Basketball is a great team sport for all ages of children that is high energy, dynamic and engaging. In order to help children develop into good basketball players it is important to break the game down into its different parts to develop competency across all areas. After all the pieces of the puzzle are in place then your child will be ready to enjoy the sport in the full team play 5v5 format.
Before getting your children started with the coaching program it is a great idea to give them a feel for how the game of basketball works and educate them on the key rules. This doesn’t need to be anything in too much detail just the basics so that they can understand exactly how the game works.
- Basketball is played with two teams with 5v5 players.
- The objective is to score more points than the opposing team
- To score points a team must throw the ball through the basket with 2 points scored for shots inside the 3 point line and 3 points for shots scored outside the 3 point line.
- When moving with the ball the two key rules that your child should grasp are traveling and double dribbling.
- To avoid traveling when holding the ball with two hands your child can take one step, and the other foot should remain stationary and be used as a pivot.
- To avoid double dribbling children should remember that after dribbling the ball and catching the ball again with two hands they must then pass the ball and can’t resume dribbling again.
- Basketball is primarily a none contact sport with possession changing hands when the ball is intercepted.
Suitable Net Heights
Before getting into the different activities to develop your child’s basketball skills its important to make sure that your child has the right equipment. Ensuring that your child practices to the appropriate net height is important for two key reasons.
- First of all the correct net height is imperative for the development of good shooting technique. Shooting to a net that is too high will make the primary objective of children to throw the ball as high as possible in order to reach the net which normally results in the legs being used too much in the shooting action and also both hands being used to propel the ball upwards rather than one dominant shooting hand a supporting hand as per the guide in the shooting technique section.
- Secondly shooting from a net that is beyond the optimal range for the child results in a lower success rate which can have a damaging effect on a child’s confidence on perception of their own shooting ability.
Here is the ideal net height that should be used for various age groups:
|Age Group||Net Size|
Suitable Ball Sizes For Kids Basketball
Having the right size of basketball is equally important for developing good technique in dribbling, passing and shooting. Here’s the ideal sizes of ball for children of different age groups:
|Age Group||Ball Size|
|9 and under||Size 5 (27 inches)|
|10-12||Size 6 (28.5 inches)|
|12+||Size 7 (29.5 inches)|
The first stage of getting your child comfortable on the basketball court is helping them to become a good ball handler. The three keys here are to be able to:
- Be able to move from walking speed right up to a sprint whilst dribbling the ball
- Be able to stop and change direction whilst moving with the ball
- Be able to move whilst having a full awareness of what is going on around them.
The below drills will help your child to get comfortable moving with the ball and this will form the perfect foundation for other skills to be built upon. These are great exercises as they can be practiced anywhere, just make sure that your child is using the right size ball in order to develop good technique:
- Ball slaps- Alternate between the right and left hand progressing the speed as you go.
- Wrap Arounds- Wrap the ball around the waist and ankles in a circular and figure of eight movement without letting the ball touch the floor.
- Drops- start in a squatting position holding the basketball in two hands. As the ball drops, let it bounce, wrap the hands behind the legs and catch then ball between your legs. Then drop the ball again and catch it in front of the legs.
- Pound dribble- dribble the ball as hard as you can whilst keeping control of the ball, when the ball rebounds it should reach shoulder height. Focus on both hands to build a stronger dribbling style.
- Circles- starting with the ball very low dribble the ball around your legs in a circle, after doing this with both legs individually try progressing to having both legs together.
- Figure Of 8- Dribble the ball around the legs in a figure of eight motion keeping the ball as low as possible to the ground.
- Cross Over Dribbling- Cross the ball in front of then behind the body in a continuous movement, this should be done as wide as possible in an exaggerated movement. After getting comfortable progress to doing this behind the back.
Avoiding Traveling & Double Dribble
As specialists in kids basketball coaching in Dubai one of the common errors that we see our students making in game based scenarios is double dribbling and traveling. Here are some fun ways that you can help to educate your child to avoid them from violating these rules:
- Double Dribbling- Most children double dribble as they instinctively grab the ball as they stop moving. The best way to avoid this is to help your child to get comfortable running, stopping and running again whilst maintaining the dribble. The best way to do this is to play red light and green light with your child. Move up and down the court together green for go red to stop all the time maintaining the dribble with no double dribbling.
- Traveling- teaching children to avoid is a key part of them being able to be successfully involved in a game. To perform a jump stop the player traveling with the ball should come to an instant stop with both feet landing on the ground simultaneously. When landing there are three main keys to look for, firstly the knees should be bent producing an athletic position to move from, secondly the head should be up and lastly the jump into the jump stop should be small so that the players lands on balance. An ideal jump stop put the player in a triple threat position where they can either dribble, pass or shoot which makes them difficult to defend.
Shooting is one of the most rewarding part of basketball and nothing will put a smile on your child’s face on the court as much as scoring the perfect “swish”. From a team perspective shooting is also the most crucial element of winning a basketball match in order to score more points than the opposing team and win the game! Here are our key tips that you can look out for to help your child to become the best shooter possible, take them step by step following them in order and your child will develop consistency and become confident in their shooting ability:
- Eyes On The Basket- In any target based sport
There are two basic types of passes that a player should be able to perform to successfully transfer possession of the bad
- Air Pass- the ball passes through the air and is caught directly by the team mate.
- Bounce Pass- the ball is bounced on the floor midway between the two players before being caught by the receiving player.
Now we will look at the various techniques that can be used to perform these two types of passes:
The chest pass starts with the hands on either side of the ball with the ball in a starting position close to the chest with the hands turned inwards pointing towards the body and the thumbs turned down. As the ball is thrown the hands rotate so that the fingers finish pointing towards the intended target.
Using the same motion as the chest pass the ball should be thrown on a downward trajectory with the aim of landing the ball 3/4 of the way between the thrower and the receiving player. When the ball rebounds and reaches the other player it should ideally reach just above waist height so that the receiving player can easily gather the ball.
In this pass the ball should be drawn back over the forehead in a similar technique used in a football throw in, the throwing player should aim to throw the ball towards the receiving players chin. In a game situation this pass is often used at the start of the play as an outlet pass to begin a move after the ball has been rebounded from a shot form the opposing team.
Wrap Around Pass
A wrap around pass is a great way of moving the ball to the team mate around a defending player. This should be done by stepping with the none pivot foot and taking the ball in the outside hand either throwing a bounce or air pass.
As experts in kids basketball coaching in Dubai, we find that defense is the area of the sport that children tend to shy away from in practice. Because this activity is without the ball it is something that children can find less enjoyable, that said the ability to be able to defend the basket is an essential skill required in order to become a well rounded basketball player. Here are some of the ways that we try to keep children engaged in defense based drills so to keep things fun and ultimately help children to develop the defensive fundamentals required to be a good team player.
- Start by asking children what a scare crow is, how it looks and particularly how its arms are.
- Ask the children to make a scare crow position with their palm facing outwards and slightly to the sky
- Children should then learn to shuffle by touching their laces together. For young children learning how to play defense this can be the most challenging part as their legs can get tangled. This movement should all be done whilst keeping their scarecrow arms pointed outwards
- To help children to move faster they should add a jump o their side steps with speed being increased gradually.
Here’s a video to give you a feel for exactly how this drill developed by How They Play who have a variety of great exercises across a variety of sports that can be used by parents and coaches alike to help children improve in a variety of sports.
Offense and Defense Conversation
When children have got the hang of a basic defense movement its time to teach them how and when to apply this in the game. The best way to establish this is to apply the following process:
- Always remind children when they are on defense
- Ask them if defense happens when their team has the ball or is without the ball
- Try trick questions here to let them correct you “So offense is when you don’t have the ball and defense is when you have the ball”
- At the end of these exchanges concede that the children are smarter than you and a are ready to play.
- Now that they know it ask them to apply it in a game situation and reflect on how well they do this after practice or games.
Fun Shooting Games
Helping your child to develop good shooting technique is just the beginning of the journey to making your child a great shooter on the basketball court. The games detailed below offer super fun avenues to help your child to develop good technique and are great to play as parent and child. Remember to ensure that you use a net with a height appropriate to the height of the child
The 1st player takes a shot from a pre selected point on the court, if the 1st player miss the ball is handed over to the other player who gets to choose a new spot. If the 1st player scores then the 2nd player must score from the same place to avoid getting the letter H. The game goes on until one of the players spells H – O – R – S – E
You and your child start at a pre decided point for the first ‘hole’. If the shooter scores then their score for the first hole is 1, if they miss they take the next shot from where they collect the rebound, if the second shot goes in the score for the hole is 2. When both of you complete the hole then you move to hole 2, just like golf you can play until 9 or 18 holes have been completed with the player with the lowest score as the winner!
This is a great game for practicing shooting, dribbling and rebounding and is best played in a group of 3 or more and requires 2 balls. All players line up behind the free throw line (be sure that the distance of this is suitable for your child). The first player shoots and tries to score, if they miss they rebound the basketball until they score. After the first player shoots the second player shoots trying to score before the first player in order to knock them out of the game. After they score the ball is handed to the player at the back of the line.
Fun Team Games
These games are great if your child has a couple or more friends over for a play date and can be played on the driveway or at a local park. These games develop a mixture of team play, dribbling and shooting.
Basketballs are placed in a circle with the children moving around the circle and music playing. When the music stops the children must collect a ball and run to score a lay up. The last to score is eliminated until a winner is found!
Sharks and Minnows
All of the children line up on one side of the court and are defined as the minnows and should be given a basketball. One or two children are selected as the sharks. The minnows must try to make it all the way down to the end of the court without the ball being stolen or bounced our of bounds by the sharks, if this happens the minnow becomes a shark. Minnows who are seen traveling and double dribbling also become sharks until there is just one minnow remaining who is the winner.
This baseball inspired games involves a group of “batters” (dribblers) having to dribble all the way around the edge of the court before the shooter scores a basket from a predetermined point. If the dribbler makes it around the court they score a point, whereas if the shooter scores a basket the current dribbler must freeze where they are.
The NBA- Get Inspired!
When you start having fun with these activities with your child we are confident that you will both fall in love with basketball. A great way to take this one step further and get even more into the game is watching the NBA! In the UAE this can be watched on Bein Sports or if you aren’t subscribed to this then here’s a few videos of some of the basketball greats for your child to select as a role model:
Basketball is one of the most dynamic sports for young children and a great way to develop a strong work ethic and teamwork skills in children. If you’d like to get your child involved in kids basketball coaching in Dubai then why not take a 30 day free trial in our Kidster program which has basketball sessions available though the day for our 3 main age groups of 3-4, 5-7 and 8-11. In the meantime f you have any questions about anything in this blog post or anything to do with our basketball program feel free to drop us a message on any of our channels, give us a call or write us a message in the comments box below.
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