In youth basketball, the players that can handle the ball are the ones that win the game. Practicing the right drills at a young age can set the base of fundamentals for a successful basketball career in the future. Here are some drills to try with your young basketball players.
When it comes to dribbling, the athletes that can handle the ball with ease are the ones who are scoring in a game. Set up a timer for one minute. Have your player stand with his or her legs together and complete revolutions with the basketball around the shins. Do this five times around the shins, the knees, the waist, and the head and then work back down the body stopping in all areas for the revolutions again. Continue this for the entire minute. Coaches can also make a race out of this to see who can travel the length of their body the fastest without losing the ball.
If you have more advanced players, have them take the ball and weave in and out of the legs in a figure eight motion as they make their way down the court. Each step equals a revolution. Not only will your ball player learn to control the ball better, but he or she will also get a cardio workout for a warm up.
Dribbling two basketballs at a time up and down the court will help polish right and left hand control of the basketball. As your player gets used to this, his or her time will improve. Setting time goals for this skill helps show improvement.
For every swish there is a beautiful follow through. This may be the most challenging aspect for kids depending on how they learned to shoot a ball. An effective follow through is not an accident, and athletes are more successful if they are purposeful about their shots. Have your player stand on a line away from the hoop and practice a back spin of the basketball to perfect the goose neck follow through. No basket is needed for this, only concentration on form. Have them do this fifty times or more to perfect the motion.
Once they have their form down, place them at five or six different places on the court and have them shoot five shots per spot. Not only will this be good practice with an actual basket, but it will also help them become strategic of how best to make each shot.
Game Day Intensity
Helping your youth basketball player mentally prepare for the intensity of a game is important. The best way to do this is have them play one-on-one. It will build their endurance and put the skills you’ve had them practicing to work. Set up different game scenarios where they can work on their situational strategies. This is where their ball handling and their shooting come together, and there is no way to take a back seat when you are one-on-one with your opponent.
Youth sports are where the fun begins. By providing these athletes with a strong fundamental basketball sense, you can help them develop into talented high school athletes. By trying these drills each practice, you will really up their game.