Keeping a Balance Between Winning Basketball and Developing Basketball Players

Keeping a Balance Between Winning Basketball and Developing Basketball Players

At times, coaches can get caught up in the emotional factor of basketball.   The priority of the game goes from playing sound team basketball to isolation fade-a-ways.   This has become a common trend over the years, which is leading to the deterioration of traditional basketball.   What coaches fail to realize is this style of play keeps a team unbalanced in many ways.

Sure, you’ll have your 2 or 3 superstars outshining everyone else, but the rest of the team begins to lack confidence and comradery.   The stars begin to gain egos and suddenly only want to play with their best buddies. As Utah Jazz Head Coach Tyrone Corbin puts it, “I think it’s a change for this new generation of kids who are used to being on these superstars. It’s extremely crucial for us coaches to teach kids how to play with everyone and not just the best.

Here are a few tips on how to balance winning and becoming a better coach or  player (and overall person):


When rotating Basketballs lab youth basketball players in/out of a game, allow some of your less talented kids to play alongside your top guys.   Preach team play and efficient passing.   With enough practice, the group will begin to gel better and grasp the true concept of team play.   Your top scorers will understand the importance of being a facilitator and slowly appreciate the art of passing.   At the same time, your weaker kids will learn to find their roles on the court and strengthen their confidence to go out and make an impact

Explain how losing will breed success.   At a North Carolina University summer basketball camp, I met assistant coach Jerod Haase who taught me a lot about basketball. I will never forget the great quotes he would use, one of which was my favorite: “Failure Breeds Success.”

Over the course of the camp, I began to realize the truth of that quote and was humbled by it.   It’s important for us as coaches to educate our kids during losses and not dwell on their mistakes.   Kids respond better to positive reinforcement than yelling and blaming. Important messages on what went wrong or what needs to be improved will be retained when using the right approach to our kids.

In basketball and sports in general, winning isn’t everything. Sure everyone has a better time winning than losing, but its key for us as coaches to put things in perspective. Are our kids really winning if we don’t instill team concepts to them at a young age, or are they just winning an AAU championship?

Always remember to see the big picture of things. Our goal as coaches should be to educate our youth on how to become a better “team player” and person in life, and not just an individual star of a game.   I encourage coaches from all around to take on the challenge: Put team concepts over winning.   Don’t sacrifice developing players for a small win today.

Hopefully, we are all up for it and can contribute to the game we love in a better way.

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