Coaching an underdog team is probably one of the most challenging work coaches have to face. An underdog team is considered to be behind, or lower, in terms of the level of basketball skills compared to the rest of their opponents. You can just imagine how much load of work coaches need to be done in order to polish their teams. At times, it takes years to finally get your team to the top of the rankings.

But you can never count an underdog team out. They might be immature in terms of the level of basketball skills, or having the championship experience, but they are very much capable of bringing highly competitive ball games and in the end beat superior teams.

A coach’s brilliance plays a major part in helping out an underdog team. He might not need very talented players. Instead, he uses his coaching gift to find that perfect combinations of players that can carry out effective basketball systems. To give you more ideas on how to coach an underdog team, let us look at the following:

1. Recognize the abilities of your team as a whole.
It is wise for you as a coach to see and recognize what your team is capable of doing. You should not just look at your players, but your coaching staff as well. These abilities must be brought to the table to make a better plan for an effective basketball system. In addition, you can formulate a special combination of players who can play effectively together on court. These combinations are very crucial because you have to let the players play in such a way that they know how each of them moves on both defensive and offensive ends.

2. Spend time in knowing each member of the team.
Get to know who you are working with. With this, you can have a better picture on how you can influence your team to play good basketball. You can create diversified approaches to each of the members of the team. You should be able to remember that human beings are unique in every way. Do not ignore the chance of making a great relationship with your team. You can establish rapport with each of them, and you can have them trust you even more both as a coach and a person. It will be much easier for you to touch their hearts and minds and get them play as good basketball players, which they can be.

3. Have a clear and competitive basketball objective for your team.
Be clear with your goals for playing basketball. Emphasize what you want your team to achieve. Most importantly, create an objective that will encourage your team to play a competitive basketball game. The attitude of being competitive must be instituted right away. You can make that one as your edge among all the other underdogs in your basketball league. As what I have said, underdogs might be seen not as good than experienced players, but they are very much capable of pulling the trigger and play a highly competitive ball game.

4. Let your team be aware that you are playing as the underdog team.
It is important that your team is aware of their level of basketball skills. This is not for the purpose of comparing their game to their opponents alone. This should make them aware of what their opponents are capable of doing, as well as their advantages against them as the underdog team. Their awareness will help them plan and play basketball wherein they can be able to disrupt the advantages of their opponents, and then rule their game out.

5. Accept your weaknesses and work on them.
You, as well as your team, must accept your shortcomings. You can always make up for those weaknesses in making a better plan to develop your system and your players. There is nothing wrong with such weaknesses because all people do have them. But the important thing is that you and your team are willing to learn and exert more effort for improvement.

Take the time to work on such weaknesses during practice sessions. This is significant in establishing a more complete and mature basketball team.

6. Optimize your team’s strength.
More than working on with your team’s weaknesses, optimize your strength to the maximum potential possible. Your strength is like your bread and butter in keeping you into the game. Keep on practicing and planning on how you can keep that strength going and improving to a higher level game after game.

7. Give consistent positive encouragement to all member of the team.
Positive encouragement can be very helpful to help your team do their best in every game. It is like giving them the hope of winning ball games, given the fact that they play as the underdogs. Another thing is that you must be consistent in encouraging your players, whether you win or lose ball games. This would help the fire of playing basketball games keep on burning.

8. Develop the goal of winning one game at a time.
Take games one at a time. Do not let your players see what the future games will be. They cannot dictate how things will happen if they keep on thinking ahead of time. The best thing to do is to execute good basketball in every possession. Defense must also be stressed out from time to time.

9. Inspire your team to play their heart out in each basketball games.
The best thing about coaches having to coach underdog teams is their gift of inspiring their players. I have seen so many teams become victorious because of the way their corresponding coaches inspire them.

Inspiration is a positive way of encouragement. It is so powerful that it can influence your players minds to play with aggression in every point of the game. Its utmost significance can be seen when players display the heart to play. No matter how bad their situation might be in a ball game, they never surrender to the thought of losing.

10. Be passionate on developing your team.
Coaching an underdog team can be a very heavy task. Instead of carrying all the pressure, do your job with passion. Be passionate in mentoring, assisting, and building your team. Your passion can help you do your job with ease. Moreover, you can make your passion for basketball viral to the entire members of them team. You share that passion with them, and you can see how your team will make a difference in playing the game.

[info_box]Picture credit: JordaloCreative Commons Attribution[/info_box]