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Ultimate Guide to Coaching Youth Basketball


Offensive Plays for Youth Basketball

When you really break it down, the goal of basketball is to score more points than the other team, and in order to do that you're going to need some offensive plays. At the youth level, the plays you teach should be relatively simple yet effective. The concept of running plays is an important one, and as your players move up to higher levels of competition, they'll thank you for introducing it to them.

The most basic of offensive moves is the pick and roll, or screen, and your players will need to know it in order to effectively run plays. A pick and roll involves two offensive players from the same team and one defensive player. The object is for one offensive player to block another offensive player's defender so he can get open for a shot or to receive a pass. It sounds simple, but the execution can be difficult. The offensive player setting the pick must have both feet set before the defender makes contact with them, otherwise it's a foul [source: McCarthy and Prosser]. When run effectively, it's a great way to help a player get open.

Even the simplest of plays in basketball tend to involve a pick and roll or screen. Here's one you can try with your players. Have three players stand outside the three-point line, one at the top and the other two at each side. The two remaining offensive players should stand down low on either side of the basketball hoop. Match up a defender with each offensive player. Now you're ready to begin. Have the player at the top of the three-point line pass the ball to one of his teammates on the side, and then have him follow his pass and set a screen for the player with the ball. The player with the ball should dribble around his teammate and then head straight for the hoop. Simultaneously, the other three players on the court should move away from the hoop to draw their defenders away and open up the lane for an easy layup.

This is a great first play to teach your players. Once they master it, you'll be able to add more layers, and it'll become even more effective. Now it's time to talk about defensive plays. Keep reading to find out more.