What does it take to be a winning youth coach? Listen in as Coach Ray Lokar shares stories and discusses his journey to becoming a successful youth sports coach.
Ray Lokar is the Director of Basketball4ALL (basketball4ALL.net), which provides a variety of lessons, camps, clinics, competitions, and events for the benefit of the Southern California basketball community. Coach Lokar was the Head Basketball Coach of the 2002 CIF Champions while at Bishop Amat High School led St Anthony High School to the semi-finals, Western Christian High School to the quarterfinals, made 4 NCAA tournament appearances in his 9 years as an assistant coach at Pomona-Pitzer College and is a Past-President of the Southern California Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association.
Always an advocate for the multi-sport athlete, “Coach Lok” coaches baseball at Covina High School and has two DVD series titled “The Fundamentals Factory” and “Effective Practice Planning” for both basketball and baseball that are available at ChampionshipProductions.com. Ray’s book “101 BasketballTips”, published by Lifetips as part of their Lifetips Book Series, is available at Amazon.com and his eBook titled “Creating Confident and Coachable Players” can be found on his website, basketball4ALL.net, where you can also book his sport-specific “Gold Standard Coaching” clinics. Lokar also serves as the Southern California Lead Trainer for the nationally renowned Positive Coaching Alliance (positivecoach.org) that provides tremendous resources for everyone in youth and high school sports. He has spoken for hundreds of organizations in over a dozen States on ethics in sports, peak performance, getting the most out of your players, and being a good Sports Parent.
For over 30 years Coach “Lok” has taught basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, football, swimming and track in the San Gabriel Valley at the youth, high school, and college levels and has worked countless camps and clinics during that time for ages 8-18. He coached his children Shawn, Heather, and Brittany throughout their participation in youth and high school sports and they each went on to compete at the college level. Ray enjoyed it so much he is doing it all again with his young son, Tyler, who he hopes learns all the same life lessons as his older brothers and sisters.
- ‘When you take the time to teach your boys, there’s an implied confidence, that you believe they can achieve, and that’s praise in itself” – Coach John Wooden
Coaching Your Own Kids
- Remember often kids like things their team’s name being the RoboSox as much as the wins/losses
- Before volunteering to coach – make sure to ask your kid if they want you to be their coach
- Err on the side of being a little tougher on your own kid- but communicate continually with your child, explaining to him why you are doing what you’re doing
My Cringe & ‘Ah-Ha’ Moments
- Early on – Coach Lok would start his coaching points being critical – after listening to a Coach Wooden observation, he started focusing on spending more time praising little successes and less time being critical
- Coach each game possession by possession
Teaching Children & Keeping it Fun
- Kids respond to recognition and rewards (think about kids in a classroom who will do anything for a sticker)
HUGE IDEA #1
- Your results will come from what you measure, recognize, and reward
Mental Peak Performance
HUGE IDEA #2
- WIN – Whats Important Now – In high pressure situations – have the kids focus on ONE thing that is important(i.e. hold your follow through) – don’t tell them more than one thing or their head will be swimming with too many concerns
- Advice from Larry Brown: ‘I don’t have a lot of rules, but I have a lot of suggestions’ – If you make any hardfast rules – you have to enforce them – so be careful making too many rules, especially because each individual situation is usually very different.
- When things tend to go bad – the tendency is to crack down on the bad stuff – but often if you start praising more the kids doing it right – the rest will come along. You can even come up with a rewards program for rewarding good behaviors.
- You often won’t know the impact you’re having until years later: when John Wooden was asked if the season was a success: ‘We’ll find out in 20 years’
- Coach Lok tries to draft at least 1 kid each year who is a little challenged and he could impact
- Biggest challenge to mom/dad coaches – Make them love the game so they keep playing. ‘Don’t ever be any kid’s last coach’
- Be careful about talking about end-of-the-year goals of winning a championship – you want to focus on winning each game, one play at a time
- Jim Thompson, founder of Positive Coaching Alliance – ‘The heat that competition provides is crucial to the recipe of success’
- Nelson Mandela – ‘Sports speaks to our youth in a language they understand’
The One that Got Away
- Coach Lok went against his gut – in a game-winning situation – he didn’t let his son (who was his best player) take the shot – he was too worried about the perception from the parents. When you’re the coach – you need to separate out emotions and do what’s best.
- Books – anything by Coach Wooden
- Coach Wooden stories:
- Coach Lok asked Wooden about Wooden’s lack of verbal praise for his players: ‘When you take the time to teach your boys, there’s an implied confidence, that you believe they can achieve, and that’s praise in itself’
- Coach Wooden talked about a player he kicked off the team for smoking – the kid quit school and didn’t go to college. Coach Wooden said from that point on, he always thought about the consequences of his consequences.
Positive Coaching Alliance/ Basketball4ALL.net
- Coach Lok is involved with the Positive Coaching Alliance – Their Double Goal Coaching material is a great starting place for a coach at any level
- Coach also provides great resources for basketball coaches at Basketball4ALL.net
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