Working together to improve your young player’s basketball skills in the off-season can be a great parent-child activity that strengthens the bond between the two of you. Whether you know it or not, you are your child’s first coach. The opportunities and support you provide can inspire the love of the game in your child or turn them off quickly. It is important that you provide experiences with basketball that are as fun as possible, especially early on, to help foster the love of the game in your child.
Is your young player actually interested in improving during the off-season? Have a conversation with your child about their goals regarding the game. Maybe they want to get better, maybe they don’t. If they do, opportunities abound for you to help them in a fun and positive way.
Her are a few things you can do with your young player that will make them better come next season:
Select only one skill/move to watch in one sitting. Plan to watch the clip several times so both you and your child will be able to commit the skill to memory or watch on your phone while you are out on your court or driveway! Look carefully at all parts of the skill as it is performed. Watch the movement of the ball, body, and feet. Have your child attempt to teach you the move/skill and explain it. By teaching they will better understand it themselves. This is a great way to add different dimensions to your young player’s game
As you are watching games, try to watch more as a coach or player and less as a fan. Try not to focus as much on the ball, rather watch the action away from the ball or what the defense is doing. Ask your young player to describe what they see. Watch a particular player to see what they do in different game circumstances. Pick a move they make to try and emulate the next time the two of you practice together.
Reading about the game can help increase your child’s basketball IQ. You can read a serious skill development book like “Stuff Good Players Should Know” or even a chapter book centered around the game. As an added benefit, reading together can and will show your child that you value reading and it might even improve their reading skills before they go back to school this fall. Reading together is great bonding time. It shows your child that you are interested in nurturing and sharing in their interests.
Just get out and practice together. Keep it short unless your child pushes you to keep going. If you practice with them in short bursts, they are more likely to want to practice with you again. What you practice isn’t as important as how. Go hard for shorter periods of time.
Remember these simple guidelines when practicing with your child.
Don’t be critical, be encouraging.
Praise your child’s effort, not their “natural ability”.
Allow your child to make mistakes, getting out of their comfort zone is how they improve. That doesn’t happen without mistakes.
Make the practice about them, not you.
Basketball is a great game that you can share with your young player. By taking an active role in their development as a basketball player you can help them improve their skill level. Just remember that the journey through youth basketball is theirs, not yours. Make it fun for kids and they’ll return to the game again and again.
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