You are the coach of a 13-14 year old basketball team, and one team member who is very talented and is cnsidered to to be the best player has a poor attitude and apprach to you, umpires and fellow...

You are the coach of a 13-14 year old basketball team, and one team member who is very talented and is cnsidered to to be the best player has a poor attitude and apprach to you, umpires and fellow players and is increasingly negative and disruptive. Explain how the coach could handle this situation and give examples or scenarios to support the approach.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The focus of every coach should be able to convince the athletes they coach that they are capable of improvement and advancement.  Sometimes, that advancement is on the court in terms of developing and refining skills.  In basketball, these skills might be improving on shooting, playing tougher defense, or being able to execute complex offenses.  There are times when this advancement is in playing with the team and being able to handle adversity in a better manner.  This advancement can also be seen in controlling one's emotions to make other people better.  For the talented athlete, being able to see the value in playing "the team game" and representing the team in their play is where advancement and improvement is the primary motivation of the coach.  

For the coach of a gifted athlete who cannot channel their energies into the collective unit, this becomes the source of their instruction.  The coach who has a talented, but disruptive athlete has to work towards this end.  One approach might be holistic, in terms of stressing to the athlete that more is gained from sacrificing one's own personal ego for the good of the team.  Referring to the game's history might be effective to illuminate this lesson.  Jordan won his titles when he accepted Phil Jackon's emphasis on the triangle offense and giving up his own personal stature for the good of the team.  Another approach can be to establish a firm boundary with the athlete.  As great as the athlete is, the coach has to stand for something and this would translate to informing the athlete that the poor displays of attitude changes or there will be consequences in terms of playing tie.  The team and the gifted athlete have to recognize that this would not be an idle threat.  Sacrifice might have to be seen here.  The coach might have to sit the player when their poor attitude gets in the way of the team game.  A loss or two might be the result, but the coach has to be able to stand for the team and not the cost of one athlete.  It is at this point where being able to teach a young athlete that playing the game "the right way" might involve benching those who cannot embrace the team game in the coach's system.

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