5 Ways to Train in the Off Season

Your child should absolutely embrace an offseason. Consistent and repetitive movements from sports can cause unnecessary wear and tear on young bodies. According to Healthline.com, athletes who play multiple sports with breaks in between sports see less injuries, less mental burden, and less burnout on sports all together. Instead of racing from one season to the next, taking time off and engaging in new and different training can be extremely beneficial for young athletes. Here are five ways to stay active and train during the offseason:

Set a Goal

Creating a goal to work towards when your child is not actively playing a sport can help keep them motivated. A goal may be to run faster, make a certain number of shots in a row, or even just to be active every day. It can be specific or broad, as long as it’s keeping them moving every day.

Have Fun

Training for young atheletes sholdn’t be a grind! Have some fun with it by creating an obstacle course. If an offseason goal is to improve the height of a vertical jump, create a course that requires jumping up, over, an around objects.

Create quick and efficient workouts using the Tabata method. Have your child choose 10 exercises. Using a stopwatch or Tabata app, do each exercise for 1 minute with a 10 second break in between each. Run through the exercises at least one time, or more if they like!

Try Something New

The offseason is the perfect time to try something new. Find a local gym or field that will let your child try out a sport for an afternoon. Or pick up some used equipment to enjoy in the backyard. Even new workout techniques like jumping rope or parkour is a great way to stay active and flex those mental muscles too.

Think About Opposing Muscles

Using the same muscle groups over and over can cause injury and or fatigue. The off season is the perfect time to work on strengthening opposing muscle groups. If your child plays baseball, have them work on movements that are the opposite of swinging and running, such as jumping and shooting a basketball instead. While it may seem counterintuitive, having strength overall is more beneficial for a young athlete.

AYB Academy

If your athlete is in need of some fun during their off season, AYB Academy is a great option. The AYB Academy has been developed to meet the needs of middle school and high school athletes, across teams, schools, and leagues. This revolutionary program, coached by former NBA and college coaches, will help players develop and learn outside of their team, giving them focused and personalized instruction. Small group, individual, and team programs are available and are in 5 session packages. Click below for more information and to register


13 Questions to Ask Your Child Athlete

There are many aspects of team sports for our kids. Not only are they learning and improving skills for the sport, they are also learning to navigate teammates, working as a team, competing, and learning from a coach rather than a parent or teachers. That said, there are ways to foster positive thought and conversation with your athlete to support them in the learning process.

  • How do you feel after that game/ practice?
  • Who played the best? Why?
  • Who was the best teammate out there today?
  • What was the best part of practice / game?
  • What is your favorite pump up song?
  • What skill do you feel the most confident in? Which do you feel the least confident in?
  • What are 3 things you’re most proud of from the game? * using numbers is a great way to stimulate thought!
  • What was the most challenging part of today’s game / practice?
  • How were you a good teammate today?
  • What did your coach say was important for the game / practice? Do you agree?
  • What are 2 things you could do to improve on your performance today?
  • Are you enjoying this sport? Why?
  • How do you want me to cheer for you at the game? *getting silly demonstrating how you might cheer can help lighten what could feel like a tough conversation

The most important part of asking these questions is listening to the answer. Being sure to really hear what your child is telling you can be challenging, but it will likely lead to bigger and better conversations because your athlete knows they can open up to you and be heard.

“You have to remember that the hard days are what make you stronger. The bad days make you realize what a good day is. If you never had any bad days, you would never have that sense of accomplishment!” – Aly Raisman


The Arcadia Youth Basketball Difference

We know parents have choices when it comes to where and for whom their kids play sports. Whether it’s through a for profit league, a city rec league, or even school athletics, each option is unique and brings pros and cons to the table. At Arcadia Youth Basketball, we set ourselves apart from other leagues in several ways – each one makes AYB different and we think that difference makes our league great for our players. Here’s how:

Professional Coaches

While most leagues and even school teams rely on parent volunteers to coach, AYB utilizes only professional coaches. We love our parents and we are grateful that they are willing to volunteer their time! But when it comes to teaching young athletes, many learn best when they learn from someone other than mom or dad. Our coaches are taught and also coached on how to best work with athletes of all ages, abilities, and skill levels. Professional coaching means that each player, no matter which coach they are working with, is getting the same level of instruction, encouragement, and skill application.

Set Game / Practice Times

Both of our leagues, Rec and Club, offer set game times and practice times, and all at the same location as well. While that might not seem like a big deal, giving our players and their families the ability to maintain a consistent schedule just makes life easier! In addition, our set times and location also makes being a multisport player and or a multi athlete family, a lot more manageable.

Separate Leagues

As we have developed our program at Arcadia Youth Basketball, we found that boys and girls learn and achieve in different environments. In addition, varying skill levels can intimidate some players. Which is why AYB separates male and female athletes in order to give each group of players the best and most supportive environment to learn.

Skill Building and Practice

Each week, our Rec league learns an additional skill and also builds upon the previous weeks’ skills. During weekly games, referees make calls more frequently as the season progresses, giving players lots of room to learn in a game setting. The result of this real life application of their weekly skill sets is that the players truly understand how to apply what they learn in practice in a game setting.

Register Today

League play is now open – register today! We are continuing to incorporate COVID-19 safety protocols to ensure player and coach protection. Visit our website to learn more.


Normalizing Failure; Why Learning How to Fail is Vital for Athletes

It took Diana Nyad 5 tries to swim from Cuba to Florida. And yet despite failing those four times, that’s not what she’s remembered for. Instead, she’s known for her perseverance – her ability to adapt her strategy and try again. As this is true for Diana, it’s often not the case for the rest of us. So often failure is seen as a negative and something to be ashamed of – this is especially true of our kids. But the reality is that failure can be one of the greatest teachers for our kids. Here’s why:

It Promotes Healthy Risk Taking

When our kids are afraid of something, they will do everything they can to avoid it. This is true in the physical sense, but also mentally too. Fearing failure, a child my lie to avoid having their failure discovered. Or they will avoid the task all together if they are afraid that they won’t succeed – which can mean missing out on fun and exciting opportunities.

Failure is Educational

The old adage of “learn from your mistakes” isn’t just a nice saying, it’s at the very core of why failure is a positive aspect of our lives. Learning to take time and reflect on a situation that didn’t go as planned, thinking about what went wrong and why, and then creating a solution is key to utilizing failure to the advantage. Instead of hiding away failure, normalize it through honest and open discussion free of judgement.

Builds Perseverance

Learning to stick with something, even when it’s challenging, has life long benefits. As parents, it’s often so much easier to not push our kids out of their comfort zone, or to save them from failure or frustration. But giving our kids the opportunity to grow in their perseverance has far reaching benefits in both athletics and education.

Encourages Empathy

It’s said that empathy is one of the hardest things to teach our kids and yet it’s also one of the most important. Learning how to feel what someone else is feeling can be a challenge. But when we’re able to see ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we’re able to experience meaningful interactions in a much deeper way. Great leaders, both on the field and off, are empathetic people. Being allowed to experience failure in a positive way helps to build empathy for teammates, peers, and others too.

Still Not Convinced?

Head over to your favorite search engine and type in “famous athlete failures”. Your screen will instantly be filled with stories of Usain Bolt coming in third in the World Championship 100 meter race, Serena Williams losing at the US Open, and John McEnroe at the French Open losing 5 straight sets. Each of the stories ends with a quote from the athlete about how that failure propelled them to their next win.


4 Things Not to Say to Your Child Athlete

Watching your child play sports can be thrilling, but it sometimes can leave a parent squinting through their fingers if their child isn’t having a great game, season, or even practice. In those tough situations, it can be hard to know what to say. Parents know their child best, but we can all use a little guidance when it comes to parenting an athlete. When it’s been a rough game, here are 4 topics to avoid – and what to focus on instead.

Don’t Ask Why

Challenging as it may be, asking your child to explain or justify their performance isn’t helpful. Just like at school, they’re still learning when it comes to sports. Mistakes will be made and that’s all part of the process.

Do ask how your child feels; how do they think the game went? Where could they / the team use improvement? What went right? What went wrong? How could it be fixed?

Leave the Official / Coach / Teammate Out of It

It can be easy to blame an official for a bad call, the coach for calling a good play, or a teammate for a botched play. But as the saying goes, there’s no “i” in team and blaming others isn’t productive.

Instead of blaming, focus on the fact that everyone is human and everyone makes mistakes, and that’s ok.

Don’t Overinflate Their Abilities

Continuously inflating your child’s abilities can be detrimental in two ways. First, it can build an ego that is difficult to coach. Second, some kids may feel that they are being held to an impossible standard.

Praising your child for their overtly great skills is important, but looking at other areas is helpful too. Sportsmanship, being a team player, not giving up, strong effort, etc are all important areas to praise as well.

Winning Isn’t The Only Goal

Over emphasizing winning can put undue pressure on young athletes. If an athlete is only focusing on winning, they may also be missing out on the other benefits of team sports.

Instead, try to focus on the experience. What did you enjoy most about practice? The game? The scrimmage? Follow up on what they liked best about those areas.

Want More?

Click over to our blog page to find more about youth sports and coaching young athletes.


How to Improve Hand Eye Coordination in Kids

You might not think about hand eye coordination very often, but the truth is that we use it far more often than we realize. From catching a ball, to reading music while playing an instrument, to writing on a page – all of these tasks require varying levels of hand eye coordination. Improving this skill is not only helpful in every day life, but also in sports. For our kids, improving hand eye coordination has far reaching benefits, one of which is enjoying sports more.

What is Hand Eye Coordination?

Hand Eye Coordination is the process in which an individual’s visual system conveys information from the eyes to be used to direct the movement of hands. It is demonstrated in both small, fine motor ways such as tying a shoe, and also in gross motor, large movements like catching or bouncing a ball. Being able to accomplish both big and small motor skills is first learned and then improved through repetition and practice.

How it Benefits Our Kids

From the time an infant is 6 months old, they are encouraged to grasp and pass objects between their hands. As they continue to grow, their hand eye skill set becomes larger and more refined; grasping at pieces of cereal leads to grasping a crayon and maneuvering it draw a picture.

For older children, hand eye coordination becomes more prevalent in youth sports. Being able to bounce, kick, hit, or grab a ball or other equipment is essential. While improving hand eye coordination is likely to make them better at a sport, improving it can also make that sport more enjoyable too. When frustration and anxiety are reduced, kids have a chance to have more fun with the sport.

Exercises to Improve Hand Eye Coordination

Like with most things in life, practice makes perfect! Repetition of any skill will build confidence and perfect motor skills. Keeping a positive attitude, even when the exercise is challenging, is key.

Balloon Bounce

Fill a balloon with air (not helium) and keep it in the air by bumping it, kicking it, tapping it, etc.

Pillow Fight

This silly game is actually a great way to practice and perfect hand eye coordination. Keep it fun and easy!

Catch (over and under throws)

Throw or roll a ball back and forth, varying the motion of the throw. Overhand, underhand, kicks or pushes, they all work to improve coordination.

Small Ball Dribble

Dribble a small ball, such as a tennis ball, with one hand. You can also alternate hands, or use the non dominate hand too.

Balance Beam

This can be as simple as a line drawn on the ground, a short beam to walk on, or even a small wall for those that are up to the challenge!


Missing P.E.? Arcadia Youth Basketball Has You Covered

Do you see a big difference in your child when he or she is active in a sport? That’s not a coincidence. When our bodies are active, there are a plethora of health benefits, including chemical changes that put us in a better mood – and that includes our young athletes too. With many students beginning this school year through distance learning, coupled with the extreme heat we’ve seen this summer, there can be a severe lack of movement in our kids. Good news- we’ve got some great ideas to get your kids moving and the endorphins flowing!

DIY Tabata

A Tabata is a form of High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. Don’t be scared! This cardiovascular exercise strategy alternates short periods of intense, anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods. For this workout, the exercise portion is 20 seconds long with a 10 second rest before the next exercise. This pattern is repeated for a total of 4 minutes, or one Tabata round.

For kids, Tabata workouts move so quickly, they don’t have time to lose interest! Also letting your child design their own workout helps to keep their attention. Aim for two, 4 minute round Tabatas to start and add on as your child would like. They can repeat exercises, or choose a different move for each 20 second burst.

Here is a 1 Round Tabata example:
  • 20 seconds: Jumping jacks
  • ten-second rest
  • 20 seconds: Push-ups
  • ten-second rest
  • 20 seconds: Speed skaters
  • ten-second rest
  • 20 seconds: Plank jacks
  • ten-second rest
  • 20 seconds: Sit-ups
  • ten-second rest
  • 20 seconds: Lunges
  • ten-second rest
  • 20 seconds: Supermans
  • ten-second rest
  • 20 seconds: Plank
  • DONE!

Basketball Drills

No hoop necessary for these basketball drills (ok, except for the shooting drills)! Improve ball handling with these stationary, dribbling, and shooting skills.

Ball Handling / Dribbling Drills

Stationary Drills:

  • 50 Right Hand Dribbles below knee
  • 50 Right Hand Dribbles above knee
  • 50 Left Hand Dribbles below knee
  • 50 Left Hand Dribbles above knee
  • 50 Crossover (Switching hands)


  • Dribble around your right leg only with your right hand 10x
  • Dribble around your left leg only with your left hand 10x
  • Moving Dribbling DrillsDribble forward 5 steps dribbling with Right Hand, then dribble backward 5 steps with Right Hand (Repeat 5 times)
  • Dribble forward 5 steps dribbling with Left Hand, then dribble backward 5 steps with Left Hand (Repeat 5 times)


  • 25 Shots from right side 5 ft away
  • 25 Shots from left side 5ft away
  • 25 Shots from straight away 8-10ft away
  • 25 Shots moving from right side to left side 8-10ft away

Register Today

Club play begins on September 9th! Click here to register. Girls Small Group Sessions Saturdays from 9-10am and Wednesdays from 3:15pm-4:15pm start September 5th. Email arcadiayouthbasketballaz@gmail.com to register.


4 Mental Health Benefits of Team Sports for Young Athletes

It’s easy to recognize team sports as a benefit for our kids when it comes to physical health. But there are profound mental health benefits for kids who regularly play team sports as well. Studies have shown that exercise in general is beneficial for mental health for both kids and adults, but there are additional benefits when a team aspect is added to physical activity. Here are 4 mental health benefits of team sports for young athletes:

Stress and Mood

Our brains release endorphins – a chemical hormone that makes us feel good- when we exercise. In addition to boosting our moods, endorphins also help to reduce blood pressure, stress, and depression. This reaction is strong in young athletes and the benefits of an improved mood and attitude are far-reaching.


Having an authority figure outside of parents is a huge win for young athletes. Learning how to respect and work with an adult, outside of the safety net of their parents, sets children up for success later in life when they will be consistently navigating different authority figures.

Support and Belonging

Along with endorphins, there is a feel-good boost that comes from belonging to something. Being a part of a team, and having the support of teammates contributes to mental and emotional health.

Control through Self Discipline

In an ever-changing world that feels often chaotic, a team sport can give our children a sense of control through self-discipline. Learning how to fuel their body through nutrition, rest, and recovery, as well as organizing themselves to prepare for practice and or games is an important skill and gives them a sense of order in a disorganized time.

How Arcadia Youth Basketball Can Help

AYB offers both Rec and Club leagues for athletes of all skill levels. During this time where social distancing is a must, we are offering small group sessions to keep skill sets improving and encourage movement and overall health of our athletes. Click over to our registration page to find out more.


Is Your Child Playing More Than One Sport? Find Out Why They Should Be.

In today’s world of youth sports, it can feel like if your child hasn’t specialized in a sport before 5th grade, they’re all but washed up. But the reality is, only playing one sport, season after season and year after year, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, many health professionals agree that kids need to play organized sports, non organized (i.e. ride their bikes for fun), and get a variety of each. The developmental benefits of being a multi sport player come in several forms:


From a physical prospective, specializing in one sport can have negative effects on a child’s growing body. Overuse injuries are common among kids playing the same sport season after season. However, being active in several different areas allows for a greater variety of motor skill and muscle development and growth. For example, playing soccer can increase speed for the basketball court. Sports that require different muscle groups and coordination are ideal combinations for multi-sport athletes.


It can be easy to forget about the emotional side of sports. But growth for many athletes happens on the mental side just as much as the physical. Being a multi-sport athlete allows players to not only learn to thrive in different environments, but also how to work with different coaches and teammates too. Adapting to new things is a huge lesson for kids to learn and often a field or court is the perfect place to do so.

In addition, preventing sports burn out is just as important. If an athlete is only exposed to one sport, one team, one coach, and they don’t like one of those factors, it can be enough to turn them off to that sport, or sports all together. Giving them a variety of options and environments to try may be just the thing to keep them in the game.

How Arcadia Youth Basketball Can Help

While it may seem like a great idea to have your child play multiple sports, doing so can be a huge commitment for families – especially those with multiple kids. At AYB, we encourage our athletes to play multiple sports, and we make it possible for families with set practice and game times, and a set location for our rec league, making navigating more than one sport at a time a greater possibility.

If you’re still not convinced, consider this; Michael Jordan didn’t pick up a basketball until he was in high school. Not only that, he was cut the first season he tried out. That loss pushed him to improve his skills and make the varsity team the following year and the rest is history. And while his Major League career didn’t work out, he had developed the skills to make the Double-A team.


1 on 1 and Getting Ready for Summer Camps and Leagues

From all of us at Arcadia Youth Basketball, we hope you are staying safe and healthy. And we are missing our players! We are very much looking forward to getting back to normal, even if it’s a new normal – more on that below. Last but not least, we have some links to great videos on ball handling drills to do at home.

1 on 1 Coaching

While we are all waiting out the stay at home restrictions, Arcadia Youth Basketball is excited to offer 1 on 1 coaching at your home or at the Monte Vista Church Gym. This will be a no contact, and socially distant session, keeping coaches and players safe while getting skills sharp! The cost is $40/hour – be sure to contact us ASAP as there are limited spaces available.

New Safety Policies for All AYB Players

We can’t wait until we can open the gym doors again for summer camp! We will be adhering to CDC guidelines to create a safe environment for our players. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Basketballs
    • Players will bring their own ball.
    • If need be, AYB will loan a player a sanitized ball for the session that will not be shared during that session.
    • All AYB basketballs will be sanitized after every session.
  2. Drop Off and Pick Up
    • All players will be dropped off in front entrance (West side of the Gym).
    • All players will be picked up in the back of the gym (East side of the Gym).
  3. Hand Sanitizer
    • All players will be required to clean their hands with hand sanitizer when they enter the gym and after every water break.
  4. Parents
    • Parents will be able to wait outside in the patio area or in their cars, no parents will be admitted into the gym.
  5. Water Bottles
    • We will have table set up outside for water bottles and water breaks.

Camp and Summer Rec League Information

We are planning to kick off summer camp in June -dates, cost, and sign up link are below (Subject to change based on CDC and Government regulations and guidelines). We will also be hosting a Summer Rec League in July on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. We will send out an update with times soon.


– Club Level is for players currently in our Club Program Only

Week  1: June 8 – 11 (Limited to 25 per Session)

– Morning Session 8:30am – 11:30am (Rec Level)

– Afternoon Session 1:00pm – 4:00pm (Club Level)

Week  2: June 15 – 18 (Limited to 25 per Session)

– Morning Session 8:30am – 11:30am (Rec Level)

– Afternoon Session 1:00pm – 4:00pm (Club Level)

Week  3: June 22 -25 (Limited to 25 per Session)

– Morning Session 8:30am – 11:30am (Rec Level)

– Afternoon Session 1:00pm – 4:00pm (Club Level)

Week  4: June 29 – July 2 (Limited to 25 per Session)

– Morning Session 8:30am – 11:30am (Rec Level)

– Afternoon Session 1:00pm – 4:00pm (Club Level)

Week  5: July 6 – July 9 (Limited to 25 per Session)

– Morning Session 8:30am – 11:30am (Rec Level)

Week  6: July 13 – July 16 (Limited to 25 per Session)

– Morning Session 8:30am – 11:30am (Rec Level)


2nd – 8th Grade, Boys and Girls (Grade for the 20/21 School Year)


Monte Vista Church (3313 N. 40th St.)


1 Week – $150

2 Weeks – $275

3 Weeks – $375

4 Weeks – $475

5 Weeks – $575

Register Here


AYB Spring Update: Stay Home and Stay Active!

AYB is complying with social distancing guidelines and therefore we have halted all league play at this time. Which means we are missing our players and our coaches! While this time is challenging, we believe it we all participate in staying home now, it will allow all our players to come back together sooner.

Stay Active

In the meantime, we have put together some great videos with drills that your kids can work on while at home. No hoops necessary! Just a ball and some room to work. These skills are great for improving ball handling, shooting and overall skill.

The videos are quick and easy to follow making them the perfect way to break up a day of distance learning at home. Build some ball time into your daily schedule to keep your athletes busy, get some energy out, and improve ball handling too.

Be sure and tag @arcadiayouthbball in your posts! We’d love to see players hard at work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_4NFOSxTDEdaily drills

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESo9MQsSdDg ball handling

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v14R_DnP8J4 – ball handling

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQYrYaY1chk no basket needed


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk6f_WUpdys5 exercises Everyday

Help Our Community

We are grateful for Monte Vista Church and we want to support them and their community outreach during these difficult times. Monte Vista Church is collecting nonperishable and paper goods every Thursday from 2-4pm to give out to the less fortunate in our community through the month of May. Feel free to drop off goods or go to their website (www.achurchthatloves.org/give) to help the people that need it at this time.

Save the Date! Summer Camp Dates:

June 8 – 11 morning and afternoon sessions

June 15 – 18 morning and afternoon sessions

June 29 – July 2 (new dates!) morning only

July 6 – 9 (new dates!) morning only


Getting the Fun Back in Fundamentals; Arcadia Youth Basketball

Arcadia Youth Basketball was founded on two things; fundamentals and fun. We believe that when there’s less pressure, kids learn better. Which is why in 2018, our founder, Matt Gordon stepped away from coaching at Phoenix College to establish and grow Arcadia Youth Basketball in the heart of the Arcadia neighborhood.

Why AYB?

What makes AYB so different? In addition to being a skills based program, AYB is a coach run organization. Meaning all of our coaches are former college players and coaches, rather than parent volunteers. While we love our parents, not all coaches are created equal. By employing our own coaches, we’re able to offer a high standard of coaching that is not only effective, but incredibly enjoyable for our athletes.

Our practices are run like skills sessions, being sure that players learn the basics that will serve them throughout their playing years. Our coaches bring real world experience, organization, high standards, and fun to our young athletes during practices.

Recreational League

There’s nothing worse than the intimidation factor of trying something new. Our Rec League is the perfect place to start when you want to introduce your child to basketball. Rec League is designed to teach our athletes about basketball through basic skills and play – to – learn style games. Our coaches who run practice also referee the weekly games, taking care to coach as well as referee. Each week the skills learned in practice are reinforced during the games. Fouls, double dribbles, and traveling are called with more frequency each week, being sure to teach players throughout the game.

One thing we learned after our inaugural season was that our female athletes weren’t enjoying the environment. We decided to form an exclusive girl’s league where our female athletes can learn together. That one change turned our girls program from just a few players, to over 35 in our last season! The girls practice together and rotate through the same skill stations as the boys, but now have the space to socialize and learn together. These young ladies are excited about basketball and have the space to improve their skills.

Club League

In 2016, we started our Club Program that offers a more competitive environment for athletes ready to move on to the next level. Just like our Rec League, the Club Program is run by former college coaches and athletes throughout the three levels of play. We offer a developmental, intermediate, and advanced level teams with four 10u teams, two 12u teams, and one 14u team. Our Club Program is run in a league from the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association, who’s mission closely aligns with the AYB mission to create a fun, competitive learning environment for our athletes. All three levels of the Club Program play in three leagues a year, and 3-4 tournaments a year. While our schedule for the Club Program is impressive, it still allows for our players to easily participate in more than one sport.

Ready to Play

Ready to hit the court? Our Rec League runs four times a year; Summer – Spring, skills sessions Fall – Spring, and summer camp all of June. Our camp has grown from just 25 kids to over 100 this past season! A packed house means more games and fun for our campers so sign up early to reserve your spot.

The Importance of the Player & Coach Relationship

It can be easy to overlook the value of the coach and player relationship, especially with younger athletes. They’re just learning how to play, as long as the coach is showing up and teaching them that’s all that matters, right? The truth is, how the coaches show up for their athletes plays a huge role in the formation of not only the athlete’s physical skills, but in their mental and emotional growth as well.

While there are many ways in which a coach can influence a player, the overarching thought is that a effective coach will lead with empathy, open communication, and positive reinforcement. In this brand of coaching, there are several areas that are fostered which are vital to building strong relationships throughout life.


When a player can trust their coach, they are less likely to recent decisions like playing time and the filling of positions. Beyond the playing field, learning how to trust other is an important relationship skill. Note that it does not say blind trust! Players and coaches can have open communication where a player can ask questions and clarification, but ultimately know that the trust they have for their coach should prevail.

Respect for Authority

In the same vein as open communication, learning how to communicate with coaches in a respectful and collaborative way is beneficial throughout life. If a player doesn’t respect a coach enough to know when is an appropriate time to discuss an issue, or to take criticism effectively, it makes learning to work with other authority figures throughout their life.


Coaching both individuals athletes and then each as a team is a challenge most coaches face. When there is a strong coach and player relationship, athletes are more likely to play well as a team because the important element of a strong leader of the team is in place. When every player trusts their coach, it’s easier to trust their teammates.


It is said that empathy – or the “ability to put oneself in another person’s place” – is one of the hardest emotions to teach. When the coach and player relationship is built on empathy, there is a level of understanding and confidence that is fostered. And those two aspects support the growth of a healthy and meaningful relationship.

The AYB Difference

At Arcadia Youth Basketball, we take the coaching side of basketball very seriously. We believe that the best way for young athletes to learn is through the guidance of professional coaches. Our specially trained coaches offer each player consistent, fun, and high quality athletic education. This allows each player to grow at their own pace with dependable support from their coach.

Why Winning Isn’t Everything; Four Learned Skills that are More Important

As parents, watching our kids try and fail can be rough. Standing on the sidelines and cheering for a team that loses every. Single. Game. Can get old quickly. And if we think watching a team lose is hard, we can imagine what it’s like for our kids who are on the losing team. But, there is so much more to losing! When it comes to our kids, it’s important to remember that winning isn’t everything and that losing can actually teach us quite a lot. Here are four factors of youth sports that are more important than winning.


Being able to keep working, even when there are obstacles, is an important lesson for adult life. Youth sports are the perfect place for kids to learn how to persevere in a safe place and space. If your child “fails” at a sport, encourage them to keep trying. Normalize failure as a tool to gain and improve skills.


Beyond sports and school, we all have to work with others as adults. Not everyone works the same way or the same speed and learning how to navigate those types of scenarios is important. Playing a youth sport gives kids exposure to learn this all-important skill.

Self Discipline

Improving a skill takes work. Developing strong self-discipline will help your child as they continue to play sports, through school, and in adult life as well. Learning to be self-driven to accomplish tasks, especially challenging ones, will serve them well throughout life.


Let’s face it, losing a soccer game at 8 years old is not the last time your child is going to lose. Learning to lose with grace, rather than indignation, is an important life skill. Learning to accept that that losing comes naturally whenever you are participating in anything in life is important.

Our Attitude Speaks Volumes

As parents, it’s not only important that we teach our kids that winning isn’t the most important part of sports, we have to model it as well.

  • Being encouraging to your own child’s team as well as the opposing team
  • Normalize losing and focus on where our athletes need support
  • Emphasize hard work and willingness to try
  • When mistakes are made, encourage them to try again rather than shy away. Practice makes perfect.
  • Encourage well-rounded athletes; counter muscular movement, running, strength training, stretching, etc.
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