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Ultimate Guide to Coaching Youth Basketball

Youth Basketball Equipment

The great thing about basketball is that you don't need much equipment. Unlike football and baseball, you won't need pads, helmets, gloves or baseball bats. All you really need to play basketball is a good pair of shoes, a basketball and a hoop. Of course it doesn't hurt to have a full court either -- and if you're playing in a league, you'll probably need uniforms, also.

Basketball courts vary in size depending on the level of play, but a youth court is usually 74 feet (22.6 meters) long and 42 feet (12.8 meters) wide [source: Coaching Basketball for Beginners]. At each end of the court is a basketball hoop. It can be anywhere from 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 meters) high, depending on the age of your players. Your league will most likely provide you with a court, but in the event that you practice on a different court than the one where you play games, you'll want to check with the league coordinator to make sure you have all the right measurements.

Once you've got that squared away, you'll need some basketballs. These can also vary in size depending on your league, but many youth leagues, regardless of gender, often use a regulation size women's basketball, which has a circumference of about 28.5 inches (about 72 centimeters) [source: Griffith]. This is slightly smaller than a regulation size men's basketball, and it should be easier for younger kids to handle. Boys usually make the switch to a full-size ball around the age of 12.

When it comes to basketball uniforms, the standard is a pair of shorts and a basketball jersey, which resembles either a tank top or a sleeveless shirt. There are several different styles, so at the end of the day, it really comes down to your preference. Your players should also have a good pair of basketball shoes. High tops are preferable because they protect ankles and help to prevent injury, but any athletic shoe with a rubber sole will do.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the rules and equipment you'll need to play basketball, it's time to learn more about the skills your players will need and how to teach them. Keep reading to find out how it's done.