Get 110% from Your Players

by YouthBasketballNewz

Get 110% from Your Players

As a coach we all want our kids to give us 110% on the floor.  The reality is that many players do not.  In this article, I am going to discuss a motivational strategy that I learned by accident in coaching, but paid extremely high dividends.    As a coach many of us take on the coaching styles that we learned or saw growing up.  It was usually filled with yelling, punishment, and in some cases profanity.   These methods are known as negative reinforcement.

Negative reinforcement is the use of unpleasant consequences or punishment to obtain the desired results.  For many years, this has been the typical style of coaching.  In coaching sports, you DO need to use negative reinforcement, however, it should be used for rule infractions.   For example, poor sportsmanship, or a team rule infraction.

Why use positive reinforcement over negative you may ask, negative, has worked all these years?  The reason is that you get better and more sustained results with positive reinforcement.  I am going to give a brief reason now, and I will elaborate in another article.   With positive reinforcement, the athlete gives the effort because they are personally motivated, by the reward.  Not because they don’t want to run 10 laps, or may have to sit the next game.

I came to this conclusion, using my own coaching experience in baseball.  A number of years ago, me and a friend were coaching our kids’ baseball team.  Because the team had players of varying ability, we were looking for a way to motivate all of our players.  We 100% Effortstarted with the traditional “Game ball.”    We then realized that giving a single game ball, did not recognize the efforts of all the players who contributed to the win, and went against our belief of winning and losing as a team.  So we gave more game balls, which became expensive.  We then developed an award system which the kids really liked.  It was similar to that used by football teams with helmet stickers, but not stickers.  We gave awards for kids whose contributions were important to the game, whether we won or lost.  This system worked well; we won multiple championships, and division titles in the league.    

In my final year of coaching, I made a change to the system.  I found that over the years, the same players were winning the awards, game after game.  Our developing players were being left out, and not motivated to contribute.  In baseball, you need everyone to contribute, both on defense and offense, so I changed the system.  I created a system which gave awards for the little things that are needed for a win.  For example, highest on-base percentage, highest batting average for the game, the most runs batted in, outstanding pitcher.  Then I gave an outstanding player award which was based on points.  The players got points for making good plays that are needed to win, and lost points for making mistakes.  The kids loved the system, and looked forward to getting their awards.

That system was by far the most successful system.  The team averaged 15 runs a game, and everyone contributed.  Every game each player was trying to get their points either getting a walk, hit, stolen base, or throwing out a runner.  The team won the Championship as a result.

From those seasons, I learned that kids player harder, and strive to do their best, when they are personally motivated.  Yelling at the kids, did not yield the best results.


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The Fieldhouse-Merrillville is organizing a Back to School League.  Registration is open to both individuals and teams.  There is an 8 Game Guarantee plus a single elimination tournament.  They will have a Girls and Boys Division. 


Division Start Date Game Date Single Elimination Tournament
Girls 4-12 grade September 9th Sunday October 14th
Boys 4th-6th grade September 12th Wednesday October 14th
Boys 7th-8th grade September 19th Monday October 21st
Boys High School September 9th Sunday October 21st 

Cost:        Teams – $425 (save $25 before August 27th)   Individuals – $110





Fall Basketball Leagues are Forming

August 19, 2012

Coaches the time to act is now for youth basketball.  As school is starting, Fall Basketball Leagues are starting to form.  One such league that will be starting up in the Chicagoland area is Jaguar Basketball.  The league which will begin August 25, 2012 and runs for 5 weeks, ending October 6, 2012.  Each team will play [...]

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