As a basketball coach, you know that introducing new concepts or changing habits can be challenging, especially with young players. Some players may resist changing their habits or playing style, even if it’s for the betterment of the team. In this blog post, we’ll explore some practical tips to help you motivate your players to embrace good spacing habits and overcome resistance to change.
Explain the “Why”
When introducing a new concept like spacing, it’s essential to explain to your players why it’s necessary to make the change. Use practical examples, such as how good spacing can create more opportunities for scoring or make it easier to move the ball around the court. Emphasise how good spacing can benefit the entire team, not just individual players. When players understand the “why” behind the change, they’re more likely to buy into it. Now is the perfect time too, the young players of today are seeing spacing concepts that have been popular in Europe for decades. It’s an easier sell when the Golden State Warriors are spacing the floor and winning. At the club I worked at in Spain, spacing was taught at a young age and became part of the clubs identity.
Make it Fun
Players are more likely to embrace new concepts when they enjoy the process. Incorporate drills and exercises that make learning about spacing fun. For example, you can create a game where players earn points for maintaining proper spacing during practice. Use positive reinforcement and praise players when they demonstrate good spacing habits. At Estu,I saw coaches play games like 3v3 where you had to score in the key or outside the three, this left players spread out around the court and left lots of open jump shots. One tweak I liked was double points for lay-ups this meant that the key was crowded and left the three even more open. Coaches like to flip points systems to provoke another skill being developed.
Use Visual Aids
Visual aids can be an excellent tool for helping players understand the importance of good spacing. You can use diagrams, videos, or even animations to show how spacing can improve the team’s overall performance. Use engaging visuals to capture your players’ attention and help them visualise the concept of spacing in action..
Reinforce Positive Change
When players make progress in adopting good spacing habits, it’s essential to reinforce the positive change. Praise players for their efforts and progress, and let them know how their good habits are contributing to the team’s success. Use positive reinforcement to motivate players to continue developing their spacing skills. I was a big fan of coaches in Spain stopping practice and having action replays of any positives. Especially when the positive went unnoticed by the players. This would lead to a recognition from the players and they would be able to read the signs and repeat the positives in future. For example, “this player was open for the drive because you kept your spacing on the weak- side and exchanged to keep the defenders occupied, good job”.
In conclusion, overcoming resistance to change is a challenge in basketball coaching, but it’s essential for helping players develop new skills and improve their game. By explaining the “why” behind the change, making it fun, using visual aids, and reinforcing positive change, you can motivate your players to embrace good spacing habits and develop their skills to benefit the team. Good luck!