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First Time Youth Basketball Coaching pt. 7 - Offense


Dickinson Youth Basketball game

Here we will teach a little strategy in regards to making one-on-one moves and shooting the basketball.


Most young players will have to “alter” their shot in order to get the ball to the rim. So we won’t spend too much time on shooting form because this will change as the player develops the strength to shoot properly. Most will have to use two hands and almost hurl the ball to get it to the rim. It is ok to teach proper shooting form (again there are many books out there for this) but just realize form will probably have to be compromised simply due to lack of strength.

Jab Step:

This is where a player “jabs” out his leg, or foot in order to make the defender think he is about to drive to the basket. Many times this simple move will be enough to make a defender freeze or move the wrong direction.

Head Fake/Pump Fake/Shot fake:

These three moves are almost one and the same – sometimes a player may simply raise his head “as if” he were going to attempt a shot. Other times a player will give a head motion and bring the ball up as well. Make sure your players do not expose the ball to far away from their body while using the pump fake. A good drill to go along with this is to have the players form a line. Pass the ball to the first player, make him use the pump fake and then dribble drive to the basket.

Pass fake:

This move can also lull a defender to sleep and is a good way to blow past a defender. The offensive player simply pretends to pass (albeit very quickly) to a teammate; then dribble drives to the basket, takes a shot, etc. Many times a defender will begin to back away when he “thinks” the ball is about to be passed.

More on one-on-one offense:

Every player has things he does well and things he can not do well. The same applies to defense. Watch every nuance about your defender - ask yourself - is he faster than me, bigger, taller or stronger? Does he fall for pump fakes or jab steps? Is he too close can I just drive by him? If I do get by my defender is there someone else waiting to block my shot or take the ball away from me? If another defender does help will one of my teammates be open? Make sure you always use your “off-hand” (the hand not dribbling the basketball) in protecting the ball. Shoot only shots you can make and always look to find open teammates. Do not try to do things that are not a part of your game. Use and ask for screens to be set by your teammates. Make sure you see the pass before you make it. And keep it simple – if a bounce pass will get the job done – make a bounce pass. In other words do not make a behind the back, between the legs pass if it is not needed. Be confident when you shoot the basketball. Begin trying to teach them to take good shoots – if 4 players are guarding you it’s probably not a good shot!

 For more information: - and be sure to read the entire series on Coaching Youth Basketball.