About Heat Sports
The Heat Sports Basketball Development Program
Heat Sports describes the road that we take in experiencing the game. The experiences that make up the pathway should be designed to promote “Basketball for Life”, which encourages everyone to continue in the sport. Positive basketball experiences ensure that those who enjoy the game will continue to take part as players and will also stay involved in the sport as coaches, trainers, administrators, fans, officials and referees.
Everyone starts the game in a different fashion. Some of us are first introduced to basketball in school, while some of us start as toddlers with a toy hoop in our home. In either case, this introduction sparks our interest in the sport.
With initial interest comes exploration. Often, we are entered into our local basketball league or registered for instructional lessons as children. Also, we begin to play the sport with friends in our neighborhood or in pick-up games at school. Exploring opportunities to play basketball are vital to our continued interest.
During the exploration phase and beyond, we learn a basic understanding of how to play. Basketball is often learned from parents or guardians, local coaches, and from those that we play with and against. Many players develop skills by emulating their peers or the athletes they watch at higher levels of play.
The next stage is participation, where players take part in the sport at all levels. This includes continued structured play on local recreation teams, travel teams, club programs and school teams. Participation also includes non-structured play without coaching, such as pick-up games, playing in the driveway, or perhaps at an outdoor court.
ADVANCE & PERFORM
Some of us will find that we will advance into higher levels of basketball. Through hard work, dedication and natural talent, we may perform basketball well enough to become very good high school players or college athletes at both the scholarship and non-scholarship levels.
ADVANCE & EXCEL
There are a small number of players that possess the attributes of talent, physical and mental ability, and extreme dedication who will go on to excel in the sport. These players move from the perform stage into the excel stage to play basketball.
BASKETBALL FOR LIFE
It is important to understand and accept that while some will advance to play basketball at higher levels, and some will simply continue to participate in the game, everyone will eventually enter the “Basketball for Life” stage. This stage includes continuing to play the game, but also includes those who continue to take part as coaches, trainers, administrators, fans, officials and referees.
This is a road map to enjoying the sport forever. Great experiences along the path will ensure growth of the individual, growth of the game, and the future of the sport.
Coaching the Game:
There are many reasons why an individual has decided to become a basketball coach. Some of us are former players who are looking to give back or stay involved in the game. Some of us have children who play, and we volunteer to coach their team. Others are asked to coach within their community to fill a need. There are also coaches, often referred to as trainers, who work out players in the off-season but don’t coach them in games. Whatever your reason, coaching young players requires a high level of responsibility and maturity.
Coaching young players should be thrilling, exciting, rewarding and fun. To prepare yourself, take into consideration the following characteristics that make for a successful youth coach:
Remember that you are coaching kids. Young people need teaching, but they also need the opportunity and freedom to make mistakes. Your role as coach is to teach and then help your players learn from their mistakes. Rather than expecting your players to play flawlessly, allow them to demonstrate mistakes. This approach requires a substantial amount of patience but will maximize long-term player and team development.
Even at foundational levels of play, basketball games can become heated. It is your duty to act like a responsible adult under any circumstance. This means keeping your temper under control even when you know that you are right in a particular situation. Your dealings with players, officials, parents, scorekeepers and others are under a microscope as a leader, and it will require you to demonstrate restraint in all situations.
As the coach of a team, group or individual, you will need to develop an understanding of fundamentals, rules and various strategies based on the level you are working with. Introductory levels of play will require only basic education but will also require a deeper sense of your impact on a beginner’s continued involvement in the sport. Advanced levels will require deeper basketball education as well as a more philosophical approach to coaching.
Games are certainly important, but being a good coach involves more than simply showing up for the game. To be effective you will need to organize and execute practices, provide fundamental skill instruction, decide on playing time, communicate frequently with players and parents, and much more. Coaching is a commitment of your time to the development of players both on and off the court. Make the full commitment to coaching, it will maximize the benefit to your players and make the experience more rewarding for you.
Winning can be a healthy goal but striving to win is where lessons are learned regardless of the final score. A truly effective coach will evaluate a team’s level of play, will set attainable goals, and then will assess outcomes based on development rather than on wins or losses. Identify your players’ values and establish your values as a coach, then use those values as guiding principles in prioritizing team and player goals. Perhaps you are coaching a recreation team and a goal is for everyone to play equal time, or maybe your coaching at the high school level and a goal is to win a state title. In either case, make the journey to achieve the goal a priority.