Can sports be fun and serious simultaneously?

Fun and play are contentious topics in sports, as serious coaches, especially at younger age groups, believe that fun and seriousness are diametrically opposed. When forced to choose between two opposite, traditional coaches choose seriousness because sports are supposed to be serious, competitive endeavors. What? Sports are games. They are play. Why can’t fun and play be part of the sports experience, especially with young players? […]

The effect of mixed messages on player performance

Early in an u11 boys soccer tournament championship game, with his team trailing 1-0, a fullback went to take a goal kick. Up to this point, the goalie had taken the goal kicks, but he could not kick over the first line of defense, and the parents on the sideline near the goal kicks were anxious. The players sensed the anxiety and yelled at the biggest player, the fullback, to take the kick. […]

Coaching the individual: Contrast not compare

Contrast, don’t compare. When I speak to parents, this is one of the lessons that I share. Contrast your son or daughter from a previous moment of time until now to measure improvement and see how he or she is progressing, but do not compare your child to another child. Children develop and learn at different rates. Each child, each player is an individual, and should be treated as an individual. This is one of the most important lessons that I learned as a young coach from the HoopMasters director Jerome Green. […]

How do we develop talented players?

The NBA is not a development league; it is a competition, and most teams strive to win as many games as possible to reach the playoffs and ultimately win an NBA Championship. However, few players are finished products, and many players enter the NBA barely out of their teens, which means that continued player development is imperative for continued team success. Therefore, coaches not on the 76ers have a balancing act: Win games and develop young players to continue to win games.  […]