Coaching Youth Basketball: Everything You Need to Know as a Coach


As a youth basketball coach, you are responsible for teaching kids the fundamentals of the game while also helping them learn and love 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 basketball drills that will challenge the kids but not be too difficult. They also have to be somewhat fun. This article aims to provide you with some tips about youth basketball drills and a list of good basketball drills for younger kids.



Children’s Basketball Drills



There is much debate among youth basketball coaches and parents on when a child should start skill development and what it should look like. This is an important time for players, and it can either foster a great love for the game of basketball or turn a player off completely. This youth basketball article will point out some great coaching tips that can be applied to children’s basketball drills and skill development at an early age.


At What Age Should Basketball Skill Development Start?

When is your child old enough to start doing basketball drills? This is an important question because if you start your child off too young, then you risk the chance of driving them away from the game because they see it as a chore and not fun.

On the other hand, if you are not doing basketball drills, then your child may miss out and be farther behind other kids their age. The answer is that they can start at any age, but there is a list of guidelines that need to be followed when starting your child’s basketball training.

If you are going to start your child early with basketball drills, make sure that the drills are fun for the child. Don’t make it a chore, but treat the drills as if they are a game. At this point in their young basketball careers, developing a love for the game is more important than dribbling a basketball like Chris Paul.


The Difficulty of Basketball Drills

Mix in the more difficult basketball drills with little basketball games that the child likes. Sacrifice what might be a short time growth in skill for a lifetime of improvement because he/she will develop a true love for the game of basketball.

When doing basketball shooting drills, don’t let your child shoot outside their strength. What I mean by this is if they have to throw the ball with all their strength and launch it from the hip, they are too far out. Get them a smaller ball, lower the hoop, and teach them the right basketball shooting form. Too many kids develop bad shooting form when they are little for the simple fact that they aren’t strong enough yet. The distance will come as they get older.


Individual Basketball Player Evaluation

Every child is different, and so is their skill level,  so it can be difficult when deciding on the right basketball drills. Choose a variety of different drills at several difficulties and just gauge where your child is at. If a basketball drill is too difficult and they can’t quite seem to get it, pick an easier one and let them work their way up to it.

This comes back to allowing your child to enjoy the game first and then developing that drive a little later on. You will work the hardest at the things you enjoy doing the most, which is the same for your child.


Basketball IQ

Start at an early age by explaining the game to your child. Just as it is easiest to learn a foreign language when you are young, developing and understanding the game of basketball at a young age will allow that child to understand the game so much better as they get older. Establish the building blocks that they will need as they get older and really get into the game of basketball.


Children’s Basketball Drills Conclusion

Help your child get better with children’s basketball drills but do it in the right structure, and the benefits will be there for a lifetime. Remember that basketball is a game, and when a kid is young, there needs to be pure enjoyment in the game itself for them to truly be motivated.



Basketball Shooting Drills

If you have younger basketball 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 counterproductive 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.



Basketball Dribbling Drills

I cannot tell you how many younger kids I see dribbling a basketball with their eyes down or can only really dribble with their dominant hand. They do this because they were not corrected at an early age, and now it is a bad habit.

As a youth basketball 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 youth basketball drills that will focus on ball handling.



Basketball Passing Drills

Being able to pass the ball the right way and on time is a basketball fundamental that most younger kids lack 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 youth basketball drills that will work on the fundamentals of passing.



Best Youth Basketball Coaching Sites



As a youth basketball coach, you have a lot of responsibility to the young players you are coaching. This is the time in their lives where they will either develop a strong love for the game or get turned off to playing. The coach is usually a big factor in this decision. A youth coach should never purposely try to turn a player away from the game, but sometimes without knowing, they do just that. Basketball coaches need to challenge their players and create an atmosphere where it is fun and okay to mess up.

Below is a list of the best youth basketball coaching sites we could find (we may have missed a couple, so feel free to contact us with any other good ones, and the list can be updated). If you are not quite sure how to coach youth basketball or are simply looking to improve as a youth coach, these sites are for you. There is a variety of different sites, from youth blogs to youth coaching forums. Find the ones that work best for you and begin to become a better coach today.



List of Youth Basketball Coaching Sites



Here is the Y-Coach goal, “When you’re well prepared, coaching youth sports is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. Your philosophy should be simple if the kids learn and have fun, they will come back next season.” That is why they have message boards, basketball plays, basketball drills, etc., on their site for you to checkout. They have done a good job of covering all the bases and really putting out some quality tools to use.


How to Coach Youth Basketball

This youth basketball coaching site does a good job of providing the basketball fundamentals of the game. If you need to learn how to teach your players a simple give and go or screen and roll action, they have material for you to do that. This site also offers an iPhone app with all their products on it for only $2.99. Be prepared for practice and the new season with this site.


If you are looking for a community of basketball coaches, parents, and youth players, then WePlay is the place for you. You have to create a profile and log in every time, but you can really learn a lot by connecting with other coaches and viewing the materials and tools that the site offers to its members. It is free to sign up, so check it out today.



Ihoops is sponsored by the NBA, NCAA, and WNBA, so there are a lot of pro athlete demonstrations and interviews. There is also a great community where you can connect with other youth coaches and ask or answer basketball questions. IHoops offers a lot of good material and information for youth basketball coaches and players.


BBall Tools

This youth basketball coaching website is great for youth coaches and parents who have youth basketball players. This site will provide some quality instruction and 36 different youth basketball drills that you can use in practice or at the park with your child.


Youth Basketball Coaching Association

I really like this site because they provide a coaching certification process to help coaches become better prepared. They also provide a basketball coaching blog, coaches forum, and coaches advisory board (among other things). This is a quality site and well worth the time to really check it out and see all it offers.


Inside Youth Sports

This youth basketball coaching website was created by Jeffrey Rhoads, and just from my time talking to him, I realized that he has a real passion for youth sports. His site offers some great basketball coaching articles, not just on strategy but really teaching players about attitude and character. As a coach, you have a responsibility to help your players develop in life and the game, and I think that Jeff and his site get that.


Youth Basketball Skills

This is a great youth basketball coaching site because it breaks down the site into 3 different categories; parents, players, and coaches. This provides an easier way to sort through all of the information and find the things that are more specific to you. They also over a blog, skill videos, equipment, etc. A very well done youth basketball coaching site and worth checking out.


As a youth basketball coach or a parent of a youth basketball player, these websites will help provide all the resources you will need. They are only beneficial, though, if you take advantage of them. So along with spending time on our site, make sure to check out all of these other excellent youth basketball coaching sites.



At What Age Should my Child Start Practicing Basketball?


Learning, playing, and practicing basketball is fun. It is also a great way to exercise, make friends, and enjoy a competitive game. As your child grows and becomes better at basketball, he/she will want to join a team, earn awards, be a potential candidate for a scholarship, and truly gain a tremendous amount of learning experience from the game.

Children should begin to practice the game to strengthen their abilities as soon as they are old enough. Typically very young children, around the age of 6 or younger, are just learning how to play basketball. They are learning the basics of the game. They can learn to bounce a basketball, as well as throw and catch the ball. They can also practice throwing the ball into a smaller-sized hoop, but they are too young to practice with basketball drills.

As the child progresses, they can begin to learn how to dribble and learn the rules of the game. This is done usually around the ages of 7 to 9 years old or so. The children can join teams and practice with other children in the same age group. Children can participate in a basketball clinic to learn the rules, drills, and how to play the game.

Strength training can be started at a young age as long as it is implemented safely and with the appropriate modifications. Not everyone is built the same, so it is unrealistic to assume that everyone will benefit from performing the same strength training exercises. Children can improve their strength, coordination, and movement with the proper strength training exercises.

It has been researched and believed that children around 10 years can benefit greatly from a strength training program. This does not necessarily mean lifting weights. Strength can be developed without the use of weights. Teaching children how to safely exercise in a manner that is best suited for them to build up their strength is possible. Keeping the exercises age-appropriate will strengthen the child’s muscles and skeletal system without harming the body.

A typical strength training program will incorporate flexibility exercises, lunging, squatting, pushing, pulling, throwing, and other exercises that use the child’s body as the weight and resistance. The program should be challenging, varied, and always fun to help the children stay focused and motivated. I will repeat this; basketball should be fun!

Children can have fun while playing basketball and other sports games. They can enjoy themselves while training. To maintain a safe environment, safety precautions should always be discussed, demonstrated, and implemented. The following are a few tips that should always be followed to prevent as many injuries as possible.

Every game or training should begin with a warm-up to stretch muscles, encourage blood flow, and limit injuries. It is also a great way to get everyone ready and motivated for the game or practice. Players should wear protective gear like elbow and knee pads. Always encourage proper diet, hydration, and rest.

Children can have fun, enjoy basketball, and be competitive in a safe environment that promotes growth and progress.



Coaching Youth Basketball Conclusion

Youth basketball coaches have a big responsibility to their players because they are laying the foundation for the rest of that player’s basketball career. They can either set them up with a strong foundation of enjoying the game and understanding the fundamentals, or they can set them up with a not so great foundation that burns out the player or doesn’t develop them the way that they need to play at a higher level as they get older.

Make sure to use all of these youth basketball drills and start developing your players in a fun learning environment that will promote some serious growth and player development.


Article Contributors: Lamar Hull and Kyle Ohman




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