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.
And watch the shots start dropping.
Employ these six methods with your team to help young athletes remain calm, focused and centered
WNBA great Tangela Smith recalls how important those encouraging words from coaches and teammates were during her playing days – and reminds today’s youth coaches of how influential the rights words can be for kids
Ryan Harris, Super Bowl champion and author of Mindset for Mastery, on inspiring young athletes to believe in themselves and compete with confidence
Having a game day routine to call upon can help young athletes become more consistent and confident performers