As a youth basketball coach you have the responsibility to teach kids the fundamentals of the game, while also helping them to learn and love the game of basketball. Youth basketball coaches walk a fine line in coaching, because kids need to have fun playing the game, but they also need to develop as players.
It is also a key time in their young playing careers because they can really set themselves apart from other kids their age or fall behind. There are a lot of basketball drills out there and it is hard to decide what drills you should use for younger kids.
You want a basketball drill that is going to challenge the kids but not be too difficult, it also has to be somewhat of a fun drill. The goal of this article is to provide you with some tips about youth basketball drills as well as provide a list of good basketball drills for younger kids.
If you have younger players that are not strong enough to shoot the right way on a ten foot hoop then you need to practice on an adjustable hoop that you can lower. It is counter productive to shoot on a ten foot hoop if the players have to launch the ball from their hip to get it up there.
This will only teach bad form and really set them back as they get older. Use a smaller ball and lower hoop to practice shooting. If you do not have a hoop that can lower stay away from shooting and focus on layups, dribbling, and passing.
- 3 Level From Shooting Drill This drill is great for teaching the proper mechanics of shooting and getting a good amount of repetitions. If the player is not strong enough to shoot 3's then only go out to the mid range.
- Ray Allen Curl Shooting Drill A lot of young players don't understand how to move without the ball and shoot off of screens. This is a great drill to teach how to read a defender and also to practice good footwork.
- Ray Allen Straight Cut Shooting Drill This is another great drill for working on footwork and reading the defender. It is important to be able to shoot in a variety of ways. Really focus on teach the proper footwork, don't let the players drift back on the shot, and have them over emphasize their follow through. If they are not strong enough to shoot 3's have them cut out to the mid range.
- Ray Allen Fade Cut Shooting Drill Being able to read the defender and to decide whether to curl, straight cut, or fade cut takes time and practice. If young players can learn this at an early age it will set them up to be successful later on in their playing careers.
- 2 Minute Magic Basketball Shooting Drill This is a great drill because it allows you to get up a lot of shots and focus on form, but it also puts a little pressure on the shooter. If you the player isn't strong enough to shoot 3's then have them shoot mid range shots. Also if you want instead of having to make 3 shots in a row from each spot you can choose to only have to make 2 in a row from each spot.
I cannot tell you how many younger kids I see dribbling a basketball with their eyes down or are only able to really dribble with their dominant hand. The reason they do this is because they were not corrected at an early age and now it is a bad habit.
As a youth coach it is key that you correct your players when you see them doing stuff the wrong way. You are responsible for the basketball foundation for many of these players. Here are some great ball handling drills for younger kids.
One Basketball Dribbling Drills
- Basketball Slaps
- Low Dribble Drill
- Windshield Wipers Dribbling Drill
- Side Windshield Wipers Dribbling Drill
- Figure 8 no Dribble Drill
Two Basketball Dribbling Drills
- 2 Ball Pound
- High/Low 2 Ball Pound
- 3 Dribble Crossover Drill
- Double Windshield Wipers
- Alternating Pound
Tennis Ball Dribbling Drills
- 3 Dribble Toss Crossover
- 3 Dribble Toss Between the Legs
- In and Outs
- Pound Toss
- Windshield Wiper Toss
Being able to pass the ball the right way and on time is a fundamental that most younger kids are lacking today. When a first time youth basketball player gets pressured his/her first response is to pick up the ball and cover it.
As the coach you need to explain and teach them how to pass the ball to the open teammate. Here are some good passing drills that they can do to to help learn the fundamentals of passing.
- Chest Pass Drill
- Bounce Pass Drill
- Wrap Around Pass Drill
- Pass Fake Partner Passing Drill
- 2 Basketballs Partner Passing Drill
As a coach you are never going to be perfect and all you can do is give your best. Coaching kids can be very rewarding, especially when you know that you are creating a lasting love for the game and also helping them become better players. Be the best coach that you can be and give your kids the tools that they need to achieve their full potential.