Youth Coach on Changing Attitudes and Thoughts of Young Athletes

Hello Everyone,

I received this response from the post” The Necessary Art of Persuasion” by one of the best youth coaches, Colby Fuller.  He is THE coach who goes the extra mile, does the right thing, while not expecting or receiving the credit for the constant good work.  He is truly committed to youth sports and has proven this in motive and action.

The following commentary has years of playing and coaching wisdom, as well as, a great approach to teaching young athletes to think creatively for themselves. Enjoy.


Dear Stephen,

I find this one interesting. I don’t think for a moment that I’m smarter than a Harvard guy but I’ve tried and failed many times with trying to maintain control of the team but to introduce accountability in small doses. What I’ve found that works the best is flat out telling the team that have free reign to play how they think the game should be played. That usually meant pass as little as possible and shoot as much as possible. When trying this method we usually find ourselves behind on the scoreboard. At halftime or earlier if I just can’t stomach it anymore, I call a timeout and say we’ve tried it your way, it’s not working. Now try it mine. If we are good enough to get back in it and win, we talk about how there are times for creativity on the court and times for discipline. As you know I have no problem letting a player shoot, if they are open. So in our post game we talk about by playing within the system we set our opponent up for ad libbing later. I feel that this method has been the most successful in allowing them to think it is their decision to change the style and pace of the game. Small amounts of freedom has led to better choices on the court with the reward being more wins, better team play and now in most cases, the offense runs without a play being called. They just do it, make their own adjustments and have been way more successful. I preached this so many times, “what is the best option?” that they now are constantly moving without the ball and moving the ball at the same time. So in a nut shell,we’ve tricked them into thinking that they are making the choice. But by playing within the system, they’ve learned to adapt to a more free style of play.


Colby Fuller, Rogers MN Youth Basketball Coach

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