New Job Title: Coach!

As a shop teacher, I love to teach students to work with their hands in a variety of materials to metal, glass, or plastic. It is akin to manual labor but much more fun. The kids like exploring possibilities and can get very inventive. My goal is to engage youth in creative activities that will serve them throughout their lives. If they can learn how to fix a car engine or install lighting, it will be useful now and when they grow up. Mastering a bit of carpentry and woodworking will help them remodel a home. It is wonderful to be self-sufficient and not depend on others.

Now, however, I am going in a new direction. I am still a shop teacher, but also have a new title as “Coach.” I have volunteered to run a kid’s basketball team and teach them the basics as part of a community outreach program, especially how to win. I know every member is there for that purpose; they are incredibly competitive. My weekends are preoccupied for a while. Meanwhile I am developing my own guide for others on how to coach for parents, based on my own experience and this web site; I won’t always be around.

Let me start with an elementary school age team. Under twelve, the concepts are different. At this age, let the kids run and run and shoot and shoot. It will be great exercise and conditioning and blow off some steam. It is too early to teach plays and sophisticated strategies until a few years later. You can assess the right time as you observe your team members. The point of this approach is to run the other team to the ground. It takes energy and perseverance. It is not the quality of the shots, but the quantity at this tender age. It is all about “run and fun” so make it enjoyable so they will want to participate.

When they are teens, you can start teaching strategies like screens, pick and roll, passing and dribbling. Winning comes from developing skills. Hopefully, they enjoy the game enough that they want to learn harder techniques that take a lot of practice. They have to be really committed to basketball to undertake an intense process.

Dads can motivate any age according to their parental experience. If your son is on the team, first and foremost, make the kid the shooter. Ha ha! It’s the last thing you want to do, but it would make him super happy. Whatever age you coach, start the team out with a few warmups like they do in football. It will loosen up the muscles and get the kids in the mood. Stretching and reaching are great as fundamentals and add to them as you wish. There are many good suggestions with illustrations online. You might want to create a little booklet for them to take home to show their parents. It is important to get them involved and come to practice and competitive games.

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