10 THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR IN YOUTH BASKETBALL

By: Brendan Winters

thankful for youth basketball

What Pro Skills Basketball is Thankful for in Youth Basketball

With Thanksgiving approaching, there is so much to be thankful for, but I wanted to specifically reflect on the 10 things we, at Pro Skills Basketball, are thankful for in youth basketball.

So without further ado, here is what we are thankful for when it comes to youth basketball:

1. Parents who Simply Love to Watch their Kids Play

Many parents claim to love to watch their child play, but yet, while “watching”, they scream and yell at the refs, their child, the coach, and even sometimes the other team. I’m talking about the parents who truly just love to watch their child play, and sit there calmly, just enjoying the play of their child without all the screaming and yelling or at least yell with excitement and encouragement.

In fact, research has found that the best thing parents can say to their children after a game is simply “I love to watch you play”. Young children can misinterpret constructive criticism, and having too many “coaches” in the bleachers, on the bench and/or around the dinner table can be added pressure on kids. We are thankful for parents that understand the mission of our organization and can support their children without bad-mouthing others, screaming or fighting in the bleachers.

2. Players who are Willing to Work Hard and Make Sacrifices to Achieve their Goals

Too many players say they want to be great, but a lot of them aren’t willing to make sacrifices and put in the hard-work, time, energy, and effort that is required to actually be really good at the game of basketball. Sometimes it takes a young player to tell his or her teammates that he or she is going to work on his game on a Friday night when everyone else is taking the weekend off. If anyone said it best, it was Jason Kidd!

jason kidd quote

We’ve been blessed with quite a few players who are willing to do the necessary work to be successful on and off the court. These players don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well, and we’re truly thankful for those players who have a genuine passion for basketball and are able to channel their energy to getting better everyday.

3. Trainers who are Teaching Players Useful Skills and Drills

There seems to be a large amount of basketball trainers today that are more interested in becoming famous on social media rather than actually teaching players the fundamentals. These trainers blind parents and players with flashy drills, such as; a 3 ball dribbling drill or a drill where you have to make 13 dribble moves to get to the basket. I have also seen basketball trainers have their players touch lights on a wall.

In my opinion, these types of basketball drills aren’t actually useful in game situations. We’re thankful to have passionate basketball trainers who keep it simple by teaching basketball with intensity. They also train players using real game-like basketball drills that can actually help them in games.

4. Parents who aren’t Blinded by the “FLASH”

On that same note, we are thankful for parents that don’t fall into the trap of being blinded by the “flashy” things, such as NBA player trainers, rankings for middle schoolers, shoe company sponsored AAU teams, “showcase” camps, etc. We’re thankful for the parents that can see through the glitz and glam and connect their child up with coaches, trainers, and teams who really care about their child’s development on and off the court.

5. USA Basketball Youth Development

Recently USA Basketball has made a big push into the youth basketball space in order to try to positively influence and change the current culture. They’ve created a youth development model generated from some of the best basketball minds in the world. They have also created a youth coaches’ licenses and an organization accreditation process.

The benefits of becoming a licensed coach:

  • Real training on providing safety as a coach
  • Coaching education and knowledge
  • Listing in USBA Certified coaches’ database and much more…
  • The licenses process is pretty simple!

We’re very excited to be a part of this and look forward to the way USAB will positively influence youth basketball in future.

6. Coaches who are Positive Role Models for Kids

Too often, we see coaches screaming and yelling at their players and the refs. We’re thankful for those coaches on our staff that have the emotional maturity to see the big picture and focus on coaching and teaching their players in a positive way while allowing the officials to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

7. Humble Players who are NOT Caught Up in the Hype

Again, social media, “showcases”, shoe company sponsored AAU teams, and scouting services are such a huge part of youth basketball nowadays that they can often cause kids to get caught up in the “hype” and focus on the wrong things. We are thankful for the kids that tune out the “noise” and focus on the things they can control like getting better, effort, and attitude.

8. Influencers and Mentors who are Willing to Help the “Little Guys”

We’ve been lucky enough to come across some great people in the youth basketball world that are very well known and have a big time influence, but yet aren’t so egotistical that they think they’re better than us “little guys”. They are always willing to help when asked and treat us with respect. Some of these people we are thankful for include, but are not limited to Alan Stein, who runs Stronger Team, Jay Bilas of ESPN and “Jay Bilas Skills Camp”, and Paul Biancardi, also of ESPN. These types of people are needed in our basketball communities!

9. Parents who Understand the Lessons Taught in Basketball

Basketball, and sports in general, can be tough for kids. Whether that’s due to a lack of playing time, a bad practice or game, injuries, etc., young players are forced to deal with some tough situations, and a large part in how players respond to these challenges is driven by their parents. We’re thankful for the parents that recognize the great life lessons that can be taught in the struggles of basketball, and respond/teach their children accordingly.

10. Having the Opportunity to Positively Impact Young Players

Most importantly, we are incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to positively impact young players everyday through basketball. This is something we take very seriously and do not take for granted. We’ve learned from some of the best people and coaches in the world, and we are so thankful to be able to pass those things down to our youth.

Conclusion

We love the game of basketball and are very thankful for the great people and organizations who play a HUGE role in shaping our youth! You may have noticed that we focused on the parents, players, and coaches because they all play a BIG role in changing the culture of youth basketball. Pro Skills Basketball wants to foster the next generations’ youth development so we can see great people make an impact in the world. Youth sports is a way to help young people cope with life outside of competition. We are thankful for being in the position we are in and are excited about the future of youth basketball development!


Brendan Winters is a former Davidson Wildcat and European professional basketball player as well as the co-founder of Pro Skills Basketball and co-director of Pro Skills Basketball Charlotte.

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