Years ago

What makes a good club for juniors?

I am trying to understand what makes a good club for juniors and so am seeking sensible feedback from this forum as to what people see as being things to achieve, as well as things to avoid. There are a few issues with the club my children are associated with and I believe that there is a big gap between the ideal and the actual at that club.

It seems that coaching standard and behaviour is the underlying issue, but would appreciate feedback on what other people think are key factors to focus on as well as avoid.

The club shall remain nameless as I don't want this post to degrade into a slagging match.

Topic #28603 | Report this topic

Happy Days  
Years ago

Start fom the top and work your way down.Good President and strong board with basketball and business acumen.Then appoint a Director of Coaching. Doesnt have to be ex NBL but somebody who has coached juniors at a high level and has the appropriate accreditations.Needs to put in place a vision as to where the club is wanting to go and then get people who buy into the vision. Need everybody pushing in the one direction and if there are people who dont buy in, its time to move them on.

Reply #367870 | Report this post

Years ago

My child started at one club and it was a disaster! There was a lot of favouritism at the club with some very strange team placement decisions. One boy who was a Div 3 standard at best was playing Div 1 because they wanted his sister to play Div 1 and there were "transport issues" if he didn't play Div 1. One boy was dropped from Div 1 to make room for another who couldn't do a left handed layup. Some coaches were fine, but then others had no idea on how to talk to children. My son's best friend was playing at a different club and we moved - best decision we made. The difference in clubs was the coaches and how they treated the kids.

Reply #367874 | Report this post

Years ago

depends what you want.

I took my kids to my former junior club as it was reasonably close and i felt the right thing to do loyalty wise.

My how times change........

it was a waste of time - absolute backyard set up.

Shifted and have not looked back.

Reply #367876 | Report this post

Years ago

(Mod: Didn't read the bit about keeping club identities out of it?)

Reply #367882 | Report this post

Years ago

There were a number of issues at our former club and it all revolved around how the kids were treated and spoken to. At the kid's current club, there are a number of teachers in the coaching staff who have experience in child pyschology. Yelling at a kid and telling them they are useless is not productive. Providing feedback in a manner than inspires the child to aim for their dreams is.

It all gets down to having good coaches who understand how a kid thinks and having good, transparent policies in place that place kids fairly in teams.

Reply #367883 | Report this post

Years ago

(Mod: Didn't read the bit about keeping club identities out of it?)

Reply #367884 | Report this post

Years ago

this really depends on so many things - are you wanting div 1 or div 5 run around with your mates stuff ?

do you want interstate tourneys ? or local stuff ?

all of this playing someone in D1 so it is easier for the better player's family - welcome to the world !

more deals are done than willy wonka

Reply #367893 | Report this post

Years ago

Good Communication is crucial. Respectful and timely approaches to Committee or Coaches should be welcomed.

Coaches for kids need to be a balance coaching, personality management and being friendly (not necessarily friendship).

As a club there needs to be an even handed approach to evaluating and placing kids. And the ability to admit and make right mistakes.

And the same rules for everyone.

Reply #367900 | Report this post

Years ago

Please try to follow the OP's lead in leaving club names out of it. There's a discussion worth having in there if you can collectively stop it getting petty.

Reply #367901 | Report this post

Years ago

Depends on what is important to you.

Reply #367904 | Report this post

Years ago

Same standards for everyone - too much double/triple/quadruple/quintuple standards goes on.
Everyone should be treated the same - not by who you are, where you live, where you're from, whether you're friendly with em, etc

Reply #367907 | Report this post

Jack Toft  
Years ago

My daughter Emily loved her coaches when she was playing juniors. Clear direction, clear instructions, emphasis on teamwork, constructive feedback offered in a manner that made them want to improve. Making kids do suicides because they lost? I've heard of that, but never seen it.

Reply #367908 | Report this post

Happy Days  
Years ago

I think its important to work out what the make up is of the team. i coach a group of 13 year old boys and they love push ups and suicide runs.They understand what the expectations are and that is to go out there and give 100 per cent.They do that and the coach is happy win or lose.

Reply #367912 | Report this post

Years ago

you are not suppose to be using the term "suicide" any more they are called california's was in the old days and now they are called that again.
Political correctness I know

Reply #367920 | Report this post

Hopscotch 40  
Years ago

I think a good starting point is to find out how a club manages conflict or behaviour issues. Every club has them and they all have a similar code of conduct for Coaches, Parents and Players.
Ask around and find out which clubs will respectfully try to enforce this code, so there can be a way for all parties to remain involved within the club.
Those who play favourites will most likely avoid this process and ignore their conduct code.
There are plenty of examples both current and from previous seasons which should give you a good idea of which clubs care for all people regardless of grades abilities.
Our family transferred from our local club for similar reasons a while ago and have happily survived the move.
Good Luck

Reply #367941 | Report this post

Years ago

Its fascinating that often (not always) the complaints about coach feedback often come from parents that place amazingly, unreasonable expectations and pressure on their own children.

Quite often these parents seem to want to be overly involved in their children such as coaching them from the sidelines, putting down other players in the team, being overly negative about coaches with their kids, believing their kid has a god given right to be placed in the highest team, get the most court time and never receive constructive feedback.

Fascinatingly quite often when these families move clubs they either comeback and/or leave the sport because miraculously the same issues seem to follow them. Perhaps some naval gazing is needed by these folks.

Having said that a club that values positive coaching and feedback but also has the right mechanisms in place to handle conflict, which is inevitable in ALL clubs, is vital.

Reply #367944 | Report this post

Years ago

I am the OP. There has been some great comments here and great feedback.
So far, some good comments, so my summary thus far.
* Start with the President and Committee and have a stable environment off court.
* Have a Coaching Director who is accredited with experience in coaching teams.
* Have a business plan that communicates the club direction and expectations.
* Don't play favourites and be open and fair with selection policy. Even handed approach to evaluating and placing kids
* Treat kids in a manner that fosters self-esteem.
* This varies from kid to kid (aka Situational Leadership)
* Accept that "dodgy deals" will occur
* Good Communication
* Conflict resolution policy
* Coaches for kids need to be a balance coaching, personality management and being friendly (not necessarily friendship). (Q Is Facebook friending appropriate?)
* Have same standards for everyone - avoid double/triple/quadruple/quintuple standards.
* Everyone should be treated the same - not by who you are, where you live, where you're from, whether you're friendly with em, etc

944, I assume you are an active coach? Sounds like you have had problems with managing parents in the past? What do you see as the best way to manage parents?

Reply #367959 | Report this post

Years ago

OP. Further to your summary I think FB friends is fine. But maintaining an observational approach.

By not commenting on posts unless specific to the team/club - like we won etc, or directly asked something!

I've found it a positive tool to encourage and get information out. It is amazing how kids remember a reminder to play/train etc that is on FB.

Reply #367968 | Report this post

Years ago

SMA, Facebook has it's usefulness and there is a fine line that must be walked.

Reply #367972 | Report this post

Years ago

You need to look at the club and it beliefs. Depends on what age bracket but I would look at the current age group and then the next two age groups up. What do the clubs coaches focus on and how players are managed. Lower age brackets should be skill based training with some game development understanding more spacing/defence. As the they get into the older age brackets skill base training remains with some game plan developments depending on grade being played of course. Above all you must be comfortable with the club you choose and dont be afraid to move if what is promised does not equate to reality.

Reply #367981 | Report this post

Years ago

A few thoughts based on my personal experience:

At a domestic level, growing up, I played for a junior club who was money hungry and poorly run- terrible coaches, 12 players in one team (remember it's domestic level at this point) whilst others had 6, atrocious uniforms. I had enough after half a season so with support and help of parents (POINT 1 for a good junior club- SUPPORTIVE PARENTS) with some friends made our own team and we stayed together as a team all through high school- had a parent coach (POINT 2- a COACH who knows what they are doing and has good teaching skills)got awesome uniforms (POINT 3- LOOKING THE PART) done up and won way more games and had way more fun than the club team did. Since then, my son did the same thing, started at a club, it was poorly run so I said to him to get some friends together and make a team, this is their 5th year together, we have awesome uniforms (for the big clubs out there and maybe even ba- believe it or not there are companies out there who sponsor sports teams)- home and away (remember we are a "domestic" team). We have a massive winning record over the years which is good but the one thing that each boy says that keeps them coming back is the team spirit and playing with mates (POINT 5- MOST OF ALL- ENJOYMENT/CAMARADERIE). Pleasingly of the 8 boys, over these 5 years, 6 have played (starting 5) at district level as well, which shows you don't need to be at a "club" to be able to play and learn the game well- just need the right environment and the right people, even a team of friends can do!

Reply #367991 | Report this post

Years ago

Tyrell to be brutally honest your experience doesn't motivate me and wouldn't motivate many high achievers, with a vision and passion for being committed to something and sharing the experience of this qualities with likeminded individuals. All power to you though.

Reply #367992 | Report this post

Years ago

I can tell you what DOESN'T make a good club based on the absolute basket case of a club I know

o Team placements that are not consistent and not transparent
o "Try outs" that are a complete joke. Teams have already been decided before the day.
o No feedback from previous season's coaches used when placing players in teams.
o No formal assessment of players used in placement process.
o Favouritism to certain players
o Personal attacks on parents by the CD when he is asked a simple question.
o No follow through on promises made to inspire players.
o Too much focus on height, not skills or fitness
o Inconsistent in approach to managing kids
o Favouritism to kids moving from other clubs - need to one up to attract then to the club.
o Kids placed in teams higher than their ability in order to keep their siblings in other teams.
o If you can't commit to both seasons, then shouldn’t play Div 1, yet one season players actively sought for short term gain.
o No rotations due to performances. Teams are set.
o Mum complains so "little Johnny" gets a rotation in Div 1 to shut her up.
o Focus on some kids, not others
o Pigeon holing of kids. "I don't rate him"
o Pre-conceived ideas on kids – no open mind, can’t see the best in kids.
o No comraderie in teams
o Too much variation in teams from season to season
o Favouritism to one season country players
o Country players that don’t come to trainings, yet are starting in Div 1
o Parents who don’t contribute to the club on committees or volunteer
o Financial burdon due to reduced fees to favoured kids
o Kids who suck the club dry for their own benefit then pull out after Nationals
o Kids who only play one season
o Kids selected in Div 1 because they go to a certain school
o Bias against local players who are there for the long term
o Poor Discipline
o No consequences for training non-attendances
o Too many hollow promises to try to keep kids playing
o Group punishments when the same players give lip all the time
o Div 1 coaches that don't turn up to all trainings
o Div 1 coaches that turn up to Sunday trainings hung over
o Lack of constructive, positive feedback to kids
o Coaches that talk poorly to kids and put them down
o Coaches verbally abusing kids
o Coaches over-reacting to parents and then form long term resentment
o General Play style changes too often (one season it's dribble drive, then it's something else in winter, then something again)
o Club play style that encourages bag hogs
o No focus on teamwork – focus is on players getting to next level such as SASI to boost the ego of the CD.
o No clear instructions from coaches to players
o No winning culture at the club
o No individual plans for kids to development them - no feedback
o CD who prefers email communications due to his poor inter-personal skills
o Too many players on a team – 10 and 11 is too much.
o Dumb coaching style – not methodical
o Have a coaches handbook, but it is not used
o Difference in coaching styles between boys and girls
o Emphasis needs to be on playing rules, not playing set plays
o Good clubs tend to keep kids together as a team more
o Good clubs worry about the team first, then the player
o Good clubs rotate players if required based on performance.
o Bad club: once team is set for season, that’s it
o A significantly lower turnover at the “better” clubs.
o Higher comraderie at better clubs
o Better clubs have a winning attitude
o Always looking for “next big thing” - "He's gunna be massive"
o Always focusing on next season, not current season.
o Always making excuses why teams don’t win “they’re a young developing team”
o Group Punishments when the same players always muck around
o Coaches and CD Swearing at players
o Patronising tone to players by Coaches and CD
o Coaching Director who tells a 12 yo girl she would be a good basketballer if "she lost a bit of weight" (Why am I surprised she stopped playing and 4 of her friends stopped playing)
o Coaching Director who tells a team after a game that they are "useless, and an embarrassment to the Club"
o Coaching Director who tells a team after a game they "would be better off if they had stayed in the carpark"
o Coaching Director who is insecure and who tells a parent to "F&^% Off" when a coach has asked for their assistance.
o Coaching Director who drops a starting PG from Div 1 to Div 2 to make way for "the next big thing", or for the "next big thing" to drop out after a few games.
o Personal attack on one child because they have a school commitment and cant play a tournament, yet one of the favoured kids misses the same tournament to go paint balling for their birthday.
o Player promised a Div 1 spot because he is such a good player, then can't play summer so when he returns for winter, is offered a Div 3 spot.

Sound like a good club to be associated with?

This club has a long line of past players who have no time for the club and have had the passion for the game sucked out of them. This club should be a force in the local competition, but with all these issues, no wonder they are always struggling, have kids moving to other clubs, have coaches moving to other clubs, brag about kids going to college yet can't get into finals, and are constantly looking for new players to fill the voids created by their own ineptitude.

Reply #370239 | Report this post

Years ago

lol....hmmmm that could be any club, but yes it sounds very familiar.

Reply #370408 | Report this post

Years ago

fantastic post sums it up really well

Reply #370534 | Report this post

Years ago

omg that is what i have seen over the last 10 years of my kids playing that could be the majority of clubs but i doubt theres a club thats not doing any of that anyway

Reply #370570 | Report this post

Years ago

My kid's at her 3rd club and now playing youth league. Reckon it's been a pretty similar story for us at all the club's she's been at.

Reply #370586 | Report this post

Years ago

Great post summarizing most clubs at some stage!!

Had a classic situation where 2 of our best U18 girls was denied Senior Div 1 games by a mother (manager) and coach (best friend). Told they had to EARN their spot by sitting on the bench in street clothes - even though they'd played 1/2 the games the season before as fill ins.

The club had brought in 3 adult women who lived 50 km away so never trained following pre season. And needless to say the manageresses daughter (lazy, unskilled) got starters role. Even though she trained 3 times for the season and turned up drunk to several games - possibly playing better.

When confronted about the situation (privately) they said if they didn't like it the girls could go elsewhere! When we tried to get a clearance they refused saying it wasn't the clubs interests to clear junior players to other senior teams?

Reply #370601 | Report this post

Jack Toft  
Years ago

I think that could be horror stories at every club.

Reply #370602 | Report this post

Almost impossible to give a definitive answer to this question because every junior is different (as are their parents!) so what is right for one may not be right for another. A quick cynical answer based on playing and coaching experience of 40 years would be "it is the club that believes your child is the reincarnation of MJ and leaves them on the court for major minutes". Consider a refs decision in a tense, close match. Half the stadium will applaud the accuracy of the decision, the other half will boo the stupidity and incompetence of that same ref. Same ref, same situation, same decision, two distinctly different reactions. Who is right? Go to any club and chances are you will get the same number of opinions about the merits of the club depending on which child/parent you happen to sit next to.
If you are only interested in your child for this particular season then the single biggest determinant of whether this club will be a good fit for your child will be the coach. Children remain remarkably and blissfully unaware of the competence of the general manager, president, etc. The biggest concern is their immediate surroundings (team, coach etc.)
If you consider coaching juniors as being similar to teaching, it is widely accepted that "children learn teachers, not subjects" In other words, whilst other things such as facilities, culture etc have some influence, the single most important thing about a child's education is the teacher standing in front of the class. If you accept that, then the obvious extension to that is that the single most important decision when selecting a club is the coach your child is likely to have.

Reply #370646 | Report this post

Years ago

In reply to comments from 646 one still must look at what the club has to offer in the long term. While you may consider the coaching side of your childs development you must remember coaches are only a short term solution.What do you do when your child gets a different coach next year or season?.

Reply #370653 | Report this post

Years ago

I think I know the club 959 was talking about and I think I know who 944 is and the problems he caused. If it is the same guy, since he reduced his involvement in the juniors, there has been a lot better feeling at the club and some former players have returned.

Reply #409791 | Report this post

Years ago

I like the idea of being a club person but my experience has been going to the club because of the coach that will look after the needs of my children. Ie if my child is a post player i do not want them to stand set screens for other players then get the rebound and kick it out. as a post player i do not want them doing suicides with smaller players and punished because they where in the last few.
i check the coach out before hand and then go.
If not happy no problems go to an other club with different coach. do not hang around a club hoping things will get better, do what is best for your child.

Reply #409809 | Report this post

Years ago

Got lucky with the club my girl is at. Nearly started at another club but by pure luck am so blessed to be where we are. Yes there are issues -all based on parent perceptions. Yes there are biased decisions but isolated and doesn't really affect the end results. So lucky to have the coaches we have - and there is a lot of competition to get the coaching job. So lucky to have top parents, some of whom have played the game at the top levels. But I would move in a minute if I thought that the environment changed to such an extent that the basketball welfare of my kid was compromised. I don't expect it to though. But I know which clubs I would go to at this point in time if required.
Have really focused on how the other clubs are managed / coached. Definitely wouldn't have my kid at a particular club because of their coaching style / manner, no matter how successful they have been.
Do the homework. Go to training. Watch the games. Talk to parents. Look at the teams in the years above also. See who the coaches are and how long they have been there. Your gut feel after that will probably be right.

Reply #409815 | Report this post

Years ago

Great to hear you're club has worked out for you. Which one?

Reply #409823 | Report this post

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