I'm literally just getting in on the ground floor of coaching. I'm currently coaching 5th grade boys and having a hard time getting through to them as far as taking things seriously, I do realize that here in Wisconsin this is their first year of competetive playing and I can't expect them to understand the game the way I do but I see more potential then what is displayed on the court in practice and in the games we've had so far. I've tried several different things and nothing seems to be getting through to them. I'm keeping it as simple as humanly possible and it doesn't appear to be working, any advice that anyone has would be greatly appreciated. Thank You.

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I know how you feel, Timothy. I only have one season of experience and that was with a 6th grade team similar to what you describe. Lots of patience is definitely required. If I have one regret, it's that I was too tough on my team. Not that they as a team seemed to let it get to them; towards the end of the season it warmed my heart to hear one of the kids say how much they were going to miss the whole experience in the off-season. But still, or maybe because of hearing that, I feel bad that I wasn't more relaxed enough to just enjoy working with them.


That may not be relevant to how you're dealing with your team, but if I wanted to let you know one thing, it's that you may not think you're getting through to them, as far as it showing up in their play, but what you're doing is important to them. As long as they keep showing up, the desire is there, and what you're teaching will stick with them and may not manifest itself now, but it will down the road.


So don't beat yourself up or the kids as much as just enjoy the moment. That will give you the space to improve as a coach and the kids the space to improve as a team and as individual players. And at the level where you're all just getting started, that is more important than the win column.


Just my two cents. Please have fun, and continue to stay humble.




It has to be fun!

You have get them to buy into the love of the game.

Practice cannot be dull.

Have a talk with the team before the first practice begins. Outline what you they are going to work on in practice. Practice should be harder than any game but rewarding. If the players work hard in practice, the game becomes fun, because they usually win.

Personal skills at this age are #1. I would set up stations, where the players are learning the skills of the game. I can’t tell you how important it is that all players learn how to shoot, rebound, dribble, play defense, and screen properly. If these skills are not developed, players will lose interest in the game. Set up stations on the court for all the skills to be developed. The first two weeks of practice should be nothing but skill improvement. If you can, I would have two practices a day.

By the way, if they want to be good basketball players, they must work on conditioning before the season begins. If a player is not in shape, then maybe they spend the first week on conditioning before they work on skills. 

When you find out who your players are going to be, give them a workout schedule before your practices begin.

Best, Jerry

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