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The job of a coach is simple: allow the players to learn the basic, fundamental aspects of the game while improving their individual weaknesses and capitalizing on their strengths. How the coach does that is up to them, but the process changes dramatically depending on the ages of the players they are coaching.coaching-different-age-groups

7-10 Years

The game is still relatively new to children in this age bracket, so it’s important to focus on learning the basic techniques that a coach will be able to build on later. In basketball, for instance, the coach should focus on teaching correct shooting form, ball handling, passing, and defensive techniques. For baseball, coaches should focus on footwork on infield drills and batting stances. As the students progress through the ranks, they should still revisit these basic instructions periodically just to refresh their memory on how it should be played.

10-12 Years

Kids are more advanced by this stage, and will most likely have the basic skills necessary to play the game, no matter what it is. From here, coaches should emphasize more streamlined versions of their game, such as cuts and one-footed layups (in basketball) and directional bunting (for baseball). Also, strategic maneuvers and situational awareness should be implemented as well to allow the player to begin to see the game from a high-level position.

12-14 Years

Scrimmages are a great teaching tool at this stage to allow the students to get the most real-world experiences playing the game. Furthermore, the game should also be practiced at a quicker pace and under more direct pressure. When coaching basketball, teach the basics of screening and when to implement them, as well as different types of passes and coordinating plays in the face of a stiff defense. Never forget to revisit some of the more basic forms that the student learned in their earlier years, especially if their form begins to get sloppy.

The job of a coach is never done. There will always be something to build on and something to teach, so make sure that, as a coach, you are discerning in your approach to the player. Within these groups are individuals that will play either above or below their level, so it’s vital that you spend individualized time with them as well to maximize their efforts.