When you are coaching youth basketball, keeping things fresh is the best way to not only keep your players interested in the game, but also the best way to help them learn. Kids, both very young and young adult, learn best when they are having fun. This is why it is so important to utilize a variety of basketball drills in your practices to make sure that not only are your players still invested, but that they are learning at the same time.
When it comes to practice, an area that usually needs a little extra work, especially with younger players, is transitioning. If your team is struggling with transitioning too, use these basketball drills to improve your team’s transitions while also improving their stick-to-it-iveness… because, well, mixing up drills is a lot more fun of course and they will be more eager to show up to practice ready to learn.
The 11 Player Drill
Players Needed: 11 players
Start out by forming four lines, one in each corner of the court all equal to the freethrow line. Next, place 3 people at mid-court, with the person in the middle holding the ball. The people here at mid-court fast break on the two defenders that are waiting at the end. Once the three players score or there is a turnover, the two players in front of the two lines where the ball is will go on a fastbreak heading toward the end with the player that receives the rebound.
> Improved defense
> Better transitioning
> Perfected passing
The 1 vs 2 and 2 vs 1 Drill
Players Needed: 3 players
Have your players begin with a basic three lines drill position starting at the baseline. The central line will be the line with the ball (offensive player) and those lateral will be without the ball (defensive players.)
On the signal the first player who has the ball at the central line will dribble the length of the court and go for a layup at the opposite basket.
On a second signal, waiting two or three seconds later, the first player from both of the two lateral lines will sprint to stop the ball. Once a make or a missed shot occurs, the two defending players will then become offensive players. The previous offensive player will spring back to become a defender in a two vs one situation. Once a score is made, the two former defensive players will inbound the ball under the basket they have worked to defend.
> Better offensive and defensive transition
*Tip: Emphasize speed during this drill to get better outcomes overtime.
The 2-2 Transition Defense Drill
Players Needed: 8 players
Start out by making groups of two. Then, create an offensive and defensive team on one basket. Divide the other groups of 2 up at the free throw line extended-sideline, equally, on both ends of your court. One player will be positioned to the right side of his teammate to the left.
The teams on the court will play against one another until the offense scores or the defense gets a rebound. The rebounding player will then quickly outlet the ball to one of the players waiting at the free-throw-line. This player will then take off with his assigned teammate and try to score an uncontested layup.
The former offensive player turns defensive and then must hustle back to the other end of the court, attempting to stop the now new offensive player. The former defensive player goes at the end of the line at the free-throw line. This drill continues on until a set time.
> Improved transitioning
*Tip: This drill makes for a great way to end your practice session. Not only is a continual, but because of this, it is also quite tiring for your team. If you get your other drills out of the way towards the beginning of your practice, you can finish out with this drill to make sure that your team is fresh for newer drills at the beginning of practice. It is pretty hard to get the best out of your players if you have already worn them out before you have signaled the whistle!
Coaching youth basketball takes a lot of patience and perseverance, but when you keep drills fresh and make it a point to hone in on what needs the most work as a team, not just singling out your weakest links, you can turn things around for your team… and your season.