Practice time should consist of a certain number of drills. These normally breakdown a skill and promote repetition of a movement or action. There are many books and websites dedicated to just basketball drills – check them out! With that being said there are many helpful and useful drills you can use to help your players develop some skills. You can purchase dribble glasses (they block you being able to see the ball when you dribble) to aid dribbling skills. Tennis balls can be used to practice dribbling. If you can dribble a 2 inch tennis ball all of a sudden the basketball seems that much bigger and easier to handle.
Defensive slide drill:
Have players get into a defensive position. You will then point a direction and have the players continue to go in that direction until you point another direction. Make sure they do not cross their feet, keep their hands out, and heads up. They should be working on their balance and feeling comfortable moving/changing directions from this position. Also moving while focusing on another individual in this instance the coach.
**Defensive tip – once a player is beaten he will have to “turn and run”, then get back into their defensive position after they catch up with the offensive player. Remember the defensive player is moving backwards – most people can not run as fast backwards as they can forwards!
Defensive slide pass:
Players get into defensive position and face each other (about 2 or 3 feet apart) they begin sliding (staying together) and chest passing the ball back and forth to each other. Make sure players always keep their hands up to catch the ball.
**Offensive tip- putting your hands up gives your teammate a “target” to pass the ball to. Many times a player will want the ball high, low or on a specific side because of how a defender or team is guarding them.
The best way to become a better dribbler is to practice! Hours and hours of practice! This is one of the things players can/should do on their own or at home. Focus on keeping the ball on the finger tips and the head up. Many players dribble with their head down – you simply can not see open players, traps etc – with your head down! Bend at the knees and waist – keep your opposite hand out to protect the basketball. Always dribble low and keep the ball close to your body to protect it.
Stand close to a wall, make sure the basketball is higher than your head, and dribble with one hand (very fast). Concentrate on keeping the ball on your fingertips. Dribble for 100 reps with one hand, then 100 with the other.
Spread cones out evenly (about 5 yards apart) in a row have the players dribble (weave) in and out of the cones. Pretend the cones are defenders – keep the ball low and close to your body. Have them practice each of the different ways to get by a defender. Maybe 2 or 3 rotations of crossovers (at each cone the player will perform the desired move then continue to the next cone) then between the legs dribble etc.
Be sure to check back for more installments of first time youth basketball coaching!
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