The Basics of Youth Basketball Coaching

October 11, 2016

Todd Grant

It all starts on the court in youth basketball for a lot of players. The lessons they learn here will stay with them throughout their entire basketball career, whether it is just on the street, in school or in the pros.


Youth basketball coaching is the point where talent is first recognized, but it is also the place where teamwork and team-play take precedence over all else.


The Kids Want to Play

First and foremost, you may or may not have great potential players on your team. If you only have five or six players for the entire season, getting them in the game won't be to difficult, but if you are near a large city with 20 or 30 kids coming to play, you are going to have to make some tough decisions. The kids all want to play, good or bad, and you are going to have to let them do just that—win, lose or draw.

You may be able to favor some of the kids if they genuinely show some serious talent. You don't want to quash their hopes by not allowing them to show their stuff, but this is youth basketball first and foremost. It's important to always make a concerted effort to let everyone play, even if you have to sit some of your best players.


Parents Know Best

One of the hardest aspects of coaching youth basketball is dealing with the parents. Every parent thinks their daughter or son is the best and they want to see them in every play of every game. While that is never going to practical, be prepared that you may have to stand firm with some parents.

As we all know, parents know best, but that isn't necessarily true on the basketball court. You, as the coach, know best. You have to be understanding, yet judicious in making sure that team parents understand that you are the parent on the court and what you say, goes. Typically, this shouldn't be that big of a deal if there are a limited number of kids are on the team, but the more kids that are there, the higher the chance of conflict between you and team parents. Just remember to stand your ground and lead by example for both your team members and their parents.


To Win or Not To Win

In youth basketball, playing means far more than winning. Rather, giving everyone a chance to play means more than anything else. Sure, everyone still wants win. After all, basketball is competitive, and winning is a part of that competition. However, in youth basketball, winning ranks lowest on the priorities list.

The highest priority for coaching any sport is ensuring that every member of your team has fun while learning the basic skills of their sport. Even if the kids don't win a single game but learn how to pass correctly, dribble without looking at the ball or even making a proper free throw, that's a victory in itself, and it's those victories that should be celebrated just as much as any win.


Every youth basketball team will have fun at SquadLocker picking out their basketball team gear. As a coach, you can set up a store, upload your team logo and invite the parents to participate. SquadLocker has everything you'll you need to outfit your youth basketball team from jerseys to shoes and everything in between, just by logging in on your computer, laptop or smartphone. So team up with SquadLocker for the best in youth basketball gear.

Subscribe to the Squad Blog

Join our squad in getting weekly updates on the most helpful content for your youth teams, sports clubs, students, and more.