Youth Coaching: Enjoy the Experience

Coach Brian Agler, Head Coach of the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks, provided Central Ohio coaches with insights and lessons he has learned throughout his coaching journey. Just Hoops by Shoot-A-Way was honored to host the coaching clinic to give back to the local basketball community and provide an opportunity for those coaches searching for more knowledge. Coach Agler has an exceptional understanding of the intricacies of coaching as he has coached both boys’ and girls’ teams from the youth level all the way to his current post in the WNBA. Agler preached that coaching covers more than the X’s and O’s and developing practice plans. Every coach has the platform to develop skills that the players will use long after their playing days to better prepare them to be successful in life.

Take a deep breath, be patient and enjoy the experience you are afforded as a coach. As a coach you cannot base your happiness or how you view your players on the wins and losses. Rather, from start to finish, track your team and players’ improvement in all areas. Making gradual improvements throughout the season to improve the players’ individual skill sets, understanding of team concepts and playing together as team will have lifelong impacts. After the season concludes and you are looking back on the impact you made measure improvement on whether your players have a better understanding of teamwork, the value of working with others and the importance of sportsmanship.

The coaching profession oftentimes is evaluated on wins and losses. It is challenging to ignore external factors but regardless of the outcome of the game your demeanor should stay the same. Stay the course and be consistent with your message. It is easy to become a victim of your emotions and lose sight of improvement if you are basing it on the scoreboard. The most important element of basketball you can foster with your team is quality skill work. Agler highlighted that the game is moving away from physicality and heading towards versatility and skill. Playing multiple positions and possessing an ability to pass, dribble and shoot are the most coveted capabilities in the game today. Dedicate a large percentage of your practices to skill development and making drills competitive. Structuring and fostering competition will provide avenues for the players to learn how to deal with adversity. Adversity will present itself in many forms throughout your journey as a coach but give your best effort to enjoy the experience and it may just trickle down to your players.

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