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Ultimate Guide to Coaching Youth Basketball

Youth Basketball Rules

The purpose of youth basketball is to introduce kids to the rules of the game and prepare them for the next level of competition. It may seem overly simple, but you should start by showing them a basketball and explaining that the goal of the game is to shoot the basketball through the basketball hoop. Every time you do, you get two points [source: Danehy]. From there you'll want to give them a tour of the basketball court and explain all the lines. At the youth level, probably the most important ones to know are the out of bounds line, the half court line and the free throw line. Depending on the age of your players, you may also have to introduce the three-point line -- older players will be more likely to shoot and score from this line.

Once the kids understand the basic goal of the game and the layout of the court, you can start to teach them the fundamentals of how to play. The first thing they'll need to know is how to dribble. Simply put there are only two ways to move a basketball up the court. You can pass it to another player on your team, or you can dribble. Dribbling consists of bouncing the ball up and down on the court with one hand. If a player stops dribbling at any point or touches the ball with both hands, he cannot start dribbling again. This is called a double dribble and the other team would immediately gain possession of the ball. Similarly, if a player takes more than two steps without dribbling, this is a violation called traveling, and he usually would have to turn the ball over to the other team [source: Field Sports].

You'll also need to teach your players about fouls. A foul is committed anytime a player makes illegal contact with a player from another team. Two of the most common fouls in basketball are reaching in and illegal blocking. Reaching in is called when you try to steal the ball from a player and make contact with any part of their body. Illegal blocking is called if you make body contact with a player who is controlling the ball and your feet are not set. If the player who has control of the ball makes contact with you and your feet are set, then the foul would be called on him -- this is called charging. When someone commits a foul, play stops immediately. Depending on the violation, the penalty might involve change of possession and free throws for the team who did not commit the foul.

If you can teach your players these basic rules, you'll be off to a great start. Keep reading to gain a better understanding of the equipment you'll need to play the game.