Coaches and Parents; Jim Burson's Solution-Based Basketball®; www.jimburson.comEarly season thoughts for coaches and parents

This is a great time of the season – squads being chosen, teams developed. Some players are not going to start. Some are even going to be cut. How could they cut my kid? He’s the greatest! He is a wonderful young man, he works hard, he has a great attitude, he goes to Sunday school! How can you cut him?

Thoughts for Coaches

So, Coach, how are you handling this time of the season?

  • Are you being fair?
  • Do you really want to win?
  • Are you helping every player develop his game?
  • Are you a caring and giving person?
  • Have you listened and communicated with your assistants? With the players? With the parents?

Are you anticipating any problem with the five questions I just listed?

There will be problems, win or lose. It just seems so much better when you win.

You need to plan for the complainers, for the doubters, for the parents who are mad because their son is not getting to start, to play, or getting more time or even just getting off the bench. How you handle the problems, the officials, the parents, the administration will often determine your fate as a coach.

Do you listen? Do you care? Truly? Are winning and losing held in the proper perspective? Be proactive in your preparation for the problems that will occur.

Moms and dads, bless their hearts, have blinders on when it comes to their kids. A coach must understand that and appreciate it!! Listen and love them and coach the way you want, but listen … and love!

Thoughts for Parents

Is your concern sour grapes or sweet love? Try to see that the coach is struggling too. It’s the time that he has to make hard, tough decisions regarding your son’s future as a player and it’s not easy. Appreciate that he wants to win, he wants what’s best for your son (even if he doesn’t start) and that he wants everyone to get better. It’s tough showing sweet love to the coach, but what a great challenge!

Here are a few thoughts that can help guide the parents’ role in the basketball process:

  • Love your son and the other players and the coach.
  • Talk positively about the program, especially around your child, even if you think your son is not getting a fair shake.
  • Try to be an encourager and not a critic. You need to model good behavior and be a lifter for everyone.
  • Accept the judgment and calls of the officials. No screaming at them from the stands.
  • Support the decisions made by the coach. No confrontations after the game.
  • Be the same after wins after losses, and whether your child started or didn’t get in the game.
  • Don’t join in your son’s complaining about practice time, playing time or the coach. Even worse, don’t start that conversation yourself.
  • Be a good listener and try to build confidence.
  • Give yourself a little time after the game to cool down. Anger likes to shout.

Here are some concerns that you could talk over with the coach:

  • How can my son get better?
  • Concerns about my son’s attitude and behavior.
  • Mental or physical abuse.

Here are some concerns that you should not talk over with the coach:

  • Playing time and/or subbing
  • Team strategy and play-calling
  • Other team members

What a great time to make sure that coaches and parents are on the same page. Anticipate the problems before you react to them in anger.

Have a great season. And remember, win or lose, starting or subbing, try to care about one another.

It’s a good thing to drown your anger in sweet love!


This post is dedicated to basketball moms and dads everywhere, especially R.M. and L.C.

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Photo: Tarik Browne © – Creative Commons license