Are you looking for a basketball coaching tip that works at all levels of play? Legendary college basketball coach Don Meyer authored the phrase, “Shout praise and whisper criticism,” which is great advice for not only basketball coaches but also all people in any pursuit.
One way to “shout praise,” with kids is to find players doing something right, and call attention to it for the whole team. If you look hard enough, over the course of several practices, you can call out of your players and ask them to demonstrate again their technique for the whole team’s benefit. Talk about a confidence booster for a player. I suspect more than a few players might go home and let their parents know that the coach thought I blocked out well for rebounding, or whatever the call out skill was.
The sandwich compliment is a great approach when you need to highlight an opportunity for a player. For example, if a player is standing up too straight when rebounding, and you want to let them know to get down low in a more athletic positions; here’s what you do.
Start with a compliment: “You’re really good at protecting the ball when you get a rebound. Then, offer the critique opportunity: “I think it will really help you if you can get lower, in a more athletic stance, when you’re first starting to box out.” And then, finish with a compliment: “What makes you so effective as a rebounder is your heart and hustle. You never give up.” Compliment – Critique opportunity – Compliment is an effective combination. Use it. If kids just hear negatives, they get down on themselves. This combination is a proven winner.