One of the most essential things coaches will run into right off the bat and combat the entire time is differing personalities. Different people learn in different ways, and different people do and say different things. While it is a coach’s job to keep and maintain a certain level of order, this can be done by developing a deep sense of teamwork and developing the team first mentality. As corny as it sounds, the saying “There is no I in team” works. A team cannot be successful by relying on one single person to carry it.
With that in mind you have to keep an eye on your players and find out what fits their styles. While running team drills is a great thing, running individual drills will help build stamina and confidence, which can benefit the team overall. Sometimes a person better benefits the team practicing by themselves.
You will be able to detect team communication issues early on throughout practice and game observation because players may fail to pass, or may try to make a shot for all the glory to become the saviour or star of the game. If this ever becomes the case, you need to ensure that players understand that there will be consequences for actions that are detrimental to the team. Even if you like the player that did it or may know them outside of the court, you cannot play favourites and cannot let someone off the hook.
Players are your number one resource, and as such need to be treated properly. While discipline is needed, so is respect. Sometimes one player may not be as good as another player, and this may require some special one on one attention. Sometimes it is best to pull them aside after practice or a game to discuss this, and sometimes it is best to call them out on the spot. As a coach, you will get to know your players well enough that you will know which type of response is proper for your player, and you will learn how to handle things. Remember coaches aren’t perfect and will make mistakes too!
Players that respond poorly to constructive criticism may need to be benched or removed from the team for a short time so that they know that you are serious. Some players will come in with the attitude that they deserve this spot and no matter what they do, it is theirs. The team needs to function as a team and cannot have any glory hounds on it with this attitude or it will serve as a bad distraction for your team and have severely negative impacts all around.
While coaching looks like it could be difficult and could be hard for some people, as long as you have a love of the game, are willing to learn, and can admit that you make mistakes as much as your players can make them, then you will do one of the most important things out there to a basketball team other than winning, and that is having some fun!
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