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Motivating Young Kids to Practice Basketball

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This is a guest post by my friend Lamar Hull of inspirationalbasketball.com who is dedicated to provide great content for young players, parents and coaches to improve in the game of basketball. Parents and coaches around the world face a great challenge in motivating young kids to continue training basketball for many years and Lamar shows us a proven way to do that. I hope you enjoy it:

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Playing sports is a terrific way to teach children so many life lessons. They learn teamwork, the value of hard work, the joy of winning, how to deal with defeat, confidence, and independence. Amazing how all of these things can be learned by playing a sport, but it does happen. The growth and development of each child is amazing to watch. The hard work of playing sports as a child may prove to be a benefit in the present and in the future.

Motivating young kids to play basketball and really enjoy the game can seem tricky. This is especially true if the child becomes bored too quickly, feels as though he/she cannot master the sport, or simply refuses to practice. The question becomes, how can the child be motivated?

According to Lamar Hull, as a parent, coach, or other adult in the child’s life, you want the child to succeed without seeming pushy. After all, most children do not respond to demands and pushiness. Plus, you want the child to have fun and really enjoy playing basketball.

For starters, express praise for the hard work and great job on the court. Children like to know that they are doing well. They want to impress their peers and the adults around them. Hearing “good job” or “ great work” and similar comments will help them realize that they are doing well. This is especially true when the child has really been working hard and practicing. The child needs to see that the practicing is paying off. This is what kept me going as a young kid. I started to perform better; I was being praised of my success, so this helped motivate me to continue to work hard when nobody was looking.

Support, encouragement, and the constant reminder that every player is important to the team’s success will help players realize that they are needed in order for the team to win. It also may encourage the hard work to reach the team’s goal. While this may help, there are more tips and pointers to keep kids enjoying the sport while teaching self-motivation.

Practice is important and vital to strengthening skills and becoming a better athlete, yet this is a difficult time to keep all of the players motivated and focused. There are some basketball drills that reinforce hard work, motivate players to participate, and encourage the players to focus. The following is a drill to consider during the next practice.

One fun drill to try is a shooting drill. Begin by first dividing the team into separate teams. Each team will stand behind one of the basketball hoops, so that the teams are facing each other across the basketball court. Each player on both teams is assigned a number. Keep in mind that both teams are assigned the same numbers so that one player from each team has the same number. Two basketballs are placed in the middle of the court, or, to make the drill a little harder, one basketball can be placed in the center of the court. The coach then shouts a number. The two children from each team who were assigned that particular number will race to the middle of the basketball court in an attempt to grab the basketball, dribble it back to his/her basket, and make a shot. One point is rewarded for reaching the basketball first, and one point is rewarded for scoring first. Once a shot is actually made, the players return to their team and another number is called.

These types of team and individual drills that are fun but competitive will continue to motivate a child to practice on their game more in addition to praise and compliments.


 

About the Author: Lamar Hull is a former Davidson College basketball player who had the opportunity to play alongside of Stephen Curry and play professional basketball overseas in the United Kingdom. Lamar currently is establishing a youth basketball website called Inspirational Youth Basketball. The purpose of his site is to provide professional and college drills and tips for parents, players and coaches. You can follow Lamar on Twitter @lamarhull20

2 comments… add one

  • Great article. I think one of the biggest things to remember for younger kids is that basketball is first and foremost a game. They need to be able to develop a love for the game, while also improving.

    Elias, if you are interested I would like to also contribute a guest post sometime to your website. Keep up the good work!

    Kyle Ohman

    • Thanks Kyle. You are right! Basketball is a sport to have fun and develop team skills. Love for the game is a must.
      I will keep you in mind for future guest post.

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