A National Alliance for Youth Sports resource helping coaches, parents and administrators provide the best youth sports experiences for children.
Coaches: Show your young athletes that you believe in them
By Greg Bach
As a youth basketball coach you know that your players’ shots aren’t always going to find the bottom of the net.
Tough defenders, poor shooting technique, or simply an unlucky bounce are just some of the factors that can lead to misses.
It’s just the nature of the game.
And that can put the squeeze on a player’s confidence in a hurry.
How you respond to players fighting through those difficult stretches where nothing goes their way will have a defining impact on whether they’re able to bust out of that slump, or stay mired in it.
“It is important for youth coaches to not be hard on a player that is struggling to make shots,” Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told SportingKid Live.
Hoiberg knows all about shooting, and making, shots. He was a lethal – and confident – shooter during his collegiate playing days at Iowa State. He ranks as the school’s third all-time leading scorer, and he later carved out a 10-year career in the NBA thanks in large part to his shooting prowess.
“I believe you breed confidence by getting reps and I’ve never seen someone miss a lot of shots when they have confidence,” Hoiberg explains. “As a coach, you have to get your players to believe they are going to make shots.”
And that happens when you have connected with your players and they trust and embrace what they are hearing from you.
“They’ll believe in themselves if they know you believe in them,” Hoiberg says.
So build those coach-player bonds, stay positive and keep the encouraging words flowing.
Sending kids home after practice with positive messages fuels confidence and passion for the sport. See how Tulsa football coach Philip Montgomery makes it happen with his team and adopt his approach to benefit your players, too
Troy Calhoun, the head football coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy, on helping young athletes learn, improve and savor competing
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