Basketball Coaching can involve such as wide and diverse demographic that sometimes the needs of individuals, like veterans, can be lost in the overall strategy of the sport. Basketball because of its semi-contact and dual gender nature is an example of a sport that can be played by an individual even when they would have to leave other collision-based sports behind. Visit a Masters Games and see that basketball even at the highest age brackets, is alive and well.
While the sport and rules remain the same the act of basketball coaching can be something very different and there are some specific differences between coaching junior athletes to coaching veterans of the hardwood.
Working with Adults
When basketball coaching juniors there is a certain style of coaching that can develop where training sessions are driven by the coach and directives come only from this opinion. This however is different when undertaking basketball coaching with veterans. Adults especially ones with a long affiliation with the sport will have ideas and experience very valid to many of the situations commonly found in team sports. Coaching in these situations needs to be more collaborative, with a coaches role while still one of advice, but coming from more of a facilitator perspective then being a keeper of the knowledge.
Asking for input and feedback will help when basketball coaching in determining what is working, what is effective and are the players understanding the message being sent.
Pre Existing Medical Conditions
One of the first discussions a basketball coach should have with their players (not matter the age) before commencing coaching is to ask of any pre-existing medical conditions. Some conditions will be obvious, as a coach you will be able to see the knee braces, tape, and see players applying the liniment to previously injured areas. Prior to the start of a training session, maybe speak the players individually about these injuries and just see their nature and how the individual manages them.
Because of the nature of playing a team sport, people might feel as though they are letting down the team if they cannot do certain activities. Therefore, it is best to also address this issue during the discussion about medical conditions. Players especially early on and when the coach is still unfamiliar with each individual, might need special consideration for things such as rest or limitations in certain activities.
It is not usual for veterans of basketball once moving out of regular junior competitions to take part in sport sporadically. When it is time for basketball coaching to start help players to ease into strenuous activity by ensuring sessions are planned and cover a full range of technical and tactical aspects. Just allowing a team to play five on five is not the ideal…
Warm-up and Cool Down
Every player usually finds the tedious side of sport such as preparing their bodies for activity, one of the more unfavourable aspects of training. Ensure though that a full warm-up and cool-down is put in place when implementing a training session the same as when developing a session for any other age group.
Stretching, both dynamic and static have a place within a training session and both should be utilised to help improve the body’s ability to deal with intense activity.
Dehydration should always be of concern when basketball coaching. Not all players (including juniors) always prepare they bodies the best for training sessions, games or tournaments by fuelling themselves in the lead up to events appropriately. Provide advice and information to players on what types of fluids and foods help best in dealing with activity such as basketball.
Ensure when coaching veterans to allow for breaks during practice so there is an opportunity to take fluids on board and also rest momentarily.
Cumulative effect of Fatigue
As players reach the age brackets considered veterans they will start to reduce in ability to recover as fast when exposed to successive fatiguing experiences. This effect is mostly commonly seen in tournament play where teams have to play multiple games each day or over consecutive days. When basketball coaching in these situations with veterans ensure as much as possible that recovery becomes a focus of team talks. Including activities within the schedule like team walks to start each day to help bodies loosen up and stretching sessions can really help.
If there is an injury, ensure the appropriate medical advice is sought and assistance found. Players at all age groups occasionally need a coach to take the lead on these matters.
Coaching veteran players is different to coaching junior teams, and there is differences between coaching in a different level of competition to another. All of these differences though when basketball coaching often come back to the type of relationship developed between a coach and an athlete. Taking the time to learn about each individual and developing a repour will help in overcoming many issues to do more so with personalities then any real challenges in the sport.