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Teaching Youth Basketball

Ask almost any child what his or her favorite part of the elementary school day is and you will realize that recess rules. The opportunity to get fresh air and run around beats anything according to the child in us all. Basketball for kids needs to be an exercise in education and fun. This article deals with the fun part of the game.

Putting the fun back into fundamental teaching in basketball needs to be an emphasis for any coach in today's culture. Our game has suffered over the past 15 years due to the lack of fundamentals at the youth level. It should not surprise you that the fun factor for kids declined at the same pace. All young people deserve to be taught in a positive, fun atmosphere. This is what brings them back, leaving plenty of time for serious, competitive play later on.

Creating excitement while teaching fundamentals takes effort on the part of the coach. By designing creative ways to teach the jump stop, dribbling, and passing make a world of difference. Pivoting can be taught using the example of a swinging door. One end of the door stays put as the other end swings around it. Tell kids to pretend they are a door swinging open into their room at home. You will get laughs and giggles but in the end you will plant an impression into their minds that will not soon be forgotten.

When teaching a lay-up from the right side, I use a bug analogy. On the exact spot the left foot is to land, I put a mark signifying a bug you want to stamp on. You will be amazed at how excited they become about proper footwork on their lay-ups now. Suddenly their awkward steps will become easier as will the skill of teaching lay-ups.

I have designed a teaching model for youth basketball that puts the FUN back into the game. Stepping on the "bug" is just one example of many that make up this creative approach to teaching fundamentals. Remember your days as a youth when working with elementary aged students. Once you recall those days, you will instantly become a better and more tolerant coach. We can begin to change the game one young person at a time. Use the ideas in this article to help change the approach to youth basketball in your gym.

Randy Brown has passion for the game of basketball. He works as a basketball consultant and mentor for coaches. Visit him at for free resources, Q & A, newsletter, and coaching programs. A speaker and writer, he has authored 75 articles on coaching and is nationally published. His 18 years in college basketball highlights a successful 23-year career. Mentored by Basketball Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson at Arizona. Resume includes positions at Arizona, Iowa State, Marquette, Drake, and Miami of Ohio, 5 Conference Championships and 5 NCAA apprearances. His efforts have helped develop 12 NBA players including Steve Kerr, Sean Elliott, and Jaamal Tinsley. To contact Randy, email him at