Years ago

Coaches: How to 'drop' a player?

I am a coach in Jr basketball, and have recently had to make some changes to my team. I really hate dropping kids. I know its all supposed to be part of the job, but i really stuggle with it, even after i have made all my justifications. How do other people go about doing this? Is there a way to do it without everyone feeling like crap afterwards?

Topic #25289 | Report this topic

get on the right page to start with - nobody has exclusive ownership of a spot and everyone is subject to scrutiny - including the coach.

depends if your team is performance based or social.

juniors will often reflect their parents response to it.

good players accept the challenge and bounce back - if they quit, go elsewhere or carry on - chances are it would have been the first bump in the road regardless of what it is - would have got the same reaction.

team selection is the coaches domain only - everything else is just opinion.

if I have moved a player down a grade - i ensure they get a starter spot in the other team and good minutes.

the kids read off you so if you make like an imposition - they will feel that.

sometimes the lower div team can be more enjoyable

Reply #313477 | Report this post

Years ago

"Gday little Johnny and little Johnny's parents, we really need to get you some more playing time because your skill level is excellent but your court awareness needs improvement. I want you to play in a lower division team where your good skills will give you an advantage and the chance to dominate the other kids. I will watch you games and talk with your new coach about your progress because you will be a good chance of playing in the high division team next season. But for now at least we need you to play as much game time as is possible to improve that court awareness. Let's set some goals to achieve in the lower division team and spend the upcoming season achieving them"

Always worked for me.

Reply #313480 | Report this post

Years ago

Good topic and two great responses already. Just imagining all the parents reading this thread... "Johnny, if he says anything about 'court awareness', I want you to tell me straight away and I'll kick his arse, OK?"

Reply #313482 | Report this post

Years ago

Mr M is right too. Most problems will come from parents who beleive their kid is the next phenom. When dealing with mums and dads like this I always used to pull out this one;

"Surely Johnny doesn't enjoy spending the game on the bench and only playing occasionally?"
"The coaches of the lower division teams specialise in developing skills whilst the coaches of the higher division teams use skilled players to carry out tactics to win, What your child requires is more development of skill not a greater understanding of tactics"
"We want Johnny to enjoy playing just as much as you do, you wouldn't pay the fees if he didn't enjoy playing would you?

Reply #313484 | Report this post

Years ago

Thanks for the quick responces, Im still very new to all of this. I'll definetly have to use some of those lines i think. Being tactful has never been a skill of mine

Reply #313485 | Report this post

Years ago

I'm somewhat of an expert at this issue I reckon, seen it from a players perspective and coaches perspective many times. Here are my tips...

1. If you make decision make it. don't pussy foot.
2. Consult with your inner circle, div 2 coach, assistant coach. Do it quickly. Don't let the player/parent find out by rumour or someone else.
3. for U12/U14 and U16 1st yr. Tell the parents first. Good parents understand movement happens, they understand rationale for these decisions even if they cannot agree with the decision. What they want to do is to help and prepare their child and protect them and this is what you want to so involve the parents!!! The parents need to be equipped to help their child. I give the parent no more than 6 hours notice and ask them if they want to be there when you speak the child,they know their child .
4. I prepare a quick letter with positive and constructive feedback in the letter. I go through the letter verbally with the child so if anything is misinterpreted by the player parents can see exactly what you said in writing.

Working with kids is a privilege and they all deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. Some of the bigger clubs treat kids like numbers and show no regard for them or their development because if that kid quits they got 10 other players waiting in the wings.

Reply #313486 | Report this post

Years ago

Unfortunately too many parents love to see their child in a uniform and love to socialise with the parents of the other kids on the team.
As a junior coach of some experience I make a guarantee, whoever the dominant player on your team is. Watch how the parents of the other less dominant players react to the parents of the dominant kid. They will dead set imitate them sometimes, it can be awfully sad, especially for the kid who rarely plays whose parents usually get ignored by the other parents.
Luckily the skills set of basketball lends itself well to several other sports; tall, athletic kids make good runners, swimmers, soccer goalies, afl players, rowers, water polo players.
I cannot remeber his name but there was a junior basketballer from my area some years ago that was the tallest and most dominant player in the State Team, he was also a good water polo player. He knocked back an AIS basketball scholorship, and ended up playing professional water polo in europe some years later.
My point is juniors should have a go at everything, and only get serious about a specific sport when puperty is well and truly over.
Too often with juniors, coaches interpret a more physically developed player as more skilled. With boys at least, the players who are dominating in the U16 and U18s are usually the ones who have finished developing physically first.
Ah well rant over

Reply #313487 | Report this post

Years ago

Was reading this one thinking we were talking social ball, and I was going to suggest that I have dropped quite a few players in my time!

Reply #313488 | Report this post

Jack Toft  
Years ago

There are some great responses.

My golden rules, be it at work, or at play when delivering "bad news", or discipline issues:

1. Maintain or enhance self esteem.
2. Listen and respond with empathy.
3. Ask for their help in solving the problem. (or in this case, ask them what they feel they need to work on to make it back to the higher side)

The big issue with all this is that the parents of the dropped kid tend to look at the rest of the team and say "my Little Johnny/Janey is better than x, y and z".

I think the worst thing for a coach to say is "if you work hard, you will break back into that side" when they know full well that this won't happen. I can't actually think of a time when a player from a higher team had been replaced mid-season. A BS sandwich is spotted pretty easily.

Unless there is a "pro/rel" system in place for players, don't yank their chain saying they could go up if as a Coach you know this not to be true.

Reply #313492 | Report this post

Years ago

Is someone going to forward this to Marty Clarke?

Reply #313498 | Report this post

Years ago

forward it? it's his thread Coach=Marty Clarke

Reply #313502 | Report this post

Juror 12  
Years ago

"Good practice, kids. Now it's time for the easiest part of any coach's job. The cuts. Although I wasn't able to cut everyone I wanted to, I have cut a lot of you. Wendell is cut. Rudy is cut. Janey, you're gone. Steven, I like your hustle. That's why it was so hard to cut you. Congratulations, the rest of you made the team! Except you, you and you."

Homer Simpson

Reply #313504 | Report this post

it also helps if the parents have not heard of hoops SA forum - !

Reply #313510 | Report this post

Mix Master Wipe  
Years ago

Tell them to watch Michael Jordans Playground.

'Even Michael Jordan got cut'

Reply #313512 | Report this post

Years ago

How about you just tell them why & then explain what they can do to improve on the why...

Reply #313527 | Report this post

Years ago

I have a question!Do you tell them at training, before you start or just after?
Also do you need to hide your car out of sight?How quick do the bomb squad come out??

Reply #313542 | Report this post

Years ago

A really good topic and some great advice.

Just remember, when the selection process starts, be up front and open to both players and parents that nothing is ever "concrete". "Don't delay, do it today" - make a decision and communicate it ASAP to both parents and players with a reason. They will not always like it, but you need to provide a reason - whether it playing time, skill development etc, and set some goals for them to achieve at that level so they know what is requiored in order to make the successfull and hopefully long term step back up in the future.

Reply #313558 | Report this post

state champ coach  
Years ago

if you are having difficulty with moving players you need to take the step in your own coaching development and don't feel bad but accept moving players is part of the process - and the players / parents need to accept that. Anything less than this means the persons involved do not have a true understanding of the systems we work under.

Reply #313569 | Report this post

Years ago

some good advice here, from a Parent and a coach's point of it's tricky. I had issue recently with a district U16's coach selecting my lad out of the group and saying "your on the other court".
Very poor form! no explanation.
He no longer plays for the club.
When I bought it up got the run around and BS! and I coach other grades at the same club.
Every time I have moved (I don't ever use the word "Dropped") I take them aside and explain why and what they need to work on. I also talk to the parents.

Reply #314254 | Report this post


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