Effective communication is critical in building a great basketball program and it begins from the ground up! Young players MUST learn how to communicate; whether it is with their parents, teachers, siblings, coaches or teammates. Communication is the glue that holds most relationships and teams together.
When I first started coaching, I found myself at a loss for words at times and didn’t know exactly what to say to my players. Sometimes I would get to the huddle and I had a difficult time expressing what I wanted my team to do. As I continued to gain more experience, I realized that basketball communication is REALLY simple! The main points in basketball are pretty similar from game to game. I almost always remind my players to Box Out, Rebound, Follow Your Shot, Hustle Back, Talk, Get Help Side D, Pressure The Ball, Stop Reaching, Close Out….etc. When I’m working with a player to improve their individual skills, I might say….Eyes Up, Back Straight, Dribble Hard, Speed Up, Slow Down, Feet First – Ball Second, Draw Contact, Stay Balanced, Good Job, There You Go!…etc.
Coaches! – You must remember to teach your players HOW to communicate with each other and what to say.
Here are 15 things that a player can say or do during the course of a game:
- Clap!! (Give lots of encouragement.)
- High Five or Chest Bump (Positive Touches are important!)
- Call Out “I Got Help Side!”
- Call Out “I Got Back!”
- Call Out “I Got Ball!”
- Yell “Shot” so teammates know to locate the ball and box out.
- Call FOR a Screen.
- Call OUT a Screen or Pick.
- Call OUT the play.
- Engage the fans, get them revved up! (6th Man)
- Call Out “Trap.” Don’t just do it, tell your teammate to do it with you!
- Give Eye Contact! Look your teammates in the eye when giving an important point or communicating feedback.
- Create Energy thru Voice Inflections…. its contagious!
- Call Out “Switch!”
- If your teammate is OUT of position, use your voice and hands to get them INTO position!
Players – Use your voice to instruct. Put a name on your commands or instructions so your teammate knows your communicating with them!
Communication is a vital ingredient to success in basketball today. Your communication should command attention. Like the mind, your voice is a powerful tool that can prompt action and produce desired results!