For young players, the thought of intense hard training can be overwhelming. Most coaches, parents, and trainers will tell players that they have to enjoy the grind, the sweat and pain that comes with success. This is a true statement, but what most forget is that it's a process. First and foremost, young players must enjoy the game. This doesn’t mean players won’t work hard or learn, it just means as teachers we must find a happy medium that will allow players to reach their full potential. Let's take a look at 4 ways to keep training unique and fun for players of all ages!
1. Try Something New
One thing I’ve found while training players is that sometimes I get stuck in a box myself. To learn and teach something new is challenging and sometimes frustrating. This can make teachers gravitate towards teaching only what they are comfortable with. Teaching the things I did as a player is easy for me because I lived it on the court. Teaching things that were challenging but would have been beneficial to me is easier said than done! Teachers must desire growth and must want to learn themselves. The game of basketball is evolving every year. Coaches and trainers need to stay up to date or it's very easy to be left in the dust knowledge wise.
My advice for training is to try and incorporate new drills and skills where they fit. Jump online and visit resources like us at Dr. Dish Basketball to see how to teach new moves or new ways to motivate players. Remember, it’s impossible to help a player reach their full potential if you limit them and force them to only do things the way you think are right. No two players are the same and players don’t always learn the same way. It’s ok to try something new with players and never do it again. It’s all a learning process and the only way to know if it works or not is to learn it and try it!
2. Set Achievable Goals
Setting achievable goals is very important in every player's journey to success. Naturally as human beings we want to obtain goals and reach that euphoric feeling of accomplishing something that others cannot. These types of goals can include making it to the NBA/WNBA, NCAA, winning a championship or being the MVP of their team. While all these are great, they are not immediate goals that can be obtained and they are goals that many players never reach. This doesn’t mean we don’t set them but what we also need to do is set goals that are focused within a more narrow timeframe.
A great place to set every day goals is with competitions and challenges at practice. Having players work towards short term goals in practice will help keep them motivated and get a taste of success when they achieve them. Short term goals will boost players confidence and the desire for them to want to achieve more.
3. Positive Reinforcement
Kids these days need positive reinforcement more than ever. I personally believe that positive criticism and correction are still possible but they have to be approached in a different way now. Long gone are the days of truly belittling players to motivate them or severely punishing them because of a shortcoming. What players need today, is criticism that's motivating and positive! Players also need their coaches to show they care and also are excited when the player achieves certain goals. It’s a complete mind shift for more old school coaches but the rewards are unending.
Challenging players in practice or training is a great way to get them out of their comfort zone. Allowing them to work through mistakes to a certain degree is also beneficial. Before that ultimate level of frustration kicks in it’s important for coaches/trainers to insert themselves in a positive way. Give feedback, let the player know you see slight improvements and make sure they know they have the capabilities to accomplish the drill, skill or goal in sight. Doing all these things will keep training competitive, fun and also keep the environment safe for all parties.
4. Game-Like Training
Game-like training is another great way to keep practices fresh, fun and competitive. Players love to learn and compete in drills that translate to games. Not every drill will be an exact replica of the game, but concepts, ideas and situations will be. Not only does game-like training keep practices competitive, it also teaches and prepares players properly. Training tools like Dr. Dish shooting machines will help take your training and practices to another level with efficient and purposeful training.
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