Jeffrey Katchmore coaches 4th and 5th grade elementary school basketball in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. As an athlete, Jeffrey Katchmore dedicated many years to perfecting his own football, golf, and basketball skills. As a coach for younger children, he believes it is important to focus on more than winning and doing drills. According to Jeffrey Katchmore, there are fundamental skills that need to be learned about the game, before the game is played competitively.
Jeffrey Katchmore sees children with different skill levels. Some children know how to dribble a ball and score, but struggle with a team environment and sharing a ball. Other children are eager to play, but aren’t ready to run plays. “It is important to teach kids how to play together and share the ball. As a coach, it is important to keep a positive attitude even when teaching students to deal with feelings of disappointment, loss, and anxiety,” says Jeffrey Katchmore.
Parents, coaches, and student players alike can be easily carried away by the excitement of the game and overwhelming feeling of victory after winning a game. Jeffrey Katchmore says it is important to point out defining situations in a team and use them to teach life skills. “Even young players have to learn to manage risk. There may be emotions like anger or frustration and that is when you can talk the kids through their emotions and situations so they will understand the consequences of acting out or being disrespectful. It is also important to teach your team to be respectful after a loss or victory and the importance of being prepared to face either situation.”
Aside from teaching children how to be respectful team players that understand how the game effects their emotions, Jeffrey Katchmore says coaches have other responsibilities too. Kids won’t learn anything or enjoy playing if they don’t have fun. “Kids play sports because they want to have fun. Sometimes, you have to stand back as a coach, let the kids figure things out for themselves, and let the kids come to you for advice when they are ready,” says Jeffrey Katchmore.
In sensitive situations where children need to be corrected, Jeffrey Katchmore believes in being direct, but also sensitive. Young children can become emotional or feel they are being singled out if they’ve seen other players do something wrong without being reprimanded. Katchmore recommends talking to players and even their parents by offering compliments about what students do well in addition to the specific actions or attitudes a student player needs to correct.
For more information about coaching young students, Jeffrey Katchmore encourages coaches to read the following sources: