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Why Basketball Coaches Should Create a Handbook For Their Players and How To Do It

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Depending on the age of your athletes, there can be a lot of things going on in their lives.

As a result players will occasionally forget the offensive and defensive plays that you have installed or even worse the commitment that they made to the team at the beginning of the season.

One suggestion to help them remember all the necessary details while holding them accountable for their actions is to create a player handbook.

Now before you continue reading I want to debunk a few myths in regards to player handbooks. A handbook does not need to be extravagant or expensive. In fact all you really need is a one inch three ring binder that you can pick up at your local dollar store.

While you can choose to make these handbooks as complex or as basic as you desire, below are 6 sections that should be included in every one.

Team Information/Rules

The very first thing that should be included in a player's handbook is all relevant team information. This can vary from team to team depending on the age group and can include; program history, overall program philosophy and objectives, academic eligibility rules, substance policies, game schedule, social media policies and overall expectations.

Practice Schedule

As a player, one of the most reoccurring thoughts is what time is practice? At many schools, teams do not have the luxury of having a set practice time because they have to share the gym with other teams and with other school activities. Including a day by day practice schedule in a calendar format should eliminate any confusion. If you have open gyms, weight lifting sessions or even conditioning practices in the pre season include these as well.

Contact Information

Since communication is crucial to the success of any team or organization, the handbook should include a page of detailed contact information for players, coaches and administrative personnel. If you are fortunate enough to have an athletic trainer then his contact information absolutely needs to be included.

When possible include home phone numbers, cell phone numbers, and email addresses for all team members. It should be written in the handbook that contact information should not be shared with anyone not involved with the team.

Offensive Plays

This will probably be the area most used by your players, especially in the early stages of the season since it will help them remember all the necessary movements that each offensive set requires. This section should include all out of bounds plays, quick hitters and any motion sets that your team is going to run. If your budget allows it, software programs such as Fast Draw work great for giving your plays a professional look.

Scouting Reports

Depending on your level of competition, scouting reports may want to be considered. These reports can be simple one page handouts or can be extremely detailed and complex. You may also want to include space so the players can include their own hand written notes on upcoming opponents.


The last section that every player handbook should include is a list of goals. At the beginning of your season have each player write down at least two or three individual goals and at least two or three team goals and file them in the back of their handbook. Along with the goals should be a detailed plan of action outlining how to achieve each of them. Studies have shown that when people write down their goals they are far more likely to achieve them then those who do not.

These goals should be constantly reviewed and any goal that is accomplished over the course of the season should immediately be replaced by a new one.

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