What Makes A Good Basketball Coach?

NCAA Basketball Steve O Speak

Coaching can be one of those thankless jobs where you are only as good as your last game. Your effectiveness is nearly always judged by something that is very often totally out of your control. Many great basketball coaches do the same things and share a similar skill set. 


Here are seven practices you can implement to become a better coach.

Make sure your team has the right attitude

Sportsmanship comes first

Demand that your players have good manners and treat you and others with respect. This can be reinforced during practices to ensure they act correctly during games. Your players must greet the officials and opposing coaches, shake their hands firmly while making eye contact. Opposing players can be greeted with a high five.

The team before individuals

Great coaches foster teamwork, and it is essential that regardless of their skill levels, no player thinks he or she is more important than the overall good of the group. Players need to learn to be selfless and work together towards a higher goal.

Encourage a positive attitude

Foster an attitude that when life (or basketball) throws you lemons, you make lemonade. Basketball is not always a fair sport unless you are a fortunate coach, your players will encounter an obstacle that is just bigger, faster and stronger. The best way to tackle this is to use humour.

Treat your players with respect

Your players will act as they see their coach acting. If you don’t treat them with respect, how can you possibly expect them to act any differently? You are a role model for them; in some cases, the only positive role model player may have, act like one. Treat the officials and opposition with the respect that they deserve. This does not mean you need to be soft, if someone disrespects you, stand up for yourself.

Encourage players to invest in themselves

A great coach understands that their players need to practice as much as possible to master the skills needed to become better players. A number of different skills need to be mastered to take a player’s game to the next level of the game, dribbling, shooting, running, passing and jumping are considered the core skills. Encourage your players to have a hoop to practice with at home. However, the quality of this hoop is of vital importance. Only the best hoops on the market are capable of replicating real game scenarios. That is why you have to advise your players to do some research and read more about the best hoops on the market, before making any decision. Remember, choosing the right hoop will give your players the ability to practice on a daily basis and accelerate the pace at which improve their skills.

Choose the right coaching philosophy

One of the critical characteristics of a successful coach is his or her coaching philosophy.. The first thing you need to do is lighten up. It is unlikely that you will ever be involved in game seven of the NBA playoffs or an Olympic Gold medal match. The vast majority of the Basketball playing world will most likely never even know you exist. Never lose sight of the fact that players play basketball first and foremost to have fun. They do it because they love the sport. Allowing a team to work some things out for themselves will only strengthen their bond and ultimately make them stronger.

Keep open lines of communication

Players need to know they have a voice and will be listened to. Have a team meeting every week and keep your analysis focused on the positives of the training session and games. It is crucial that goals are clearly defined and structured in a fashion that every player can understand. When you need to point something out to a player or the team, do so in a style, such as “build, break, build”. This strategy can be more effective than just telling them they need to improve something. A better approach is first to point out something positive they are doing. Next, talk about an area that needs improvement, then give them some things to work on, while repeating the positive to finish.

Become a student of the game

To become a great coach, you need to understand the game; this cannot be achieved without some work. Nearly every coach in the NBA hall of fame has written a book about their experience and philosophy, and it is always an excellent idea to study more and watch more games to improve your coaching technique.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

There will be occasions when you feel overwhelmed by specific tasks, and it is perfectly normal. There are a number of organizations that you can join to help learn more about your trade. A few hours spent online every week will improve both your and your teams’ prospects exponentially

Practice as you mean to play

Regardless of the level you are coaching at, your team must practice in a manner that will prepare them for real game situations. There is an approach to coaching called “compete to learn”. Let your players imitate real game situations while they practice. Build drill around cases that you have observed your team struggling with in the past to ensure they will be better prepared in the future.


To become a truly great coach, you need to transform your vision into reality. Understanding that lasting, effective change will have to happen in increments. The process of building a great team is nearly always about learning to maximize the resources available to you, using your creativity, courage, determination, will, and energy to succeed.

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