Basketball, Uncategorized

Motivating and Inspiring Your Basketball Team

Every basketball team deals with highs and lows throughout the season, but it’s the motivation from the coach that helps pull each player up when they need it. Every coach is different in their approach to motivating and inspiring their players. While some stick to traditional methods, others use an outside-the-box approach to effectively motivate their team. The following are just some of the ways you as a coach can motivate and inspire your athletes.

Productive Discipline

The best way to enforce good discipline throughout the team is to remain calm, create consequences and be consistent with discipline. Discipline starts by establishing a strong philosophy and culture with your players and their parents at the beginning of the season. It allows them to know the expectations and sets the tone for the rest of the season.

The Positive Coaching Alliance suggests coaches use a three-pronged approach to discipline. They recommend reinforcing good behavior, ignoring the behavior you don’t want and if needed, intervening with a ‘least attention’ manner. When a player misbehaves, it is more effective to ignore the player and their actions entirely.  As a coach, ignoring a player will make them crave attention, and they will often go back to following the previously established rules.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement, or simply praise, is always welcomed no matter what was done to deserve it. As a coach, you should be praising and congratulating your players for their successes, as well as their defeats. Simple words of encouragement and praise will give players the boosts they need to finish a game or practice harder. Positive reinforcement does not just have to come from a coach. Encourage your players to praise each other for great work on the court. Not only does it help to create a positive environment on the court, but it also helps foster a stronger team mentality.

Be Honest

While your players might not want to hear what you have to say, they need to listen to the truth and will ultimately respect you in the long run when you are honest with them. Letting a player know that he or she might have decreased responsibility during the season will not only allow you to be open with them, it will also help them stay motivated when they do see playing time on the court, essentially lighting a fire in those that truly want bigger roles.

While these are just a few ideas to motivate your team, sometimes stepping outside of the traditional motivational box will help inspire your team in a variety of ways.

Coaching, Sports, Uncategorized

Managing Anxiety in Youth Athletes

Anxiety is common in young adults, and many teenagers experience anxiety on a daily basis. The thought of keeping up with grades and dealing with peer pressure on a regular basis can be quite stressful. However, young adults who compete regularly in sports may find themselves more stressed out than those who do not compete.

It is common for young athletes to stress themselves out before competing in an event. Pre-competition anxiety can stem from a lot of different areas and can ultimately affect the way they perform in their games. Here are some techniques that your student athletes can practice to alleviate this anxiety, and ways to help them improve their focus when it comes time to compete.


One of the best ways for teens to calm themselves down if they are experiencing anxiety before a big game is to practice meditation. This ancient technique has been scientifically proven to help people relax and re-focus their attention from negative thoughts to positive ones. Encourage your students to practice meditation before they play in a big game for optimal stress-relieving effects.

Face Your Fears

Young athletes oftentimes have irrational fears about competing. They fear losing and rejection is a common problem that many athletes will face. It is important as a coach to help them remove the fear that they experience from their minds to improve their focus. One of the best ways to accomplish this task is to make your students face their fears. This means having them play as many games as possible in skirmishes to get them to become comfortable with the thought of losing. Remind them that losing is simply an opportunity to improve and that it should not always be seen as a negative thing. Changing perspectives is key to overcome anxiety and improve their confidence as an athlete.

Nearly everyone in society experiences anxiety at some point or another in their daily lives. While some may experience it more than others, it can be debilitating if it is not taken care of. Fortunately, these two techniques will help condition your students for greatness and shape their minds to resemble that of an all-star athlete. Understanding where anxiety comes from is key to ensuring that your young athlete faces the problem head-on and develops into a better person because of it.


Easy Ways to Improve Your Ball Handling Skills

Originally published on

Becoming a proficient basketball player requires time dedicated to practice. That is no secret and should not be news to anyone. Developing basic skills and fundamentals is the foundation of a talented basketball player, and ball handling is one of the most important.

Dribbling and ball handling are two of the most basic skills needed in order to successfully perform the others within the sport. Basketball is a fast-paced game with various situations that require players to protect, pass, and shoot the ball efficiently. Poor handling skills will only result in turnovers and missed opportunities. In order to avoid this, the following are just some of many ways players can improve their dribbling and ball handling.

Fingertip Exercises

Dribbling involves controlling the ball with your fingers, pads, and palms of your hands. Your fingertips come into play when you are getting ready to shoot or dribbling on the run. Therefore, drills and exercises involving this dribbling strategy are highly effective in developing players’ overall ball handling. Try those that incorporate quick movements with quick dribbling. This will help players grow more comfortable when driving to the basket, passing through open lanes, and preparing for open shots.

Dribble Stronger

Simply dribbling the ball harder forces it to return to your hand faster, which, in turn, gives you more control. This is also essential in learning how to dribble while keeping one’s head up. Players cannot effectively play the court if they are constantly looking down at the ball. Dribbling stronger and pushing the ball down with more force allows it to return quickly, allowing players to keep their eyes forward.

Dribble Low

A similar principle to dribbling harder, dribbling at a lower position limits the area in which the ball can move, allowing for more control. Apply this strategy on the court, and opponents will have a much harder time trying to steal the ball away. Drills that incorporate low dribbling can not only develop better ball handling skills, but also the ability to go from stand-still positions to short bursts of speed.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Repetition breeds success. As we all know, practice makes perfect. Performing these practices and exercises over and over again will only result in improved skills. No matter how basic the drill, have your players repeat these exercises for extended periods of time until they become second nature movements. Very rarely will flash on the court be an advantage over comfortability.