be tough, but don't go over the line. Your organization (players, parents, etc.) will resent you for it.

You've got to learn to be humble, but not timid.

You can't get to the top of the basketball coaching ranks by being timid. Some people mistake timidity for humility. Stay humble, but always be courageous in overcoming life's daily struggles and fighting for your basketball program. Sometimes we must be willing to fight and die for what is right and just.

Be proud but not arrogant.

It takes pride to win the day. It takes pride to build your life. It takes pride to build a winning basketball program. It takes pride to want to be the best basketball team in the state. It takes pride to be willing to stand-up and fight for what you believe in.

Develop humor without being a clown.

That's important for a basketball coach. In leadership, we learn that it's okay to be witty, but not silly. It's okay to be fun, but not foolish. As a basketball coach, when my team is practicing on the court, I'm all business. But when we are off the court, I try to fellowship and have fun with my players as much as possible in a professional manner.

Never past negatives down.

You're basketball team will reflect your attitude. If you want a positive, upbeat basketball team, then you must portray that image. Leaders keep presenting the positives, keep pointing everyone toward the accomplishment of the team's desired goals, and keep setting the example for everyone else to follow.

Maintaining a Positive Winning Attitude

One of the beautiful things about life is that we all have choices. We get to choose how we will react to each and every situation that happens to us in life. We can choose to be positive and believe that good things are going to happen to us. Or we can choose to be negative...

No matter what we choose to believe, it affects us and how we live life, and how we coach our basketball team. As a leader, you must do your best to stay positive and believe with all your heart that brighter days are just ahead!

As you know, this can be very tough to do when dealing with life's daily struggles. Sometimes, you try your very best, but you still get hammered!

What's the solution? One of my secrets is to try to continually remind myself of all my many blessings in life. It's very tough to have a pity-party for yourself and think the world is falling apart when you spend time reflecting upon all the things you have to be thankful for in your life.

Leadership Tip: Try your best to be thankful! Make a list of all the things you are thankful for in your life - family, friends, accomplishments, trials you've overcome, etc. Place this list in your basketball planner and review it often... It will help you immensely!

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"But it's still a coach's game. Make no mistake. You start at the top. If you don't have a good one at the top, you don't have a cut dog's chance. If you do, the rest falls into place. You have to have good assistants, and a lot of things, but first you have to have the chairman of the board." -- Coach Paul Bear Bryant
"Coaches who can outline plays on a blackboard are a dime a dozen. The one's who win get inside their players and motivate." -- Coach Vince Lombardi
"Good coaching is based purely in leadership... a positive example... and instilling respect in your players." -- Coach John Wooden
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