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What Parents Should Look For

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What Parents Should Look For In A Coach
by Sidney Goldstein

If you are not a basketball aficionado, you may find it difficult to judge whether or not your child's coach is doing a good job. Actually you may already have a good idea but do not have objective evaluation criteria. Here are several questions that will make your evaluation easier.

Is the coach overly preoccupied with winning?
Here are some indications: yelling a lot in practice; rampaging up and down on the sidelines during games; playing only the best players; needing to get players "up" for the game; giving speeches ending with the equivalent of "Let's do it for the Gipper"; emphasizing the importance of games to players.

Does the coach teach fundamentals?
Not providing each player a ball is a strong indication that the coach is not teaching fundamentals. Look at the way your child shoots, dribbles and so on. If the coach is working on fundamentals, there should be significant improvement over the season. Bad habits like dribbling with the head down and shooting from half court should disappear.

Does the coach keep all players involved most of the time at practice?
Are players too often waiting for the next person or group to finish? Does the coach plan practice? Does he or she follow a written practice plan? If not, your child is getting shortchanged.

Does the team play games in practice?
Games are the poorest, most ineffective way to teach basketball. Instead, the coach should work on individual skills and break the skills into learnable parts.

Does your coach condition players?
Your child should be tired at the end of practice, and not because of boredom. Your child should look healthier, be stronger and run faster.

Does your child know how to practice various skills?
Ask your child how the coach teaches shooting. Does the coach make players practice dribbling or pivoting? Again, ask your child how.

Does your child see self-improvement?
Ask, and if the answer is yes, ask in what ways. The more detailed the answer, the better. If you do not, or even if you do, like your child's answers you can get involved yourself.
Basketball is not that complicated. Some fundamental skills, like shooting and pivoting, are easy to practice, though often not easy to master.

Here are some actions you can take:
Rather than look for a book or video that simply drills players on the skills, look for one that breaks each skill into learnable parts. Check the library as well as the book store.Talk to other coaches. Ask specific questions like, "How do I teach dribbling?"Figure things out for yourself. The more basic the method, the more effective.
Your comments are welcome.


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by Sidney Goldstein

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