If your kids are aspiring NBA stars, you know what basketball means to them.
But what’s your role in supporting a youth player? How can you help them play to their full potential?
Whether you’ve played the game before or not, here are 6 secrets to being an awesome basketball parent.
As an aspiring athlete, the more seriously you take the sport, the sweeter your wins are. But at the same time, failures taste much more bitter.
Kids need parents who can provide that extra level of emotional support as they begin their basketball career. There’s so much already going on in the average kid’s life with school/homework, and playing competitive basketball can add an extra level of stress.
Your job is not only to congratulate your child when they achieve their goals (without inflating their ego too much!) but also to allow them to vent when things don’t go their way.
It’s crucial to attend as many games as possible, especially for kids under the age of 12. At this stage, children look to their parents for guidance, and seeing you in support will go a long way in helping their confidence.
Your kid doesn’t have an agent – not yet at least!
Whether you’ve played basketball before or not, it’s still your job as a parent to provide advice where needed.
It’s not enough to just support the decisions they make. As a parent, you have the power to take a step back, and look at the bigger picture. You might be able to help your son or daughter make a better decision about which team to play on, which position to play, or what skills to focus on in the off-season.
Remember though, your kid needs to be able to control their own destiny. While you can provide advice, if you take complete control, it gets much easier for your child to become frustrated and demotivated, especially if they disagree with you.
Even for parents whose kids don’t play basketball, it can feel like you’re a full-time taxi service a lot of the time.
If your kids take their basketball seriously, you’ll not only have to get them to games and practice, but also potentially to tryouts and training camps as well.
However, you also want to give your kids the opportunity to practice on their own, if at all possible.
If you don’t have a park with a decent half-court near you, it’s always possible to put a freestanding portable hoop in the yard or on the driveway. Simply pack it away when winter rolls around, unless you have the space and sunshine to keep it up all year round.
No matter what sports your kids play, you don’t want to be the crazy soccer mom.
Never shout at anyone on the court, especially not the refs, and don’t coach your kids from the sidelines. Not only is doing this extremely embarrassing for your kid, it can also make them want to stop playing basketball.
Remember, your kids should have their own motivation to play the sports that they do. Otherwise, they won’t have any enthusiasm for the game.
This is why parents are often told to focus on their kids’ enjoyment of the sport, rather than winning, especially for younger players.
Believe it or not, your child will have a much easier time on and off the court if you’re able to maintain good relationships with the key people in their team – especially the coach.
This isn’t just about coaches picking players whose parents are nice to them.
By keeping in constant contact, you can learn an incredible amount about where your kid might be able to improve their game. Often, some information isn’t shared with the player directly. You might find out for example what type of team the coach wants to build, and where he sees your kid fitting in.
Surprisingly, this applies to everyone – from parents whose kids are starting their first season, to college-level athletes.
Also, if you don’t have much of a basketballing background, but show that you care about the sport (and your child’s participation), you should be able to learn a lot from their coach about the game, and how the high school/college sports system works as your kid grows older.
If your kids are really talented, and want to one day play in the NBA, the logical reaction to this as a parent might be “but what if it doesn’t work out?”.
This is a perfectly reasonable response, because the truth is that the majority of kids don’t make it to the big league.
However, you obviously can’t crush your kid’s hopes and dreams like that. Doing so will crush their confidence – not just in sport, but in their studies and other interests as well.
Your job is to maintain the balancing act. It’s by no means easy!
Just remember, basketball has a whole heap of other benefits apart from the possibility of going pro. It enables your child to develop their teamwork and communication skills, allows them to learn about the importance of hard work and dedication, and last but not least, gives them the chance to burn off all their excess energy.
Very interesting article about why using physical punishments like running sprints or doing push-ups may not be the best way to improve the performance of our athletes. Check it out and see if you agree or disagree…
If you are a coach at any level you’ll benefit from reading this article and thinking about the type of feedback you provide to your players. You’ll learn which type of feedback is most valuable and which type is mostly just talk. If you want to understand your the impact of your feedback take two minutes to read this article and then think about how you are talking to your players.
Leadership is a quality that is often easy to recognize, but harder to define. What are some characteristics that make you a great leader?
This is where it all starts. You must be one of the hardest workers on your team. This is the best and quickest way to enhance your credibility with your teammates and coaches. If you don’t work hard no one is following you anywhere!
You truly must not care who scores, who plays the most minutes, or who gets the credit. You must be willing to sacrifice for the good of your team. Not many players can honestly say, “The team comes first.”
Your enthusiasm and passion for the game should be evident to anyone who watches you practice or play a game. Your energy level should boost your teammates’ performance. Any team environment you are in is better because of the spirit you bring to it.
Great leaders are willing to take risks. Increased risk means more chances for mistakes. Growth and improvement come from making mistakes, admitting the mistake, and then learning from the mistake. To become a great leader you must apply this thought process on the court and in the locker room.
Learn to be resilient and bounce back quickly after mistakes. Don’t turn one mistake into two by sulking or pouting. Be the tough player that your teammates look to in the face of adversity. When things go bad they look to you because you are able to handle the pressure. Leaders want the ball in their hands when the game is on the line. Don’t be afraid to fail in clutch situations, instead look at clutch situations as an opportunity you have been given to show how your preparation and hard work has paid off. If you do fail, be prepared to accept the responsibility and look forward to being successful next time.
Who are you when no one is watching? Are you the same player, do you give the same effort as when the coach has his eye on you? Great leaders don’t allow any slippage regardless of whether a coach is watching or not.
Leadership is all about relationships. You can’t lead anyone if you don’t have a relationship first. Get to know everyone on your team. You may spend more time with your best friends or players in the same grade as you, but make a strong effort to get to know each and every member of your team. A quick conversation before or after practice can go a long way towards strengthening the bonds between you and your teammates that will pay off as the season unfolds.
Do you always have your hand out looking for someone to give you more? Or are you the player looking for ways to give more to your team?
Always look for teammates who are doing the right thing to help your team. Praise a teammate for their hard work in a drill, for making a great pass, for being resilient when mistakes occur, or getting an A on a test. We all do better when our tanks are filled with specific and truthful praise. Recognize the actions and attitudes you want to see repeated.
Every day you make choices. Do yours lead to success or failure? Do you drink a Coke or water? Do you study for a test or play video games? Do shoot free throws before practice or work on your half-court shots? Are you polite or do you treat others disrespectfully? Each individual action may not seem significant, but collectively your choices will add up to success or add up to failure.
Be the player that everyone hates to go against in practice. Your teammates should know you are coming at them every day. Encourage them to do the same for you and for each other. Good leaders consistently inspire others to reach a level that they didn’t think was possible.
Your teammates have issues just like you: school, romance, family, a shooting slump, etc. Good leaders are always watching for teammates they can offer to support. If you’ve built a relationship, they’ll appreciate when you reach out to them when they are struggling.
Anybody can complain. Players do it all the time. They complain about the coach and the bad decisions he makes. They complain about teammates who play ahead of them or make a crucial mistake. They complain about practice. Be a leader who looks for solutions to these problems instead of fueling the fire by joining in with the complainers.
Find out what your coach needs from you and then try your best to deliver. What are the coach’s objectives for the day’s practice? How can you help achieve those objectives?
The hard work that is required of you and your teammates on a daily basis is an investment that will pay off over the course of the season. That may be tough for everyone to see during a particularly tough practice or during a losing streak, but leaders help the team keep their eyes on the prize.
Everywhere you go people are making judgements about you, your team, your family, your school, and your community based on your actions and appearance. Go the extra mile to practice good sportsmanship, be polite, treat everyone with respect, take care of your facilities, and demonstrate what kind of person you are. Leaders make those around them proud!
Teams with great leadership are often the most successful. Are you willing to do what it takes to become a leader on your team?
If you have ever played sports you have had disappointments. I know that I have losses in my playing and coaching career that stick with me to this very day. Only one team each year gets to end their season with a win. With the Final Four upon us I think this article will touch a nerve and inspire players, coaches, and parents to keep striving to be their best despite the near certainty that you will experience disappointment along the way.