Ah, it’s cold and snowy outside, so that means it’s basketball season! I’m coaching my 3 year old’s 4U basketball team this season. Last night was our first “practice.” I was really excited to start off the season because I’ve coached all of my kids at this age. Kids this young need to be introduced to basic fundamentals, fair play and teamwork.
I wasn’t sure how my son was going to do last night. He seemed to be really excited during the week and kept telling me I was going to be “Coach Daddy.” He actually made it through almost half of the practice, and did a great job running, dribbling and passing. Then, there was a point in time where he had enough and decided he was going to sit the rest of the practice out.
I remember when I coached my 9 year old in 4 and under basketball, I had to carry her in my arms while running up and down the court with the team during games. My 11 year old threw his own tantrums, and my 8 year old cried some. It’s easy to get frustrated, but it’s very important to stay positive with them and encourage them along. It seems easier to quit and not have to deal with the fits, but what does that teach them? An NBA shooting coach once told me that it’s critical we make our kids see the entire season through to completion. If our kids learn to persevere through a simple basketball game, they’ll learn to persevere through other life events. There may be times when my son won’t want to step out on the court, but it doesn’t mean that I should give up on him.
If you are a parent watching your child participate in sports, I’m going to tell you the same thing the NBA coach above told me: Put your phone and other devices away during practices and games. Focus 100% of your attention on your child. When your child does something well, he or she shouldn’t have to look into the stands to see your face in your phone. Encourage your child through the difficult times and praise them when they do something exciting during the game. BE PRESENT!
I don’t know how the rest of the season is going to go, but I’m really looking forward to spending quality time with my son. I believe it’s very important that he be around kids his age and learn valuable life skills he’ll remember forever. As a coach, I have the opportunity to influence these young toddlers to love the game of basketball, participating in organized sports down the road and building life-long skills.