There are many characteristics that make a great coach: patience, a sense of humor, charisma, the list goes on.  But of all the attributes of a great coach, there are seven essential traits no youth basketball coach can succeed without:

1. Passion. We want players to learn to love basketball. By bringing enthusiasm for the game and for the opportunity to play with each other, the coach makes an unforgettable experience that will keep players coming back for more.

2. Healthy Communication. Coaches need to interact with players and parents with patience, compassion, respect, and an open mind. Their listening skills and ability to communicate rules and discipline with empathy is essential to positive player conduct. Remember: when players understand why a rule is a rule, they are much more likely to remember and follow it.

3. Positive Leadership. The coach is responsible for a positive experience in the context of a safe and fun class. They need to demonstrate confidence and communicate positivity through both body and verbal language to accomplish these goals in a short amount of time.

4. Basketball IQ. Basketball IQ is applied knowledge. Coaches need to go beyond the measurable attributes of knowing rules and drills and teach strategic, big-picture thinking like how and when to use skills in live situations. A good coach ties the drill being practiced to its game application so the players develop their Basketball IQ.

5. High Energy. It is said that one should only teach what one knows. How can you teach a sport if you don’t show the energy necessary in athletics? Coaches should do what they can to demonstrate the importance of fitness and a healthy lifestyle to a players’ success on and off the court.

6. Continuing Development. A good coach will always strive for improvement and continue developing their skills throughout their career. This can be accomplished by reading online resources, taking continuing education courses and certifications like the Alley Oop Coaching Certification Workshops. Most importantly, it is accomplished by trying new things and keeping basketball fun for both coach and player.

7. Involvement. A great coach is involved with each of their players and works with them individually and as a team to support their basketball endeavors. This means paying attention to personal development throughout the season, and giving individual feedback so each player knows how important their role is — regardless of their skill level.

At Alley Oop, we make sure our coaches have a strong foundation in all these areas before they can join our team. We run 1 & 2-day workshops to help new coaches learn how to develop these skills, and we offer an apprenticeship for continued education. Learn more at How It Works to get involved!