1. Familiarize yourself with the player you are coaching. Learn to listen more than you talk. A player wants to feel comfortable with you and have confidence in you before they work with you. At times you will coach a player that will feel that you think he cannot shoot. Always start with what the player is doing well.
2. Coach each player individually. You do not want a player to learn everything that you know about shooting. You want each player to learn what he wants to know in terms of improving his shot. However, you should be able to answer every question the player will ask.
3. Encourage the player to talk to you and say what he likes and doesn’t like. Tell the player, “I want to get you to shoot with confidence and rhythm. I want to work on that mechanic that helps your shot the most. The point is, it’s your shot and you adjust what you want to adjust. I’m here to coach you and help you, but you’re going to learn to coach yourself.”
4. Find out what a player is looking for by asking questions. You can learn a lot about a player from his answers. When you really listen to the answers, you can gear your responses to suit the player’s particular needs. Ask the player, “When you are shooting well, what are you doing? There is no wrong answer to this question. It simply gives an indication of a player’s confidence level and what he knows about his own shot. If a player responds with the answer, “I just shoot!” It may indicate that he has confidence, or that he is not over thinking when he shoots. When a player answers, “When I’m shooting well, my shoulders are going toward the basket.” Then you have an idea that he has an understanding of what he wants to do when shooting. When a player answers, “The ball is going in!” It probably means that he does not know much about his shot.
5. Keep it simple. Keep your instruction brief, simple, yet inspiring. Players lose interest if your coaching is long, too detailed, or boring. For the most part, a player is not progressing while you are talking. Get the player shooting.
6. Strive to keep a player’s confidence level high. Be positive and keep encouraging the player to know that he can and will achieve his goals. Motivate the player to consistently do what it takes to reach his goals and never let him think for one moment that he will have anything less than success. Constantly tell the player, “You’re a shooter!”
7. When a player does not want your help do not take it as a personal attack on you. In fact, only one player or a few players may be interested in receiving your coaching. Once you have success with one or more players, others will become interested in how you can help them.
8. Never stop coaching. When a player sees that you care about him, are positive, enthusiastic, energized and tenacious, it will inspire him to reach new heights. Above all, make it enjoyable! You become a better coach to a player when he sees that you have high spirits, a bright smile and a sense of humor.
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