Tips for Teachers on How to Become a High School Basketball Coach

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Dead Ball Foul

Learn how to become a high school basketball coach before it’s too late:

“Mr. Tompkins! Mr. Tompkins!” I shouted. “I know you’re here. It’s time to go home. You’ve been here for 13 hours. Principal Macready is worried about you.” I heard rustling in the corner. I found Mr. Tompkins, unconscious, underneath a pile of ungraded essays. His face lily-white, hands stained with ink, shirt covered with ketchup.

He was dead.

I uncovered his diary: I’m really in a rut. All I do is grade essays and fill out paper work. I haven’t seen my family in weeks. I need variety. I like basketball, but I don’t know how to become a high school basketball coach. If only someone could tell me how to become a high school basketball coach, I could get out of my rut.

It’s too late for Tompkins, but not for you.


Before you do anything rash, make sure you’re willing to commit the time and energy necessary. Coaching at the high school level requires 2 hours of daily practice and two games per week. This includes varsity and junior varsity basketball. If you feel up to the commitment, talk it over with your family. Coaching without family support will end in disaster. In addition, you need to know something about the game. The more experience you have the better. Once you decide you want to do it, it’s time to learn how to become a high school basketball coach.

Most schools are in desperate need of coaches. Introduce yourself to the head coach at your school and ask him if he needs help. You will most likely be asked to help out on a volunteer basis. If, however, you have experience playing at the high school level or previous coaching experience, you may get assigned as an assistant or a lower level coach.

Getting Started

Chances are you’ll have to start small. Take advantage of opportunities to learn. Ask questions. Read books. Shadow more experienced coaches. Coaching clinics are held throughout the country on a regular basis. One of the more rewarding experiences I had as a coach was attending a clinic and hearing from Mike Krzyszewski, Dave Odom, Roy Williams, and other nationally recognized coaches.

Once you begin coaching, you’ll watch the games differently. TV games often have former coaches as analysts. Listen to what they say. Attend games with other coaches and listen to them. I learned more from sitting next to a 30 year veteran high school coach at a college game than I learned from every book I’d ever read on the subject. Anyone who wants to learn how to coach can.

There won’t always be a coaching position available at the school you teach at. What do you do, then, if you still want to coach? There are several alternatives. One would be to check at the middle school that feeds your high school. It’s probably close to your school and it gives you the upper hand when a job does become available.

If you prefer not to coach at the middle school level, send your resume to other area high schools. If you still don’t find something desirable, network. Get to know coaches. Go to meetings and clinics and let them know you’re available and willing to help out. Remember, all you need to do is get a foot in the door.