How to become a basketball coach

Basketball is one of the popular games around the world, and many countries have been producing great players through stable youth platforms in their respective countries. Since many people in the world love this game, so the need for efficient coaches has always been higher. It needs persistence and dedication to become a basketball coach. The path to becoming a basketball coach has not been so easy. But if you work hard and determined then someday, you might find yourself coaching in the NBA. Through this article, you will know about different steps and processes of becoming a basketball coach. Let’s dive in!

For more information you can also check How to Shoot a Basketball.

1. Study the game

Watch a lot of basketball game to get familiar with it

The first and foremost thing about becoming a basketball coach is that you need to study the game. If you want to be a coach of this prestigious game, then you need to consider the game like a coach does. You need to pay your attention carefully to how the coaches manage the clocks, make substitutes, and call for time outs. Professional coaches know very well how to manage all these at the same time in a game. By observing what they are doing, you can learn a lot of things.

  • From the coaching perspective, you can start to study the game by observing school and college-level basketball games. NBA games rely more on the decisions and actions of different individual players, whereas coaches have a few impacts on the games if you compare with school and college teams. 

  • Usually, the NBA seasons run from October to May, and on the other hand, schools and college level basketballs November to March. 

  • You probably have noticed before that coaches are on their feet, making calls and shouting for instructions in the game. Professional coaches need to be an active person, and they can hardly sit down during the game.

Note down essential decisions that coaches make during any game

Keep your eyes when timeouts and substitutions are called and try to find out why coaches make the decisions. While coaches choose to apply any interesting tactics, then note it down also. You will see that coaches try to take an extra advantage by using quicker and shorter players if the opponents are slow. You will even notice that coaches fill up the gaps of a team’s skill set by utilizing an expert player at a particular time of the game. Usually, we see that defensive players, point shooters, and free throw players play in the vital junction of the court where they needed the most.

Research different offensive and defensive strategies

The primary language of basketball includes some defensive and offensive schemes like – 2-3 zone of the motion offense. You can start learning the primary language before moving to more advanced strategies like – triangle offense or full-court defense. It is essentials for you to get accustomed to some general offensive and defensive forms. For defensive schemes, you will need to get familiar with 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone defenses. On the other hand, for offensive, you need to learn the motion offense. It is a standard scheme that uses the player’s movement to create an opening for the shooters. No need to worry about which coaching strategies you are going to pick now. Many big coaching decisions depend on your players.  Before choosing your strategy, you need to wait until you are aware of the skill sets and temperament of your players.

Buy a specialized clipboard to formulate your strategy

Buy a whiteboard and draw a basketball court over there by using a permanent marker. Then use the whiteboard to draw different circles where you want your players to move. Then you can examine how your players move the ball or become open with different designs. In your drawing, add some of the defenders of your team and then do mind mapping how your players will move according to your team’s movement. 

  • Designing and implementing a game strategy is an integral part of your coaching. If your team can play according to your design and strategy, then you can become a successful coach. 

  • When you design offensive plays, then you should think about the spacing. The nearer and closer your multiple defenders will be, the closer the players are to each other.

  • You need to give some extra effort for the first set of plays. That’s pretty fine. Every efficient basketball coach began somewhere.

Take advice from experienced coaches on how you can start

There is nothing wrong if you can take some tips from experienced coaches. They are capable of explaining to you how to assign portions, set rotations, and select offensive and defensive schemes. Each coach has his philosophy of maintaining a team, and you can get much advice from different coaches from different perspectives. You can see the experienced coaches what method they have used before in their coaching career or if they could give you some suggestions on how to get started. 

  • Before and after the game, you can see many coaches gang around near the courts. Be friendly and polite to them as you will ask them how you can start your coaching career. You can check the different online forums to get in touch with them. 

  • Coaches enjoy giving advice, and they will be happy to provide you with some feedback.

2. Finding your coaching position

Look for volunteering opportunities

Most of the professional coaches started their coaching career as a volunteer. At the initial stage, it would be improbable that you are paid without any experience. You should be open to grab any volunteer coaching positions. Most of the coaching positions are part-time, and it means when you will start getting paid, you might want to hold on to your regular job.

Check coaching opportunities online

You can search for local job postings and different web portals to check out if anyone is looking for a basketball coach. Presumably, you might not apply for the higher level coaching positions, but that’s OK. Apply for those positions that will match your potentials and experiences. To find potential openings, networking with like-minded people is essential. Even if you don’t get any call for an interview you can ask the hiring manager if they can give you some information about similar positions that will fit with your level of experience.

Ask the local school or recreational center if they need a coach

It has seen before that the youth league sometimes struggles to find a regular basketball coach. Some of the youth league may also offer such type of opportunity, and you need to make sure that you will have ample time to commit to a youth league. 

  • Most of the coaching positions of youth league require a background profile check. You need to prepare all your documents and papers before signing in with any youth team. 

  • Sometimes the local recreation center, YWCA, YMCA, requires coaching assistants as a volunteer, and you can also grab the opportunities to gain more experience.

  • High schools often have coaching vacancies, but they usually look for experienced coaches. If you don’t have a strong background, it might be challenging to get such jobs.

Don’t get disheartened and keep looking for new opportunities

Almost everyone in life has experienced rejections while trying to get a job. Don’t feel low if you have such kind of situation. If finding a coaching position seems like an overwhelming process, then take a break and start it again. And remember to apply for the desired coaching positions at the right time because coaching positions are usually open before the season begins.

3. Working with the players

Introduce yourself to the players and know your players

If you have decided to become a professional basketball coach, then you need to gain the trust of the players as quickly as possible. You need to be honest and clear about your goals, availability, and philosophy of coaching. Be clear about your planning, but at the same time, be open to accepting any kind of suggestions. Basketball players love to work with a coach if they realize that their coach is fair and invested his time to get the best out of the players. Your team will be depending on you for your guidance, so be honest to them while playing the role of a coach. You can create a credo or team chant. This will be a great way to build rapport quickly on your very first day.

Adjust your complexity level

If you become a coach of the elementary school level, then try to lay-off the full court plays. On the other hand, if you a coach of older players, then they may like a higher level of complexity or intensity. You also have to know the goals of the teams of different levels, like – most cases, younger players like to have fun while playing basketball; they just enjoy the game, whereas the older players play to win. So arrange your plans and goals based on the player’s demand. If you see the slow progress to adopt changes, then it’s likely that you expect too much from your players.

Be consistent while setting your expectation

People do respect and respond to consistency and perseverance. This is very important for you because you will be in charge of the team. If you give your players a proper direction and be consistent with them, then you will become a productive leader of the team. During the practice session, keep your whiteboard with you always, and it will help you to note down about what happens in the practice session, and you can track the player’s long term trends. Don’t be late in any game or practice.

Provide positive and meaningful feedback

Basketball is a competitive game, and as a coach, you should focus only on the positive things, and that will encourage the players to grow. You may not like about what happens at certain times, but like a good coach, your focus should be to highlight the positive things of the players, even if there is not much to praise. Every player tries to improve their performance, and if you don’t find anything to compliment, then encourage them by mentioning how hard they are working. Mutual understanding is essential in coaching. Try to inspire your players and ask them how they feel. Ask them, “how may I help you to improve? “And this will work for them.

Show your players what to do instead of discussing it

Be an active coach. Demonstrate the players practically how they should move through the game instead of explaining them verbally. Many of the players learn by observing and seeing, so if you show your player by motion, then that can be very helpful for them. 

4. Develop your craft

Grow your coaching style over time by considering what works

You can improve when you can be able to adapt your practices to your players. Make your practice session useful and modify them as per the need of your team. If you don’t see any improvements among your players, you can change the format of your practice. After examining any idea you will get to know if you are moving to the right direction or not. If any method doesn’t work, then you can change it to identify the problem.

Reflect on how you can make progress and seek feedback

You can ask other experienced coaches about how you can improve. Set specific goals and examine how you are doing. When things are not working as per the plan, then a good coach always adapts with the situation and seeks feedback. Consider the feedback from your players carefully. The players might see things that you don’t see during any game or practice session.

Attend basketball coaching training and camps to learn new things

You need to be a good student if you want to be a good coach. Read as many books as you can regarding basketball coaching and attend several training programs that teach a coach how to improve. If you can improve your skill as a coach, then you can develop a superstar team.

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