7 Tips for Parent Coaches of Youth Basketball Teams

Youth sports like youth basketball thrive from involved parent coaches. Infact, as many as 80% - 90% of parents make up the coaches pool in American youth sports. 

For parent coaches, this also means you have the opportunity to build deeper relationships with your offspring. Connecting with your child is vital to their social and emotional development. This type of attention gives your child a feeling of support, security, and guidance as they continue to develop into confident, capable humans. 

A recent study revealed that 40% out of 14,000 child participants in the US lacked a secure relationship with their parents. In many cases, youth sports offer some very positive aspects of the parent-child relationship for those parents in head and assistant coach positions. This includes more quality time, attention and a unique environment to teach your child in.  

If you're not sure how to bond with your child, consider coaching their sports team. Playing together on the court or field is an excellent way to grow through obstacles and victories. 

For those interested in coaching young athletes on the court, we've provided seven parent tips for coaching youth basketball in the guide below. It's time to dust off the old whistle!

1. Provide Important Information From the Start

Whether you're coaching a boys basketball or girls basketball team, parents are going to come in hot with questions! Expect a rush of involved guardians once the season starts. 

Provide important information clearly to the guardians of each child from the start. Type out a sheet of paper or email with your contact information, practice times, the cost of basketball equipment & uniforms, and a game schedule. 

You should also provide guidelines and rules about how parents should behave at practices and games as well as common sideline etiquette. Offer them ways to get involved if possible, such as keeping time or passing out water. 

2. Chat With Your Child

Before the intense basketball training starts, have a serious chat with your child about being their parent and coach. 

Younger children may become jealous or upset if they see another player getting attention from their parents. They may also request special attention during practice or at games. 

Establish boundaries with your child, and explain to them why it's essential to be fair to everyone! Encourage them by telling them it's a great bonding experience for everyone involved. 

3. Don't Focus on Winning

Many coaches have a competitive streak. While this is natural, don't get caught up in winning, especially when coaching a young team. 

Playing sports is about more than winning a game. It's also about learning important life skills, developing a sense of self-discipline, and building confidence

If your team loses, point out the positive moments from the game. Congratulate them on working together and trying their best. Offer constructive criticism for the next game. 

Did you win a few games? Don't hesitate to celebrate. We know winning feels good. 

4. Allow Room for Growth

When coaching young athletes, not every child is going to join your team as a basketball superstar. Provide plenty of opportunities for growth. 

You're not only helping a child grow in their fundamental basketball skills, but you're also providing moments to exceed socially, mentally, and physically. As the coach, you can be the one to teach your team how to persevere, lean on each other, and challenge themselves. 

During practice, watch each team member carefully as they run drills. Make note of what they're good at and what could use improvement. Chat with each child to brainstorm ways they can strengthen their weak spots. 

Make yourself available for questions as the children learn and grow. Provide feedback when asked, and never shy away from a chance to strengthen your bond with an individual team member. 

5. Offer Praise

There's nothing wrong with a child wanting validation for their hard work. Praise your team members throughout each practice and game. Advertise their shining star moments. 

Look for the little things in addition to the winning points. For example, did you notice a child help someone up after they fell on the court? Or did they pick up a few of the empty water cups left by the bench?

Give praise and thanks where it's due. Praise is an excellent motivator and encourages your team members to have integrity, even when they think no one's watching. 

6. Remain Respectful

Unfortunately, not every decision you make as a coach is going to make every parent and child happy. There are going to be a few disgruntled people coming to you throughout the season. 

Your first instinct might be to fight back, yell, or give the cold shoulder. Remain firm in your position, but show the other person respect. Hear them out on what they have to say, even if you know you don't agree. 

If a parent or team member is trying to start an argument in front of the rest of the team, respectfully ask the individual to speak in private. 


7. Have Plenty of Fun

Coaching requires a load of responsibility, but don't forget to have tons of fun! Shoot 360 DFW General Manager and basketball coach, Jeff Higgins of Dallas, Texas notes, "Coaching youth basketball is an incredible opportunity to make a lasting impact on kids. Teaching kids' good habits is essential but kids having fun is also equally important. "

Laugh at the silly mistakes. Get to know your team members' passions outside of basketball. Let your goofy side show in front of the team. 

Many coaches plan team-building activities throughout the season. Take your team to a local ropes course or putt-putt golf course. Finish the team outing with a pizza dinner or ice cream buffet. 

Kids are motivated by fun, and you'll be surprised how well an evening of fun can strengthen the bonds between your team members. 

Get Your Head in the Game: Tips for Coaching Youth Basketball

Are you in charge of coaching youth basketball? You're going to experience your fair share of challenges so make sure to keep the above guide close by your side. 

Don't sweat it too much. As much as you'll face challenges, you'll also discover fulfillment and joy. Being a coach to amazing young minds is an incredible opportunity. 

Do you need a few pointers for practice? Our Shoot 360 membership includes personalized shooting and passing drills, basketball clinics, and more. Contact us with any questions today.