• BJ Mumford, B.S.S

Is your youth basketball player falling behind? The 3 most common questions parents are asking


Your youth basketball player has 2 years of experience, loves the game, and plays well at a recreational level. They play in AAU or travel team leagues and tournaments, but struggle to compete and seem out of their comfort zone. They seem to lack confidence, often deferring to the other players on the court instead of attacking the basket or taking shots themselves.


They are going through the chaos of adapting to a new environment of physical maturation, finding themselves suddenly taller with a new body to adapt to, or feeling left behind as the shortest player compared to their peers. Their role is changing on the teams they play on, and their skill set no longer matches what they are expected to perform in games.


Their coaches want them to perform specific skills, but with limited practice time and a focus on strategy they don’t have time to instruct the individual players how to execute those skills. Your player’s playing time is suffering as other players that have more experience, more skill, and more decisiveness earn more minutes from a coach that needs to win.



Sound familiar?


Every family goes through this period of transition and chaos when the player is somewhere between the ages of 10-14 years old, which causes a lot of doubt, frustration, and tension between parent and player. The 3 questions that parents ask us most frequently are:


  • How do I know if my player is serious enough about basketball to invest in additional training?


  • How do I know when my player needs extra support, and isn't just being lazy or stubborn?


  • I want to help my player, but how do we move forward when my child won’t listen to my coaching advice?



Here is how we approach each of these to help parents navigate the chaos!



How do I know if my player is serious enough about basketball to invest in additional training?


Here is the 5 criteria we cover in our Discovery phase when evaluating players:

  • They have a minimum of 2 years of competitive experience (rec level or higher)

  • They currently practice on their own at least 1 day per week year round (in addition to any other sports).

  • They currently practice with a team or play games 2+ days per week (during the season)

  • They take an interest in watching college and professional basketball games on TV

  • They aspire to play basketball at the high school level or higher



How do I know when my player needs extra support, and isn't just being lazy or stubborn?


Here are the most common indicators we see for players that need help:


  • They have played aggressively and successfully in the past

  • Their motivation has dropped off in 3 key areas: practicing alone, effort in team practice, and performance in games

  • They recently had a growth spurt (or lack thereof) changing their role on the team

  • They perform well in practice, but freeze up in games

  • They routinely pass up scoring opportunities to defer to a teammate that they perceive as a better player

  • They miss open shots - including layups - appearing indecisive or distracted right when taking the action to score

  • They have played for 2+ coaches (maybe including a parent), and may have contradictory ideas or philosophies in their mind that cause stress and indecision

  • They often feel frustrated - by coaching instructions they don't understand, mistakes they make, their teammates lack of competitiveness, or by their own lack of playing time that seems out of their control to change.




I want to help my player, but how do we move forward when my child won’t listen to my coaching advice?


This is a big one for many parents, and if you haven’t reached that point yet - you can be sure that you will in a few short years! There are several different approaches that parents use either separately or combined to provide a different coaching voice when the parent is tuned out….. Here are the pros and cons of each approach from my perspective.


Play more games - on the current or a different team

  • Pro:

  • Make progress through trial and error in games

  • Team atmosphere and camaraderie

  • Playing with or against better players to model and learn from


  • Con:

  • Pressure to perform eliminates ability/ willingness to try new things

  • Bad habits will become permanent

  • Race against time - Starting at age 10 to learn everything by trial and error before they tryout for their HS team

  • Player progress is often based on the luck-of-the-draw for which coach they get


Attend Camps or “Skills and drills” sessions

  • Pro:

  • Specific explanations and instructions for how to perform basic skills

  • Experience and repetition of basic skills that become permanent


  • Con:

  • Lack of individual attention

  • No decision-making involved

  • Stationary skills do not translate to games

  • Coaches have no responsibility or timeline for results - the burden is on the player to improve


1on1 coaching

  • Pro:

  • Individual approach and attention

  • Focused effort will make progress on specific skills


  • Con:

  • Lack of decision making

  • Lack of game context for what to work on

  • Lack of game application of skill specific to that player

  • No timeline for results - an indefinite ongoing training schedule is best for the coach (I know because I used to use this model!)




Our solution: The Play Practice Formula

  • Player-centered approach - we are here to give them whatever they need to succeed

  • Holistic basketball education - calibrated to the player’s individual needs, current starting point, and future aspirations

  • Game-film analysis and feedback - to make every second of training game-relevant and immediately applicable

  • 12 week progression of basketball theory, skills, and concepts designed to maximize the future impact of every minute on the court between now and high school tryouts

  • Framework for learning any future skill, and training decisions into automated instincts

  • The privacy and safety of a 1on1 setting needed to attempt new things

  • Progression to competition with a trusted group of friends in final 3 weeks to test and prove new capabilities before attempting in 5v5

  • Objectively measurable results achieved in 90 days guaranteed!



Ready to take the next step?

Book a free consultation call



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