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Start Coaching A Beginning Youth Team Basketball

Let them start by learning the dribble the ball in place for 30 seconds at a time. Once they do that about 10 times have them start to walk around the perimeter of the gym bouncing the ball on the same side as their dominant hand and let them see if they can learn to control the dribble while they walk without the ball getting away from them.

Once they master that have them stand in place and bounce the ball back and forth between left and right hand to see if they can learn to control the basketball.

Now have them start to jog with the ball on their side the length of the gym and back. This is difficult because many kids will get started wanting to get the ball going too fast in front of them and the ball starts bounding higher and higher. Let them know not to dribble higher than their waist.

You can now make a square with cones and have the kids dribble up to the outside of the cone and turn at the cone with their back to the cone and bounce it to the other hand and dribble with their opposite hand to the next cone and do the same. This will start to teach them agility and use of both hands and the cone acts like an opposing team player they are trying to keep the ball away from.

For shooting the best way to start is not at the free throw line. Let them come up closer and teach them the correct form right away so they do not develop bad habits. They need to learn elbow up and follow through with one hand pushing the ball forward.

The key to any coaching is to teach children in small steps. It will take longer to teach skills if you let them try to learn the whole process at one time.

For example break down the lay up into:

  1. Dribble the ball toward the net. (Do this 20 times)
  2. Get close to the net without a ball let the player take three steps and practice pulling their knee up on the third step with a hop. (This is to practice the lay up steps)
  3. Take the Ball in one hand and practice pushing it up towards the backboard.
  4. Put the steps together and practice running toward the net and doing your final lay up step without a ball. Practice this about 20 times.
  5. Add a ball but don't dribble just run with it and try shooting a lay up. (do this 10 times)
  6. Now try adding everything in together. Dribble the ball with lay up step form and try shooting.
If you break down any form with a child into smaller steps they will learn quicker and develop their skills for the basketball sport faster.

Lesa Bolt publishes the basketball site. You can learn more about the sport and get tips and information at