How To Improve On-Court Communication With Your Teammates
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How To Improve On-Court Communication With Your Teammates

By Kaitlyn Fedor

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Effective communication is vital to the success of every unit or team. This is especially true in basketball. Plays happen at a quick, frenetic pace. Players and squads that master the art of solid on-court communication often stand a better chance of success. As a company that provides youth basketball training, it is important to Hoop Group that our players recognize to learn and improve their on-court communication skills.

Understand Any Given Situation

At a young age, the most effective communicator on the court is typically the coach. The coach’s responsibility is to guide their players and give instruction based on what they see and how plays develop. That being said, the coach's words only carry so much weight. To be successful, players must identify certain schemes and situations, understand how to react, and properly communicate that with their teammates. For example, when to switch on a screen or when to stay.

Voice Verbal Cues

On the court, players need constant communication on what they see, what they need and what they are doing so their teammates know how to react. However, this must be done discretely to not let your opponent know. Sometimes, mastering this skill might be tricky. Adopting specific verbal cues allows your team to effectively to communicate and direct each other without being predictable. This is most commonly seen by giving a set offense or defense a certain name. By doing so, the entire team understands what is happening and where they should be with a single word or phrase.

Ensure Communication is Relevant

One crucial point to convey is that all on-court communication must be relevant and constructive. For example, communicating what defense you are in is positive and relevant, but yelling at a teammate for a mistake can be damaging. Building a team language helps players communicate clearly and efficiently.

Communication Must Be Heard

Although all players should be vocal (especially on defense), coaches find it helpful to identify captains. Captains are responsible for communicating messages within the team and giving commands. During games, external issues such as crowd noise could make it difficult for teammates to converse with one another. Therefore, identifying specific players to give commands helps other players know where to look and who to listen to for direction.

Exchanges Should Be Positive

Communication between teammates should be positive. This does not mean that events like blown defensive assignments should be applauded. Positive communication means verbal exchanges are geared towards improving their play and helping one another better respond to given situations. Hostile communications only lead to negative emotions like fear, anger, resentment, and timidity, which could eventually yield poor on-court results.