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December 24, 2017

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By Andrew Jantke | 10 Principles for a Successful Youth Coach

October 8, 2017


Pictured: East Coast Challenge 2015 with South Australia High Performance program.  Never take for granted the privilege to work with talented, committed, driven athletes.


What does success look like?


Is success holding trophies up?

Is it having happy players, with strong relationships with each other that love the game?

What does it look like?


Before I go through the 10 Principles for Successful Youth Coaches I want to define the word success in this context.  I have coached teams that have won MANY games and I have also coached teams that have struggled to win.  I have loved coaching every single team, can't think of one I did not, there are many individuals I coached, or coached with, I am proud of and consider friends to this day. 


Holistically and collectively, perhaps no team I've been fortunate to coach so far will compete with the success we had with my u18s on and off the floor at Sturt in 2014/15.  That is not about wins/losses (50-3 for the year) that year.  There have been some great teams and success with teams that had the win/loss columns reversed. I think if you base success purely on wins/losses as a youth coach you are going to be dependent largely on the talent you are lucky enough to be given.  The success of this team is in the degree to which the men in the team collectively met the 3 success criteria I highlight below.  In that team we have 5 guys that played junior basketball for Australia, including 2 that went to the CoE, 5 division 1 NCAA College prospects (3 have already committed), 1 AFL top 50 draft pick, a player on an academic scholarship at Bond University, another at one of the top prep schools in the USA, another studying law here in Adelaide and even a guy travelling the world as a renowned male model.  Since then each one of them I have asked all say playing that year was their best year of junior basketball.  We all keep in touch and they are great quality men from what I can see.  Driven, hardworking, good team men.  They are resilient, all facing various challenges (be it tall poppy syndrome, overwhelming workloads, living in the public eye, leaving home etc), committed.  That's success.  Not the 50-3 record that year.