Years ago

Advice for this particular issue

I was assigned to coach Under 16 boys this year which I have done before (as an assistant though) and by the end of the season I just felt like I didn't get the best out of some of them.

I know my basketball and I know how to teach skills, that is not the problem.

What can you do when there is a player (or players) who have potential, but just refuse to work hard at training, listen to the coach or take drills seriously and perform skills to the best of their ability?

I gave them punishments, benched them and constantly pulled them aside to talk to them, yet nothing every really changed.

As the old saying goes, you can take a horse to water but you can't force it to drink. Is it my fault if a player does not want to work hard, listen to me and try their best?

What is my role here? Do I keep pushing to find ways for them to work harder, or just give up and accept that sometimes it comes down to their attitude and goals?

Perhaps I didn't discipline them enough throughout the year? I am of the opinion that I can't force them to do anything, I can only give advice and encouragement which I thought I did a good job of.

Let me know if you guys think different! Any advice and opinions are much appreciated

Topic #32420 | Report this topic

Years ago

I would talk to their parents and encourage them that they have potential but need to make a decision about becoming an ok player or a great player.

The choice is ultimately the kids

Reply #432763 | Report this post

Years ago

Damian, you have described several negative ways of trying to get them to perform. Perhaps try encouragement a little more often, show them you are interested in them enjoying their basketball....

Reply #432765 | Report this post

Jack Toft  
Years ago

Aaah, the player(s) with the "lack of motivation"!

First of all, managing players is just like managing staff at work. If you don't have any (in) sub-ordinates at work, fear not, Dr Jack is here to help.

Self esteem is #1. If you tell someone they are useless and expect them to be motivated as a result, well choose another way to motivate people, particularly kids. I have seen coaches put kids down expecting them to think "I'll prove him wrong, I'll show him I am a good player!" Instead, it actually works the other way, players just think, "what a tosser". Therefore, "Maintain and enhance self esteem"
#2. Listen and respond with empathy. Communication is a two way street
#3. Ask for help in solving the problem.

When seeking to improve performance;

1. Describe the issue in a friendly way, what concerns you, and the standard you expect as a leader.
2. Ask for help in solving the problem.
3. Discuss causes for why the issue arose.
4. Identify and write down possible solutions.
5. Decide on a specific action to be taken.
6. Agree on a followup date and time.

It's a pretty simple formula, and you'll find it will work.

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Years ago

Good advice Jack

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El Diablo  
Years ago

DON'T touch them or I will call a Current Affair

Reply #432780 | Report this post

Years ago

its tough and all kids are different.

these days kids don't like to do the so called basics they look for short cuts its hard to be demanding and positive at the same time...

I dare say u are a coach in your early 20s?

Reply #432786 | Report this post

Years ago

as a fellow young coach I can see how it can be challenging

1) u come down too hard and players hate u/lose interest

2) u be too soft they think ur their mate

its really hard as u have to be consistent same rules for all playersand all season long. brett brown summed up why pop is so respected and successful in one word. .. accountability
he has the same expectations in game 6 of nba playoffs he does in reg season. .. This is tough as a new/young coach and is something im battling with while developing my coaching style

Reply #432796 | Report this post

Years ago

Yeah early 20's.

Thanks for the advice Jack.

Next season (especially early on) should I think about benching players if I am not happy with their attitude, work ethic and ability to listen to me?

That way I can send a message right from the start and it will let them know how serious I am. Or is this too harsh?

I know of other coaches who do it and it appears to be effective.

Reply #432798 | Report this post

Years ago

I'd make a team captain that gets respected by all the team and get them to try and fire them up, try and get these underperformers to keep up with your captain and maybe push-ups as my only punishment but for the whole team to do!

I wouldn't bench them and destroy team morale and I would encourage the team when their performances lift ie. don't single them out but recognize everyone as a team and when the team work together then positivity should be enforced.

Good luck to your team

Reply #432801 | Report this post

Years ago

Accountability is a key factor, you want to have players working towards goals/outcomes. Players should be competing for positions or court time in a positive way. Never play them off against each other (eg don't say why can't you just do what bob does) but offer players rewards/acknowledgement when deserved KIDS love recognition, address the positive results they are achieving to get them on board and reaffirm that through practice and effort they will get the same results in area needing development.

Coaching is an art form and you can't rest on your ability you need to remember your practicing too, read, listen, watch other coaches and try new things, always change it up.

Reply #432803 | Report this post

Years ago

Hey Jack you should coach

Reply #432806 | Report this post

Years ago

Simple really. Lay down the rules. Train hard or go home.

Reply #432809 | Report this post

Jack Toft  
Years ago

A set of agreed team rules is always handy as it defines the boundaries. Remember that U16's are basically year 8 and 9's, usually midway through puberty. Year 8's have made the transition from primary school to high school and are seeking to assert themselves and push boundaries and show the world they are not some kid.

If you do bench for a breach of team rules, explain to the player why. I have seen too many dumb coaches bench a kid, not explain and when the kid asks "why? what did I do wrong?" the response is "well, when you have worked it out, you tell me"

A sense of belonging is important to most and the military do it well by instilling a sense of teamwork and being part of and contributing to something. Never underestimate the power of peer pressure to conform to a set of group rules.

Reply #432815 | Report this post

Years ago

I have coached a U18 foorball team previously and a couple of things come to mind.

Have mutual respect. You as the coach is a leader, but kids dont want to be dictated to. Respect the player and ask for it in return.

If the respect is there, then you can speak honestly, and you know that what is said is in the best interests of the team, or the development of the player.

You need to set very clear standards for the group early on, and if a player isnt working to reach those standards, a one on one two way chat explaining that the individual isnt getting the best out of themself is required.

Always put a positive spin on the chat. You are a very talented player, but continuos improvement will not just happen, you need to work harder at training, set an example for some of the kids that dont have your talent etc etc

Reply #433012 | Report this post

dane suttle  
Years ago

I also Coach and U16 Rep team in Melbourne and in a previous life was a full time Tennis coach. That's the hardest boys age group to mentor/coach!
I never use and form of physical exercise as punishment, eg. running suicides or doing pushups etc. You want kids to like working on their fitness, not seeing it as a punishment for behavioral issues. Talking to the parents about their boys potential is a great idea. I also find court time is the a valuable tool to get the most out of many players.
good luck

Reply #433019 | Report this post


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