A Look Inside of Practice: The Ultimate Guide for Athletes, Parents, and Coaches
by Alex Kneip | JuniorHoops.com
Athletes – if you do not know, in this quote by the hall of famer, Iverson talked about practice and how he thought it was silly that the press was asking him about practice. In this quote, he also talked about games. What he said about games was, “Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it’s my last.” Allen Iverson truly was an artist of the game—a true legend—but imagine how much greater he would have been if he had the same mentality about practice as he did games from the beginning of his career. Another quote I like from Allen Iverson is, “When you are not practicing, someone else is getting better.” Now you can see why he was one of the greatest to ever play the game—it is because he had this mindset.
A few things coaches look for in practice every day is who gives maximum effort, has the best attitude, and thinks of his teammates and the success of the team before anything else. Trust me, if you display these attributes, you will ensure the highest success throughout your school/basketball years. Also, notice how I put school before basketball… that is because basketball is a privilege. I have not met a coach yet (thankfully) who does not care about your success in the classroom the same or more than your success in the gym. Any athlete can excel in school because all it takes is hard work (effort) and having a good attitude. You do not have to be the smartest person to do well in all subjects. By showing your teachers you care about your grade, it makes them want to help you succeed all the greater. Just like by showing you care about your position on the team makes the coach want to help you succeed even more. By going in after classroom hours to get tutoring will help any athlete out with his grades. At the same time, spending time outside of practice doing skill work will help out any athlete with his game and possibly getting more playing time. One more example is that coaches look for who is responsible and reliable off the court, so they can trust them on the court. Ways you can show your coach you are responsible and reliable is turning in all of your grade checks in on time, showing up to practice on time, and communicating about being tardy or absent.
Parents – I am a parent and being a coach, I have learned to be understanding with parents whenever they express their concerns to me about their child… I get it—parents just want what is best for their child all the time and I believe it is my job to give them my best. I encourage parents to reach out to coaches and ask if they can stop by one practice and observe how practice is run. If the coach seems like he does not give it his all in practice, then maybe parents, it is time to have a conversation or assess what the best decision would be moving forward for your son’s success. Now, I do not mean to go into a practice and be a disruption or be judgmental about the coach not giving your child constant attention because the coach’s job is difficult and he can only give each player so much focused attention. The group as a whole is the coach’s biggest concern.
Coaches – I encourage you to always keep an open door policy, and coach with integrity. Each player deserves your best in practice and parents or no parents being present, you should always treat your athletes as if they were your kids and you just want what is best for all of them. In saying that, you should always be prepared for your practices. Create detailed practice plans and stick to them. Start on time, and end on time being consistent and respectful. I also encourage you to reach out early and often with ALL parents. Do not leave them in the dark about your child and BE POSITIVE. Do not put yourself into the trap of only having contact with your parents when there is an issue. This creates a toxic atmosphere and will make your job harder. Lastly, make practice fun! Do not just be go, go, go all the time… athletes play the game because they love it, and so we should not ruin that love, but we should grow it.
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