The best basketball drills for kids

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Kids learn basketball best with drills and practice
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Basketball drills for kids teach basic skills, contribute to physical conditioni

Becoming an excellent basketball player requires an all-around game and a variety of skills.  Unless a player is able to rely on truly exceptional physical gifts he will need to be comfortable in any position on the floor and able to contribute whatever a coach asks.  Here is a short list of simple individual drills that can be used to improve in three major facets of basketball:  Perimeter game, post play, and defense.

Perimeter/Shooting Drills

1) ’5, 10, 15’ Shooting Drill- Begin five feet from the basket, standing directly in front of the hoop.  Using only one hand shoot the ball with perfect form, keeping the elbow at about eye level and being sure to follow through on each shot.  Continue shooting at this distance until five consecutive shots have been made, then step back another five feet.  Repeat the drill and step back to fifteen feet (the free throw line), again shooting until five consecutive baskets have been made.  Do not shoot with two hands on the ball, and emphasize a consistent follow through for each shot.

2)  Full court layup- Have players receive an inbounds pass where the three point line meets the extended free throw line and immediately turn up the court, dribbling to complete a layup at the opposite basket.  Count the number of dribbles.  Repeat, but reduce the number of dribbles allowed by 1.  Players will need to increase their speed and the length of their stride to complete the drill.  Continue reducing the number of drills allowed until the players are dribbling at a full sprint and are forced to take a full jump to complete their layup.  Practice right- and left-handed.  Be sure players always use their outside hand and jump off their inside foot while shooting (i.e. use a right-handed layup on the right side of the floor and jump off the left foot).

3)  Figure 8 dribbling drill- Have the player stand with his legs spread, knees bent, and butt down.  Have him repeatedly dribble a ball with his hands about 12” above the floor in a figure eight pattern around his legs, switching from right to left hand in the middle, forming a ‘figure 8’ pattern.  Time this drill for 60 seconds, encouraging players to dribble as quickly as possible.  Other variations include using only one hand to dribble around one leg, a ‘hammer dribble’ where a player takes one dribble with each hand in front of his body, then switches to two dribbles with his hands behind his body and so forth, and a ‘scissor dribble’, in which the player dribbles once between his legs, passing the ball from left to right hand, cradles the ball around his leg, and repeats, this time passing the ball from right to left hand.

Post Drills

4)  Mikan drill- Have players stand directly in front of the basket, about two to three feet in front of the hoop.  Take one step to the right side of the basket, using the left foot, and shoot a mini-hook off the backboard with the right hand, making sure to follow through.  As soon as the shot goes through, rebound the ball and step to the other side of the basket using the right foot and shooting a left-handed hook.  Repeat the drill for 60 seconds, encouraging players not to miss any shots.

5)  Crossing the lane turnaround jumper- Beginning on the opposite block, have players cut across the lane to receive a pass on the lower block and immediately shoot a turnaround jumper, turning to the baseline.  Do not allow players to fade on the shot, but instead immediately square up with the ball high and shoot as soon as the feet are set.  Have the players hold up their hands to give the passer a target, and begin turning as they catch the ball.  If two passers are available have the player go block to block until he’s completed 10 shots on each side. 

6)  Power rebound-Starting at one of the blocks, have the player toss the ball over the basket off the backboard, cross the lane, and jump as powerfully as possible to grab the ‘rebound’ out of the air.  Force players to catch the ball at the top of their jump, always with two hands.  As soon as the player comes down with the ball have him jump back up towards the basket and complete a two-handed layup, without bringing the ball below chin level at any time.


7) Quick feet drill- Have players stand facing a coach with one hand pointing straight up in the air.  While the drill lasts players will run in place with short, quick steps (’hot feet‘).  Every time the coach blows his whistle players will immediately drop into a defensive stance until the coach blows the whistle again.  When the coach points to his left or right players will slide in a defensive position in that direction until the coach is again pointing straight up.

8) Ball denial - have one offensive player and one defensive player begin beneath the basket, with a coach throwing a pass from the top of the key.  Have offensive player sprint and cut to get open at the three point line, with the defensive player staying above the cutter and denying the pass at the wing.  The defensive player can not allow the offensive player to receive the ball on the wing (back cuts are OK) for 10 seconds.  Repeat until the defensive player has accomplished three consecutive stops.

9) Defensive slides- Have players slide laterally in a defensive position diagonally back from hash mark to hash mark across the lane as quickly as possible.  Do not allow players to cross their legs or raise out of their stance when changing directions.

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