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Ultimate Guide to Coaching Youth Basketball


Youth Basketball Drills

Now that you have a basic understanding of the skills necessary to play basketball, you'll need a few drills to help teach them to your players. The goal is to have fun while doing it. Again, the best place to start is dribbling. If a player can't dribble the ball, he'll have a difficult time moving it up the court.

"Heads up direction change," is a simple, fun and effective drill you can use to improve your players' dribbling skills. Have your players spread out evenly along the base line, each with their own ball. You'll stand at center court and have the kids dribble in whatever direction you move. The point is to teach your players to dribble with their eyes up, so don't say the direction out loud as you move. As they start to get the hang of it pick up the pace and change direction more frequently [source: Basketball Drills & Plays]. Use this drill every few practices and you'll have all star dribblers in no time.

"Lightning," is a fast paced shooting game that your players are sure to love. Here's how it works. Have all your players line up at the free throw line. Only the first two kids in line should have a basketball. The first person in line shoots a free throw. As soon as the ball leaves his hands the next person in line can shoot. If the first player makes his free throw, he gets his own rebound and passes the ball to the next person in line. If he misses, he has to make a basket before the person behind him does. If not, he's out of the game. This continues until there is only one person left standing.

The "zigzag drill" is a great way to teach the fundamentals of moving defensively. Stand at center court and have your players form two lines at the base line. The first two kids should be in their defensive stance with their backs to you, and when you say "go," they'll move in a zigzag pattern toward half court. Three steps in each direction should be plenty. When they reach half court the next two kids in line repeat the drill until everyone has done it at least once. When they get the hang of it, you can add a player on offense dribbling the ball as well [source: Winters].

Keep reading to see what offensive plays you can teach your young basketball players.