Basketball Fundamentals for Coaches

Basketball Fundamentals

The more you can teach your basketball players the fundamentals of the game, the stronger of a foundation they will have to build their skills on. Basketball fundamentals are critical for any player’s success, so it only makes sense for you as a coach to take the time needed to work on your player’s fundamentals.

Regardless of the age or position of the players you are working with, it is never too early or late to lock in on the fundamentals of different movements on the court. Mastery of a skill is what separates the greats from everyone else.

This article will highlight a number of great basketball fundamentals that you can focus on with your team, but if you want full access to all of the different training videos that we offer, make sure to check out the Basketball HQ Coaching App.



The Importance of Basketball Fundamentals

As a basketball coach, it is your job to spot deficiencies in your player’s games. The better you can do this, the better you will be able to help them improve. However, that is just the first part of it. The second part is equally important. Along with recognizing that they are not doing something correctly, you also need to teach them what they should be doing.

These two parts are going to be the keys to maximizing player development in basketball. One without the other won’t get much done. The basketball drills in this section are all going to breakdown, in detail, different basketball skills. An expert coach will explain all the details of the move, and a player will demonstrate it. This will allow you to be better able to see all of the teaching points.

Along with demonstrating each move, the coach will talk about when the move should be used. This will help you to be better able to teach your players everything about the move.



Basketball Fundamentals Teaching Points

When watching and using these basketball fundamentals, make sure that you lock in on these teaching points. They will help you make the most of each move. This is important because, as mentioned earlier, the better you can understand each move’s details and when to use it, the more effective it will be for you with your basketball team as a coach.


Study Each Move

When it comes to learning something new, you must spend the needed time studying it. These basketball training videos will be full of helpful tips for each move, so don’t just glance over the video. Spend time learning and studying the different tips and tricks for each move. It will take longer at the beginning, but it will pay dividends later on when you are teaching the different moves to your players.


Refresh on a Move if Needed

Along with studying it well the first time, you may need to look back on the basketball fundamentals in each video from time to time. If something doesn’t look quite right with a move, watch the video again and refresh yourself on the teaching points. This is going to be especially important the first few times a player is executing a move.


Quality Repetitions

After learning how to make a specific move, the next step is repetition. To master a move, a player must commit to a ton of quality repetition. This means that as a basketball coach, you must challenge your players to put in the time on their own. As a coach, if you want your team or a specific player to master a move, you must commit the time to it.


Make Your Own Judgement Call

Lastly, as a basketball coach, there are different ways to do things. There are expert coaches who can debate all day long on different basketball skill development topics. So as much as we trust our expert coaches, you may want to tweak something, and that is completely fine. These basketball fundamentals will help you better understand different moves, but ultimately, it will be your judgment call as a coach.



Must-Use Basketball Fundamentals

Here are five must-use basketball fundamentals that you can work on with your team. There are plenty of basketball fundamentals that should be covered, but these five are a great place to start.


How to do a Baseline Duck In Post Move in Basketball


How to do a Baseline Duck In Post Move in Basketball


Basketball post play and being able to score in the post has a lot to do with positioning and angles. If you can get a deep catch on your defender with a good angle, there isn’t much they can do. That is why the duck in is such a good move to use in the post. When doing the duck in move, you want to go from slow and relaxed to a violent quick move and catch the defender completely off guard.

This basketball training video will show you how to duck in towards the baseline side and then finish with an easy layup at the basket. When you watch this basketball fundamental, really focus on the footwork, timing, and body positioning. A good duck-in will cover all of those things and is an essential basketball fundamental for players, especially post players.



Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: How to do a Baseline Duck In Post Move in Basketball

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball, 1 pad, and 2-3 partners.

Goals of the Drill

  • Learn the proper footwork, angle, and timing of a baseline duck in move.


Coaching Points

  • If you don’t have an extra player/coach to stand at the top of the key to start it out, you can have the person on the wing slap the ball, and when they do, the player can duck in then.
  • Make sure that you lock in on the footwork, timing, and angle of your duck in.
  • Really try to set your man up like you aren’t even paying attention and then duck in hard but be under control.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  1. There is a partner at the top of the key with the ball, a partner on the wing, and one with a pad on the block.
  2. The player doing the duck in will start on the block facing the pad, trying to walk the post defender in.
  3. As the ball is passed to the wing, the player will split the defender’s legs with his/her top foot.
  4. They are now going to reverse pivot and open up their chest to the baseline.
  5. As they do, they will drive the defender back with their hips and keep their arms up to seal the defender.
  6. The partner on the wing will make a wrap-around pass on the baseline side to the post player.
  7. The player will catch the ball and then finish with a layup or dunk.


How to Do the Hesitation Pull Up Shot in Basketball


How to Do the Hesitation Pull Up Shot in Basketball


This type of move is more of an end of clock situation move, or when you can get a mismatch with a slower player guarding you. It is a more difficult shot, but if mastered, it can be an excellent move. Russell Westbrook is probably one of the best examples of a basketball player that has really mastered this off the dribble basketball fundamental.

The quicker and more explosive you are, the more the defense has to respect the blow-by. So if you can really be a double threat to either blow by the defender or pull up, you will have the player guarding you at your mercy. Add this move to your basketball training and start developing your off the dribble shooting.



Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: How to Do the Hesitation Pull Up Shot in Basketball

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball, dummy defender (optional).


Goals of the Drill

  • Work on selling that you will attack to the basket, but then really pull up into a shot.


Coaching Points

  • Stay low and athletic and really try to sell that you are going to blow by the defender.
  • Stay balanced on your shot and hold your follow-through.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  • The basketball player will start with the basketball out above the 3 point line and begin attacking forward with the dribble.
  • The player will hesitate to sell like they are going to blow by the defender, and as the defender backs up, they will pull up into a jump shot.
  • Work on both midrange and 3 point shots.


How to Do a Kobe Bryant Pound Pivot in Basketball


How to do a Kobe Bryan Pound Pivot Basketball Move


Kobe Bryant was one of the best basketball players at getting a shot off out of the pivot series – and then also making it. He was so good at it because he had so many scoring options out of the pivot, and he also hits some incredibly tough shots. This basketball move is going to take advantage of the way the defense is guarding you. It is going to use their over-aggressiveness and momentum against themselves. It is a great basketball fundamental that every wing player should take the time to learn.

Learning how to make a Kobe Bryant pound pivot move is all about learning to be under control and selling your move. This basketball training video will teach you what to do on the move, but it will also explain why you are doing it and give you expert tips on selling the move.



Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: How to Do a Kobe Bryant Pound Pivot in Basketball

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball and a basket.


Goals of the Drill

  • Learn how to finish around the basket and use the pound pivot move.


Coaching Points

  • Get your momentum going forward to sell the move and then stop as sharply as you can.
  • When you pivot, get all the way around so that your body is squared up to the basket again.
  • Try not to fade too much on your shot.
  • Visualize a defender being on your hip and trying to get back in front of you aggressively, or that they are trying to run down your shot to block it.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  • Begin on the wing and dribble-drive to the basket with either hand.
  • When you get about 5 feet away, plant your back foot (if you are driving right, it will be your right foot, and if left, your left foot).
  • Pivot all the way around and shoot the basketball.



How to do a Drop Step Post Move in Basketball


How to do a Drop Step Post Move in Basketball


Being able to score in the post is all about being able to make a move well and having a counter to that move. If you are trying to go to the middle and the defender cuts you off and takes that away from you, you need to be able to counter and finish. This is where the drop step move comes into play.

You are going to use the defender’s aggressiveness to take away the middle against themselves. As soon as the defender rotates to the middle to cut you off, you will drop step to the baseline instead and finish. To make this move successful, you need to sell that you are going to the middle and get the defender to cut you off. Also, you need to make sure that you have the proper footwork and a good angle to make the move. This is one of the basketball fundamentals for post players, and this basketball training video will teach you how to do the move.



Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: How to do a Drop Step Post Move in Basketball

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball and 1-2 partners.


Goals of the Drill

  • Learn the fundamentals of the drop step move.


Coaching Points

  • If you only have one partner, the post player can spin the basketball to themselves in the post instead of receiving a post feed.
  • Really sell that you are going middle and in a game, if the defender never cuts you off, keep going to the middle and finish with a hook shot.
  • Make sure that you really watch the footwork and don’t travel.
  • Set the move up and go from slow to fast.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  • There will be a partner on the wing with a basketball and a token defender on the block.
  • The player will post up the defender on the block.
  • The ball will go into the post to the player posting up.
  • Now the player will take 1-2 dribbles attacking to the middle.
  • The token defender is going to rotate and cut the post player off with their chest.
  • As they do, the offensive player will drop step and finish at the basket with a layup or dunk.


How to Do a Shot Fake in Basketball


How to Do a Shot Fake in Basketball


As a good shooter, one of the best tools that you have in your arsenal is the basketball shot fake. Since you have already established yourself as a shooter, the defense will go for the shot fake, and the better you can sell it, the more defenders will go for it. Shot faking is one of the basketball fundamentals that too many players don’t spend enough time working on.

By getting the defender off of their feet, you can drive for a shot for yourself or find an open teammate on the drive. If the defender is worried about the shot fake, they may close out short, leaving you open for a shot. This basketball drill will teach you how to do a shot fake and learn how to really sell your move and what to do after you shot fake someone.



Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: How to Do a Shot Fake in Basketball

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball, a basket, and a partner.


Goals of the Drill

  • Teach the proper mechanics of a shot fake and to be efficient on the move.


Coaching Points

  • Don’t rise up on your shot fake because it makes you slower.
  • Sell your shot fake and make it look exactly how your normal shot looks.
  • Use your face and eyes to sell the shot fake.
  • Don’t step back after the shot fake and keep your eyes up to see the floor on the dribble.
  • Don’t dip the ball on the catch
  • On the pull-up, jump straight up and down and don’t drift.

***When you go to your weak hand across your body, you can step into your shot right/left – left/right, or you can take one step on the dribble and then go 1-2 for the pull-up.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  1.  Be down ready to shoot the ball with your hands up, and as the ball is coming to you, step into your shot or hop into it.
  2. Catch the basketball, put your eyes on the rim, and bring the ball up to your forehead in a shooting motion.
  3. As the imaginary defender leaves his feet, you will bring the basketball back down and push it out to your right or left past the defender.
  4. Keep your eyes up and cover ground on the dribble.
  5. If you are right-handed, you will extend your right foot and use your left foot as your pivot foot (if left-handed, do the opposite).
  6. You can now either pull up for a jump shot or drive to the basket for a finish.
  7. On the pull-up, jump straight up and down, hold your follow-through and stay in your shot.



Why Basketball Fundamentals

There are many reasons why basketball fundamentals are crucial for coaches to teach their team. For starters, mastering the basics of the game is essential for players to develop their skills and become successful on the court. Without a strong foundation in fundamentals, players may struggle with more complex plays and strategies.

Additionally, teaching basketball fundamentals helps coaches foster a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among their players. By emphasizing the importance of mastering basic skills, coaches can encourage players to work together and support each other’s growth and development.

Moreover, focusing on fundamentals also allows coaches to assess their team’s strengths and weaknesses. By observing how well players execute fundamental techniques, coaches can identify areas for improvement and tailor their training sessions accordingly.

Furthermore, basketball fundamentals provide a solid framework for players to build upon as they advance in their basketball journey. As players progress and face tougher opponents, having a strong foundation in fundamentals gives them the confidence and skills to adapt and succeed.

Moreover, mastering basketball fundamentals also helps players become better all-around athletes. The basic skills of basketball, such as dribbling, passing, and shooting, require coordination, agility, and strength. By consistently practicing these fundamentals, players can improve their overall athleticism and become more versatile on the court.

Lastly, teaching basketball fundamentals also instills discipline and dedication in players. By emphasizing the importance of practice and repetition to master fundamental techniques, coaches can help their players develop a strong work ethic that will benefit them both on and off the court.



Basketball Fundamental Tips

  • Emphasize the importance of mastering basic techniques from the beginning and continuously throughout the season.
  • Incorporate fundamental drills into training sessions to improve players’ skills and teamwork.
  • Encourage players to support and help each other in practicing fundamentals, fostering a sense of team unity.
  • Use constructive feedback to identify areas for improvement and develop personalized training plans for individual players.
  • Set achievable goals for players to work towards, such as a certain number of successful layups or free throws per practice.
  • Lead by example and demonstrate proper technique yourself during practices and games.
  • Make sure to give equal attention to all fundamental skills, not just the ones that are most exciting or flashy.

By prioritizing basketball fundamentals in coaching, coaches can set their team up for long-term success and help players develop a strong passion and love for the game. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect – perfect practice makes perfect. So, focus on mastering the basics, and everything else will fall into place. Overall, basketball fundamentals are essential for building a strong and successful team that performs at its best on the court.



Basketball Fundamentals Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about basketball fundamentals and the answers that go with them.


How often should coaches focus on teaching basketball fundamentals?

Coaches should prioritize fundamental training from the beginning of the season and consistently throughout to reinforce and improve players’ skills.


Can mastering basketball fundamentals benefit players in other sports?

Absolutely! Many basic techniques in basketball, such as coordination, agility, and hand-eye coordination, are transferrable to other sports.


Are basketball fundamentals only important for beginner players?

No, even advanced players should continuously work on their fundamental skills to improve and maintain a strong foundation in the game.


How can coaches make practicing basketball fundamentals fun for their team?

Incorporating games and competitions into drills and training sessions can make practicing fundamentals more enjoyable for players while still focusing on improving their skills. Coaches can also mix up the routine and incorporate new drills or challenges to keep things interesting for their team.

What are fundamentals in basketball?

Fundamentals in basketball refer to the basic skills and techniques that are essential for players to master in order to be successful on the court. These include dribbling, passing, shooting, footwork, and defense. By consistently practicing and honing these fundamental skills, players can improve their overall game and become more versatile players.

Some other key fundamentals in basketball include communication, teamwork, and discipline. These are essential for players to excel individually, as well as work effectively together as a team. Coaches should prioritize teaching and reinforcing these skills in addition to the physical techniques of the game.

In conclusion, basketball fundamentals are crucial for players’ development and success on the court. By emphasizing their importance, coaches can help their team build a strong foundation and continuously improve their skills. So, whether you’re a beginner coach or a seasoned pro, never underestimate the power of focusing on fundamentals in basketball coaching. Keep practicing and keep striving to be your best!


What are the 5 basic skills in basketball and their definition?

Fundamentals in basketball refer to the basic techniques and skills that are essential for players to succeed on the court. These include dribbling, passing, shooting, rebounding, and defense.

  • Dribbling: The act of bouncing or controlling the basketball with one hand while moving or stationary.
  • Passing: The act of transferring the ball from one player to another.
  • Shooting: The act of attempting to score by throwing the ball into the basket.
  • Rebounding: The act of retrieving a missed shot or rebounding from an opponent’s shot attempt.
  • Defense: The act of preventing the opposing team from scoring by guarding players, blocking shots, and stealing the ball. Overall, mastering these five basic skills is crucial for players to become well-rounded and successful basketball players. So, coaches should prioritize teaching and practicing these fundamental skills with their team regularly.

In addition to these five basic skills, there are many other important fundamentals in basketball that can also greatly impact a player’s performance on the court. These include footwork, communication, teamwork, and decision-making.

How can I improve my basketball fundamentals?

  1. Start with the basics: Begin by focusing on mastering the fundamental skills of basketball, such as shooting, dribbling, and passing.
  2. Practice consistently: Consistency is key in improving any skill. Set aside time each day to work on your fundamentals.
  3. Pay attention to technique: It’s crucial to practice proper technique when working on fundamentals. This will help you develop muscle memory and execute skills more effectively in game situations.
  4. Incorporate drills into practice: Use specific drills that target different fundamental skills to improve overall performance.
  5. Learn from others: Watch how successful players execute fundamental skills and try to incorporate their techniques into your own practice.
  6. Seek feedback: Ask coaches or teammates for constructive criticism on your technique and ways to improve.
  7. Keep a positive attitude: It’s natural to make mistakes when practicing fundamentals, but it’s important to stay positive and continue working on improving. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Coaches should prioritize fundamental training and continuously work with players to improve their skills throughout the season.


What is the first basic skill to be learned in basketball?

The first basic skill to be learned in basketball is usually shooting, as it is the most fundamental way to score points and involves hand-eye coordination, footwork, and proper technique. However, coaches may choose to focus on other skills first, depending on their team’s needs and abilities. Therefore, all fundamental skills should be given equal attention and importance in training sessions.


More Basketball Fundamentals

Here are a few more basketball fundamentals that you can use to help develop your team. Take advantage of them and start seeing your players’ skills go way up!


How to Split a Ball Screen in Basketball


Learning How to Split a Ball Screen in Basketball


For this ball screen split basketball drill, you will work on splitting the defenders guarding the ball screen. You will use this move when the big man over shows, or the guard and big man don’t come all the way together. This usually will happen on a hard hedge or a trap situation, and it is because the big man is impatient and gets out too early, or the guard defender gets hung up on the ball screen.

The split is a very effective move if used the right way and is one of the basketball fundamentals of using a ball screen. One of the big keys is staying low and being explosive when you make the move. If you are standing straight up and down, the ball is going to get tipped or stolen. So as you go through this basketball drill, work on reading the ball screen and the imaginary defense and then also being low and explosive.



Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: How to Split a Ball Screen in Basketball

Equipment Needed: 1 Basketball, 2 chairs, and a basket.


Goals of the Drill

  • Practice reading a ball screen and learning how to split between the big man and guard defender.


Coaching Points

  • Don’t turn your back to the ball screen, get below the ball screen level, keep your eyes up and see the floor, and mix up your speeds coming off the ball screen.
  • You can practice four different types of split moves:
    • Push through or crossover.
    • Dwayne Wade move (reverse between the legs).
    • Push over the top crossover.
    • Steve Nash move (low crossover push through).


Basketball Drill Instructions

  • Place one chair on either wing about free-throw line extended and the other chair a couple of feet wider and up towards the top of the key.
  • Have the line of basketball players start 4 or 5 feet above both chairs and towards the sideline.
  • Have the first player dribble down the sideline below the ball screen chair.
  • Set the imaginary defender up with a couple of different moves and then come off the ball screen.
  • As they come off the screen, they will use one of the 4 different split moves.
  • After making the split move, finish at the basket with the desired move.



How to Do a Leg Whip Post Move in Basketball


How to Do a Leg Whip Post Move in Basketball


The leg whip is a pretty basic basketball move that you can use in the post to help get your hook shot off over your defender. It would be considered one of the basketball fundamentals of posting up, and if mastered, it can really help post players finish right in front of the basket.

This move is a must if you want to be a dominant post player because it is tough to guard if done right. The defensive player’s job is to stay low and wide and keep their body in between you and the basket, but if you can get your foot out and around his outside foot, then you are going to be able to leg whip them and be able to get to your hook shot. This basketball drill will teach you how to use the move so that you can use it the next time you are down on the block posting up.



Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: How to Do a Leg Whip Post Move in Basketball

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball and a partner.


Goals of the Drill

  • Learn how to use a leg whip in the post.


Coaching Points

  • Make sure that you don’t raise your elbows up and get called for an offensive foul when you make the move.
  • Set up the leg whip by faking the other way first, don’t give away the move or it won’t work.
  • After you make the move, keep your body between the basketball and the defender so that you can get your hook shot off.
  • Do not open your chest up to the defender, or they will block the hook shot.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  1. Post up on the block with a defender playing token defense behind you.
  2. If you have a passer, then have them post feed. If not, spin the basketball to yourself and catch it.
  3. Check your inside shoulder to read the defense.
  4. Take a dribble, make a slight fake like you are going baseline with your shoulders, and then take your high foot and step over the top of the defensive player’s high foot.
  5. Rotate your body around and shoot a hook shot off of both feet. (keep your body between the defender and the ball).


How to Curl a Down Screen in Basketball


How to Curl a Down Screen in Basketball


The down screen is pretty common in basketball, and good offensive teams will use one almost every time down the floor. When the cutter sets his defender up to come off the down screen, they first need to determine how their man is guarding them and what cut they should use. There are several different types of cuts that could be used, and they are all basketball fundamentals that should be learned by any shooter or player that is going to move without the basketball.

This basketball training video will teach how to curl off of a down screen by showing you how to set up your defender, the proper footwork for the cut, and then completing the move. The video is instructed by an expert basketball coach, and the move is demonstrated by a high-level basketball player.



Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: How to Curl a Down Screen in Basketball

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball, a chair, a basket, and a partner.


Goals of the Drill

  • Learn the proper fundamentals and technique of curling a down screen for a shot.


Coaching Points

  • Change your speed up on the cut.
  • Visualize the defender guarding you.
  • Stay in your shot and focus on the right form every time.
  • Practice checking your inside shoulder every time to get in the habit of reading your defender in a game.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  1. Set your man up under the basket, slow to fast.
  2. As you come to the chair, curl tight around the chair, show your hands, and dip your inside shoulder.
  3. Catch the ball, step into your shot 1-2 (the inside-foot steps first), and get your body squared up.
  4. Jump straight up and down, shoot the ball, and hold your follow-through.



Basketball Fundamentals for Coaches Conclusion

As a basketball coach, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of basketball fundamentals and continuously work on developing these skills with your team. By doing so, you not only improve individual player abilities but also foster a strong sense of teamwork and discipline within your team.

Remember that in basketball, as in any sport, mastering the basics is the key to success. So keep practicing those fundamental skills, and your team will be sure to see improvement on the court.




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