The Jr. NBA Basketball League Beijing is an exciting new partnership between the National Basketball League (NBA), the Beijing Education Bureau and Beijing Sports Bureau, creating a competitive league for boys and girls aged 15 – 18 years old. The league features 30 Beijing high schools (boys) and 18 Beijing high schools (girls) that will be branded by a NBA team, competing in an 8-game season and culminating in a single game elimination playoffs to determine the Jr. NBA Basketball League Beijing champions. The Jr. NBA Basketball League Beijing format will mirror the NBA including a team selection, Conference finals and a Jr. NBA final being played in at MasterCard Center in Beijing.
The objective of the League is to leverage the excitement of the NBA and to inspire and engage more young people to participate in basketball by having a fun, positive first experience with the game. The League will also promote common NBA, Beijing Sports Bureau and Beijing Education Bureau values as well as encouraging physical activity and healthy living.
· Lead by example: As a participant in the Jr NBA League, you are the leader. Your attitude, effort, and actions will dictate those of the participants and everyone involved. Since the members will be following your lead, it is important to set a proper example for the entire league. Lead by example and preach the skills and attitude that you project yourself.
· Express a confident demeanor and project your voice: For coaches, your players/students are looking up to you. It is important that you are confident. Also, it is very important that your players/students understand the values of this league. The clearer and more concise the values, the easier it is for the members to understand and acknowledge them.
· When no one is watching: The league should keep the members involved through times when they are not taking part in a match – update them with news about performances of other teams, news from the world of basketball and the NBA league and teams they represent.
· Compete! But be a good sport: Competition is a part of the game of basketball and is healthy. However, it should never outweigh the importance of demonstrating character both on and off the court. Practice being good winners AND good losers.
Fairness: Treat everyone fairly. Remember this does not always mean treating everyone equally. Sometimes you will need to adapt your style to the individual personalities of your teammates and coaches, as some players will respond differently.
Continually reinforce the “values of the game”: Basketball as a sport has the power to change. Let the sport do the talking – players will see how the values on the court translate off the court
· Stress the importance of working together: Basketball is a team. The League, players, coaches, referees, fans and everyone that is involved in the game of basketball is a part of a team.
· Be accountable and hold others accountable: When you work as a team, you are one part of a machine. Each person needs to be accountable for what they are doing or the machine will break down. Highlight that accountability and working together is what keeps the engine working.
· Being part of a team means showing commitment and taking responsibility: When you commit, it is written in stone. Have your players keep their word, both on and off the court. Demand excellence in everything. And have them take responsibility for their actions, knowing their actions affect the team as a whole.
· It is a game so keep it fun! : Everyone should have fun when playing basketball. The league will be deemed a success only if everyone enjoys it.
· The three Es – Encouragement, Enthusiasm and Energy – are essential: Use encouragement and positive reinforcement as your primary method of motivating everyone. Try to make a conscious effort to stay positive. Enthusiasm is contagious and must come from everyone, especially the coach/teacher. And if you are energetic and excited, then your players will reflect that approaching the game with proper attitude and effort. Focus on effort and execution rather than outcomes.
Be patient! Learning the game, coaching takes time: No one is an expert and neither are you. Be patient with yourself, with your players, coaches and referees.
Respect the game, respect the rules and respect others: League must incorporate the concept of respect from the top down. Players need to realize that basketball is a team sports, they must follow the rules on and off the court, and they should show character when dealing with others.
· Be an ambassador of the game: The League must demonstrate all the values that NBA stands for. The values should be transferred to the players through the game of basketball.
· Be a student of the game: Coaches and players should strive to learn as much as possible about the game, including rules, strategies, and history. The game is always evolving, so the best players and coaches continue to study the game. Watch games, read about the game, talk to other coaches, and continue to grow your knowledge about the game. Developing your knowledge of the game will help guide your decisions as a coach.
· Share your knowledge: By building a solid foundation and sharing your knowledge with others, you will gain respect from others.
Keep it fun: Basketball is much easier to teach and play when everyone is having fun. Keep your everyone engaged using games and competitions. Make sure to balance fun with fundamentals!
Energy and enthusiasm: Enthusiasm is contagious and must come from the coach. If you are energetic and are excited about each part of practice (particularly the less “glamorous” elements of the game, such as defense, or hustling for a loose ball), then your players will reflect that enthusiasm and approach the game with proper attitude and effort. Focus on effort and execution rather than outcomes. Encourage your players for giving maximum effort, even if the play doesn’t completely go your way.
· Encouragement and positive reinforcement: Use encouragement and positive reinforcement as your primary method of motivating your players. Motivating players by focusing solely on mistakes or criticizing them will empty their “emotional tanks,” meaning that they will not respond to teaching after a certain point, or they will lose confidence and give up. Instead, try to make a conscious effort to stay positive and fill your players’ “emotional tanks” by complimenting them when they do something well or show improvement. Encourage your players to fill their teammates’ emotional tanks, too.
· Set expectations and engage parents: Make sure to clearly set ground rules and explain expectations from the beginning. If you can, try to conduct parent education meetings because it is essential to develop some sort of good relationship with players’ parent. These meetings can give you the coach the opportunity to explain and emphasize the program mission/goals, rules and regulations and parental expectations. If you cannot conduct meetings, write a letter explaining these elements and make sure each player gives the letter to their parents. Invite the parents to attend practices and be involved as much as possible in order to get their support for the program and see the good things you are doing both on and off the court.
· Fairness: Treat all your players fairly. Remember, however, that that this does not always mean treating every player equally. Sometimes you will need to adapt your coaching style to the individual personalities of your players, as some players will respond differently to different coaching methods.
· Values: Reinforce key values that will translate beyond basketball and into players’ lives: positive attitude, respect, sportsmanship, teamwork/unselfishness, commitment, accountability, work ethic, perseverance, etc. These values all fall under the broad umbrella of citizenship, and will have a positive impact both on and off the court.
· Emphasize good and healthy lifestyles: Everyone in the league should strive to be physically fit and healthy. Personal health and wellbeing is the fundamentals of positive attitude and happiness.
· Being healthy means smart decisions on and off the court: Physical health is important but both emotional and social health is significant as well. The values of the game can serve as pillars for making smarter decisions off the court.
IMPORTANT REMINDER – The basketball and leadership goals outlined in the practice sessions can be reused based upon adapted practice sessions. Work with the players to set different goals for different elements. For example, I can set a leadership goal to start one good habit and continue it daily for a set period. That same commitment goal can be utilized – just have the players start another good habit and continue to build positive habits, both on and off the court.