- Practices aren’t age appropriate
Generally speaking, basketball players should be coached on their stage all, not their age. After all not all 10-year-olds are equal. However, drills and concepts must be physically, mentally and emotionally age appropriate for proper progress and development. At the youngest of ages many coaches put too much emphasis on live 5-on-5 instead of skill development and small-sided games.
- Practices aren’t purposeful
Many youth coaches make the error of falling in to one of two categories:
- Drills have too much flash and not enough substance (‘circus act’)
- Drills have minimal transfer to game play (3-man weave, etc.)
Coaches end up managing drills instead of teaching skills.
- Practices aren’t fun
The #1 reason young kids should play basketball is for fun! They should enjoy the game and science has proven that most people (kids and adults) are the happiest when they are growing and improving. So teaching players the proper fundamentals and staying focused on their development is vital to their enjoyment. That coupled with drills that are engaging and appropriately challenging and competitive will help them have more fun!
- Practices are designed for winning
Winning should not be the focal point of youth basketball. Consistent development and using the game as a platform to teach life lessons should be. Focusing on winning stunts the growth of 99% players, 99% of the time (purely my opinion). Coaches end up teaching young players how to run plays instead of how to play.