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Getting Your Kids Involved with Basketball

The easiest way to get your children involved in basketball is for you to participate. Take every opportunity to play games with your child, coach their teams, or volunteer. Shooting games, one-on-one practice, or drills with friends or siblings are all good ways to get out on the court and share a fun experience with your youngster.

Playing with your child can be the most fun you’ll have as a parent. While your future basketball experiences with your child might focus on winning and excelling on the court, your initial involvement can be centered on pure enjoyment. Their early participation should also encourage your child to get on the court, even when you’re not around to share the fun.

Make it Fun

Young people need models, not critics.

John Wooden
Hall of Fame NCAA Basketball Coach

Rule number one for youth basketball is that it should be fun. This means de-emphasizing wins and losses, eliminating pressure, and focusing on participation. In youth basketball and beginner’s leagues, everyone’s a winner just by stepping onto the court. This should be your mindset for your beginning basketball player.

As the parent of a youth basketball player, it’s important to remember a few “no-no’s” in order to encourage child participation:

  • Don’t live vicariously through your child: Your child’s time on the court is his time to shine. It’s only fair that he establishes his own goals and interests while playing the game.
  • Don’t pressure your child about playing well or following instructions: Children learn physical skills at their own pace. It takes time and patience to master physical skills and mental awareness on the court.
  • Don’t dwell on mistakes or missed opportunities: It’s important to take advantage of any opportunity for encouragement, and to quickly forget about the mistakes so that your child will do the same.
  • Don’t forget to celebrate the good times: The good times on the court can be anything: A made basket, good hustle, following instructions properly, or playing well with teammates. Take advantage of the fun parts of playing basketball by celebrating them.

Encourage Your Child’s Practice

Your duty as a parent of a youth basketball player is to encourage your child to practice. This could mean dribbling a ball around the driveway, taking shots on a driveway hoop, or playing around with friends. The more often your child has a ball in his hands, the more quickly he’ll grow to enjoy the game.

Practicing with your child is part of the battle. It’s also worth it to ask questions about his game, ask if he needs help, and commend his effort when he does participate. However, remember not to cross the line of forcing him to play.

Buy Equipment

Buying your child a basketball or a portable basket is a great way to encourage him to get outside and work on his game. Other inexpensive training equipment ideas include:

  • A ball-return system
  • Basketball shoes
  • A medicine ball
  • Basketball shorts and practice jerseys
  • Knee and elbow pads
  • Wristbands
  • Resistance bands
  • Jump rope

Each additional piece of training equipment increases the likelihood that your child will feel encouraged to play. It’s important to remember that it’s not necessary to invest a lot of money in training equipment. None of these ideas are very expensive, but each can help mold an active, participating basketball player.

Learn the Game

A parent who’s familiar with the challenges his child faces as a beginning player has the empathy and understanding that encourages kids to persevere. Some parents are familiar with the game and others are not. In either case, it’s worth it to increase your familiarity with basketball to understand what your child faces when he steps on the court.

Reading about basketball and watching games on television are two great ways to re-acquaint yourself with the game. These are great shared activities with your child as he looks to get involved. Reading guides like this one and studying the basic rules of the game are also excellent ideas.

Take Your Child to a Game

Along with physical activity, youth sports are about building memories with your child. And there’s few better ways to generate interest in the game and bond with your child than by going to a basketball game with your kid.

I don't believe professional athletes should be role models. I believe parents should be role models.

Charles Barkley
Hall of Fame NBA Forward

Professional basketball games are a great source of entertainment, but college or high school games give you much better accessibility to the players and the action on the floor. A well-played college game seen up close is a great way to encourage your child’s growth in the sport.

Attend Your Child’s Games

Being there to watch your kid play is the most important part of getting your children involved in basketball. Basketball affords parents, friends, and families the chance to get as close to the action as any major amateur sport. Getting your child involved in basketball means taking advantage of the intimacy of the game by being there when he steps on the court.

>After all, attending their games is not merely the catalyst of their participation; it’s the reward for helping your child get there, and it should be enjoyed by both of you.

Most young basketball players can benefit from the support of their parents. Read these valuable tips for reasons how (and why) to get your kids involved in basketball.
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