Basketball on the Edge – My Son Did Not Start Today by Chris Fore

Bench Players

Chris Fore shares a great message to parents in this article. As long as you are fine with what happens, your child will be fine with it. Here are some points Chris makes in the article.

If you’re teaching your kids all along the way that the TEAM > i, then when he doesn’t start, it won’t be a big deal.

If you’re teaching your kid to shake the coach’s hand, and say thank you after every single practice and game, he will have a healthy respect for his coach; it won’t matter when he doesn’t start.

If you teach your kid that every single person has a role to play on a team, starting at a young age, then it won’t be a big deal when he doesn’t start.

If you teach your kid to “just play hard and have fun,” then it won’t be a big deal when he doesn’t start.

If you use teachable moments while watching the NFL to teach your child that you don’t always get what you want, it won’t be a big deal when he doesn’t start.

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Basketball on the Edge – The Perfect Coach – Vintage Edition

Coach 2

As a youth basketball parent it is very important for you to choose the right program or coach for your young player. There will be no greater factor in your child’s development as a basketball player. What should you be looking for in a coach or their program? Read more about choosing the right program here and what a youth basketball practice should look like here. These two articles should give you a great starting point for making a decision about who should be coaching your young player.

Once you have selected the coach, you (and your young player) may come to realize that your coach is not perfect. How do you help your young player make the most of their opportunities despite the perceived “faults” of the coach?

The first thing to remember is that the “perfect” coach does not exist. Every player that has ever played the game has at one time or another disagreed with their coach. Michael Jordan resisted Phil Jackson’s Triangle Offense at first. Of course, Jackson was unproven at the time, but he turned out to be a pretty good coach. He has won 11 NBA Championships! There are players that play for Mike Krzyzewski at Duke or John Calipari at Kentucky that don’t think their coaches know everything or make all the right decisions. These are coaches that win consistently without fail. There is a good chance they know what they’re doing and yet their own players still feel like these coaches make mistakes in strategy, skill development, or playing time.

As a youth basketball parent you may question some of the coach’s decisions. Unless your concern relates to the safety of the players you should keep it to yourself. The coach is in a much better (and unbiased) position to make decisions regarding the team than you are.

What advice should you give your young player when they disagree with a decision made by their coach?

First of all, make sure they know they are not alone. You can cite the examples above to help them understand that even the players who play for the best coaches in the world sometimes disagree with their coach. When I was in college, I disagreed with a personnel decision my coaches made during my junior season. I felt the decision cost my team the opportunity to win more games. I talked about it with teammates, questioned it in my head, but I never let a poor attitude or poor body language sabotage me, my coach, or my team. Disagreements are a natural part of the coach-player relationship. If your child has a high basketball IQ and knows the game well it is very likely that they may disagree with the coach from time to time. It is critical to handle those disagreements either in a private conversation with the coach or for your young player to keep their thoughts to themselves. Poor body language, eye rolling or not doing what you are asked to do are great ways to anger a coach and put yourself in the doghouse.

Second, great coaches often do things differently. That is what makes them great. They may run a unique offensive system or create unusual drills. The coach may establish their winning culture in ways that can seem strange at first glance. Help your young player learn to deal with and appreciate those differences rather than complain about them.

Third, smart players don’t spend time worrying about things they cannot control. Remember, every player has dealt with this issue. Teach your young player to control their attitude, effort, hustle, and preparation. Time wasted on complaining is time that could be spent getting better or making a positive contribution to the team. So they disagree with their coach? He or she doesn’t do everything exactly the way your young player would? Help them shake it off and reemphasize the things they can control. Teammates often get caught up in the cycle of questioning the coach. Every player and team does a certain amount of talking (complaining?) about their coach. It is the nature of the game. On the best teams that kind of talk is quickly put aside and the focus is shifted back to what we as players can do to help our team be successful.

Fourth, as a parent, if you are always saying “If only the coach would do this…or not do that” it rubs off on your young player and they may start making excuses rather than looking for solutions. Help your young player look for ways to improve their game rather than placing the blame on the coach. You can’t “improve” your coach other than by getting better and helping your team to win more games.

Rather than bemoaning the fact that your coach isn’t perfect, look for ways you can improve as a player. Be about solutions not excuses!

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Basketball on the Edge – How can your body language hold you back? by CorrectMyPlay.com

Bad Body Language

Why is body language important? How can it impact your success as a player? Why do coaches care about it? This article and the accompanying video of UConn Women’s Coach Geno Auriemma clearly explain the importance of body language and why players should be mindful of the messages their body language is sending.

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Basketball on the Edge – What are You Willing to Sacrifice? – Vintage Edition

Lunge

Let’s say you are the parent of an outstanding youth basketball player, male or female. Let’s say that you are trying to determine their potential in the game. What will ultimately determine whether they succeed or fail in their quest to become an elite high school, college, or pro player? Talent obviously plays a role. Each of our genetic profiles is different. Some of us max out in high school, others in college, and then you have those athletes that reach the professional key to reaching those levels and elite athletes grind it out day after day to give themselves a great shot at success.

There is one additional factor that is often overlooked, the player’s willingness to sacrifice. A player that is not willing to sacrifice something, or more likely many somethings, is unlikely to make it big in the game of basketball, or any sport. Great athletes sacrifice on a daily basis. They are committed to their craft and are willing to set aside pleasure or comfort while others are not. This willingness to sacrifice for the sake of one’s improvement as a player is what helps to separate “players” from those that merely play the game.

As a long time basketball coach and skills trainer I have seen all types of players with varying levels of talent and genetics. Let’s not be naïve and suggest that any one factor determines whether or not a player reaches his or her potential. There are many factors that go into whether a player achieves their goals, but the willingness to sacrifice is crucial.

Is a player willing to go to the gym and gets shots up during a hot summer afternoon when their friends are at the pool? Is a player willing to get up before school and work on their ballhandling in the basement? Is a player ready to up games when their friends are hanging out at parties? Is a player willing to eat right, stay away from drugs and alcohol, and condition their body to be an outstanding player? If they are willing to do these things it’s a great sign that they might be on the path to success.

When we watch college or professional basketball on tv or in person we tend to gloss over the hours and hours of practice time that these players have put in. The vast majority of that time has come when the cameras were off and nobody else was there. They were willing to push themselves beyond where they thought they could go. I preach to all the players I work with about the need to get out of their comfort zone. Being great requires being uncomfortable. If a player is unwilling to push through those barriers and sacrifice their comfort they won’t develop the skill set necessary to reach their potential.

Players willing to sacrifice get in one more rep, sprint the floor one more time, take one more shot, train just a little longer than those players who don’t. These players give up time with their family and friends to pursue their dream of being great. Most players aren’t willing to make that sacrifice. On the night of my senior prom I was playing pick-up basketball at a local college gym. Would most players have made that sacrifice? I don’t think so. Great players make their game a priority and are willing to forgo experiences that most people would not. They know that this kind of sacrifice is what sets them apart and makes them a success. For most players this kind of sacrifice is uncomfortable, maybe even strange. Why miss out on a fun event like the prom? Great players make this sacrifice willingly because their success depends on it.

Most players tend to choose the easiest path. They put in the required time and not much beyond that. When things get tough they are ok to walk away. The harder you work, the harder it is to walk away. As parents we often try to make our child’s path easier, after all that is part of our job isn’t it? In some cases yes, but in others we need to step back and let our kids struggle. Don’t intervene when their playing time is lost or they have a bad game. Let them figure out what types of sacrifices they have to make to rectify their predicament. Great players embrace the struggle and sacrifice. They don’t look for excuses or for someone else to bail them out. Instead, they put their head down and get back to work.

“The true vision of a champion is someone bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when no one else is watching.”

“Winning means you’re willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else.”

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

Are you willing to make the sacrifice to be great?

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Basketball on the Edge – Beware of Empty Stats by Adam Finkelstein

Empty Stats

Growing up, my Dad always talked to me about playing a good “floor” game. What he meant was that I could impact the game in more ways than just scoring. A great performance isn’t always measured in point totals. This article points out the need for players and parents to keep in mind that coaches and scouts are looking for players who can impact winning and not just put up empty stats.

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