A strong high school basketball coach is one who teaches his or her team how to play and then allows that teaching to manifest itself on game day through the players on the court. Waking up before school is the first start to conditioning, followed by staying later for after-school practice, and working out during off days. These are all normal and expected from younger basketball players. These activities prepare a youth athlete to perform his or her best when the lights come on.

In today’s high-pressure world of high school sports, a lot of things have changed. Many younger athletes choose to play because of a desire for a scholarship or full ride to college. Coaches place more of a value on their ability to change lives rather than just teach a sport. However, some coaches, though not a majority of them, tend to place an unrealistic amount of pressure on winning and can lose sight of the more important things.

This different style of high school basketball created changes all around, the biggest change being in the world of coaching. Some coaches, unfortunately, have trouble discerning teaching from controlling the game and their players. By doing this, they may lose a sense of trust among their players. Rather than teaching them crucial skills and talents needed to thrive on the court, some coaches try to control every aspect of the game and expect their players to follow suit.

This is not a healthy way to coach nor is it conducive to get the best out of younger athletes, especially those in high school. Some of the negative results of this coaching include the following:

  • Players quitting or never even considering joining the team in the first place.
  • Parents unhappy and intervening.
  • Low scores and low quality of play.
  • High coaching turnover resulting in schools never getting the consistency they need to find success.
  • Students no longer enjoying the game they grew up to love.

High school sports should be home to an environment in which kids are taught the importance of teamwork and are given experience working with coaches and teachers, all while having fun. Youth basketball should be more than just wins, losses, and a steady source of income for staff members. It should foster education and give younger individuals the tools they need to succeed both on and off the court. A strong basketball program can serve as a foundation for success for young athletes all over the world.