Kids Basketball Practice Drills
Teaching Kids Basketball
By Brad Winters
Coaching kid's basketball is an exciting task for volunteer coaches. You may not have all the knowledge and expertice to coach a professional basketball team, but we have some good information regarding free basketball drills that will help you coach and train your team like a pro.
Use these basic basketball drills along with our simple basketball practice plan to help you organize and run a top-quality basketball practice.
[Related: Youth Basketball Playbook]
Utah's Andrei Kirilenko
Simple Basketball Practice Drills for Kids
Below is a list of good basketball practice drills for kids. Use our selection of children's basketball drills to plan your next basketball workout... Feel free to contact us in you need help understanding the different drills listed below.
Dribbling Basketball Practice Drills - 20 min.
Improving Speed and Quickness Basketball Practice Drills --- a) Dribble-in, b) Hammer drill, c) Body Circles drill, e) Figure 8 Passing drill, f) Figure 8 Dribbling drill, g) Blur ball handling drill, h) Straddle Flip ballhandling drill. *Basketball is a game of speed and quickness. #Kids make a circle at mid-court. Each player has a basketball. Team's leaders are positioned in the middle and lead the different youth ball handling drills.
Dribbling Basketball Practice Drill --- a) Speed dribble drill, b) Control dribble drill, c) hesitation dribble (Stutter dribble) drill, d) Stutter crossover dribble drill, e) Behind-the-back dribble drill, f) Spin dribble (Drag dribble) drill, g) Between-the-legs dribble drill, h) Inside-out dribble drill, i) Retreat crossover dribble drill, j) Killer crossover dribble drill, k) Crossover-spin dribble drill, l) Two-basketball dribble drill (change of pace dribbling/ change of direction dribbling) -- *Kids need to learn to dribble low to the floor, with their butt down, and protect the basketball (ball sureness). #Make 5 lines on the baseline. Each ball player has a ball. Coach calls the basketball dribble to be performed, and then blows whistle. Players perform dribble move at both foul lines extended and at the center court line. These are some advanced dribbling moves that you must practice daily.
Dribbling Practice Basketball Drill (Cones) --- a) Speed dribble drill, b) Stutter-crossover dribble drill, c) Behind-the-back dribble drill, d) Spin dribble (Drag dribble) drill, e) Between-the-legs dribble drill, f) Retreat-crossover dribble drill. -- *Kids must perform each basketball move two steps from each orange cone. Kids need to explosively train to develop a first step. Dribblers need to dribble low to the floor, and explode out of each basketball move. This is one of the top basketball dribbling drills for kids. #Make 2 lines, one under each rim. The first three players in each line should have a ball. Set orange cones at the foul line extended (ten feet from sideline), and at the center-court line (10 feet from middle of the floor). Players dribble at each orange cone, down and back, finishing tough with a lay-up at both ends of the floor. This is one of the best basketball dribbling drills to teach youth basketball players to dribble.
Defensive Zigzag Basketball Practice Drill --- *Defenders must learn to apply intelligent pressure on the ball. Kids must learn to maintain a good defensive basketball stance by staying low, maintaining touching distance from their man, keeping their nose on the ball, keeping their eyes on the dribbler's belly-button, sliding their feet, faking at the ball with their hands, and not crossing their feet. #Make 3 lines on the baseline. The 1st line plays full-court man defense. The 2nd line plays offense and dribbles the ball up the floor in a zig-zag style. In this simple youth basketball drill, we are trying to teach kids how to play defense and move their feet (defensive footwork) properly. This is an excellent defensive drill for basketball.
Full Court Warm-up Shooting Basketball Practice Drill --- a) Lay-up shot, b) Reverse lay-up shot, c) 15 Foot bank shot, d) 3-point shot off the dribble. *Kids dribble fast up the floor in as few dribbles as possible. #Start this warm-up practice drill for youth basketball by making two lines, one under each basket. Each line has a ball. Kids dribble the ball up the court and shoot the shot requested.
Dribble Penetrate Basketball Practice Drills --- a) Speed dribble drill, b) Inside-out dribble drill, c) Hesitation dribble drill (Stutter dribble), d) Killer crossover dribble drill. Basketball shots off each dribble --- a) Lay-up shot, b) Reverse lay-up shot, c) Baby jumper, d) Hop-back, bank shot off the glass. *Lids must develop a go-to move, and a counter go-to move. Perform each youth basketball dribble move two steps in front of the defender. #Manager stands two steps from the elbow spot at the foul line extended. Kids driible at the manager and perform the basketball move called. Kids then must rebound their shot and attack the cone positioned at the opposite elbow and again perform basketball move called. Kids start and finish the drill at the opposite 28-foot hash marks on the court. This is a great drill for improving your players' basketball dribbling skills, espeacially your team's point guard.
Pass-and-Power Up Basketball Practice Drill --- *This basketball handling drill teaches kids to draw-and-kick and finish strong in traffic. Learning to finish strong close to the basket with other players trying to block your shot is an advance basketball skill that must be developed. This outstanding youth basketball coaching drill does just that. #This drill starts with a player in 4 spots. Make 3 lines - 2 lines of players positioned in the corner of the floor, and another line at the half court circle. Position 1 player in the power zone just below the foul line. The middle line players with a basketball attack the defensive player positioned in the power zone and bounce pass the ball to one of the two players running to the top of the block from each corner. The corner player receiving the bounce pass tries to score while the opposite corner player and the middle defensive player tries to challenge his shot. This is one of the best basketball handling drills for point guards.
Dribble Conditioning Basketball Practice Drill --- a) Speed dribble w/ weak hand, b) Crab dribble, c) Scissors dribble, d) Two-ball basketball dribble. *Your attitude and hard work is the only thing you can control. Kids need to practice dribbling two basketballs to develop and improve their ball handling skills. This ball handling drill is very tough and physically very demanding. #Make 5 lines of players on the baseline. Each line has 2 basketballs. Each group will make 3 trips down-and-back (one cycle) using a variety of different ball handling dribbles. The 1st cycle kids speed dribble down-and-back using their weak hand. On the 2nd cycle, kids perform the tough scissors dribble down the court, and then return using the physically demanding crab dribble. On the last cycle, kids use 2 basketballs and dribble both down and back dribbling full-speed... As you can tell, this is also makes a great basketball conditioning drill at the end of your practice before you shoot free throws.
Passing Basketball Practice Drills - 15 min.
3-Lane Push Basketball Practice Drill --- *In this passing drill, kids must pass and catch the ball with two hands. Make sure your kids understand the need for making strong passes. Explain to them that they must concentrate and catch the ball with soft hands. #Make 3 lines of players on the baseline. Kids in the middle line all have a ball. This drill starts with the player in the middle passing the ball to the right wing. The right wing catches the ball and then quickly passes the ball back to the player in the middle. The middle player then passes the ball to the left wing as all 3 players run straight up the court. Now, when the middle player catches the ball in the power zone (lane), he uses what is called a jump stop, and makes a bounce pass to 1 of the wings running to the top of the block for the lay-up. As the 1st group reaches half-court, the next group begins the drill. This is one of the better passing drills in basketball.
3-Man Weave Basketball Practice Drill --- *Players must make good chest passes and catch the ball without dropping it. #Make 3 lines of kids on the baseline. Kids in the middle line all have a ball. This drill starts with player in the middle line passing the ball to a player on the wing, and then running hard behind the receiver and filling the outside lane. Players weave up the floor, passing and catching the ball. Players finish the drill at the opposite end of the floor by shooting a lay-up. As the basketball goes through the net, the opposite wing rebounds the ball and starts the weave again. Again, players weave up the floor and end the drill with a lay-up. This basic basketball drill teaches kids to pass and catch the ball while running full-speed.
5-Man Weave Basketball Practice Drill --- *Players must make good passes, catch all passes, and make all their lay-ups. #Make 5 lines on the baseline. Each group of 5 players makes 3 cycles (three trips down and back up the court) weaving up the court for the lay-up. This is one of the best passing drills in basketball.
Blow-out Lay-ups Basketball Practice Drill --- *Player must run hard for their teammates. Run the floor wide and remember to show a hand target. We must make our lay-ups. #Make 2 lines of players. Station 1 line at the foul shot line extended. Station the other line directly underneath the rim. The kid underneath the rim rebounds the basketball and takes 2 hard dribbles up the center of the floor. After taking his 2nd dribble, he then passes the basketball up the floor to his teammate running wide who finishes with a lay-up. The passer runs to the opposite foul line extended, and then runs hard back up the floor as the new pass receiver. The original shooter gets the basketball and then makes 2 strong dribbles up the center of the floor and hits his teammate for the lay-up. This is an excellent basketball conditioner drill.
3 on 2/ 2 on 1 Fast Break Basketball Practice Drill --- *We want to make every basketball fast break a 2 on 1. We are aour players to constantly look for opportunities to attack the basket. Kids must learn to read defenses and take what the defenses gives them. We want our kids to use a bounce pass in the paint. #Make 3 lines of players on the baseline, and position 2 players at the opposite end of the floor stacked in the middle of the floor just below the top of the key.
The full court basketball drill starts with the middle line passing the ball (outlet) to the right wing. The passer the runs behind the right wing and fills the outside lane up the floor. The receiver dribbles the ball back to the middle of the floor and attacks the top defensive player at the opposite end of the floor. The offensive dribbler must pick a side to attack the defensive tandem. If the dribbler attacks left, the right wing flashes to the top of the block, and the left wing spaces to the 3-point line. The offensive dribbler looks to score or draws-and-kicks to his open teammate. After taking the shot, the player who shot the ball must sprint back on defense. The original 2 defenders, then fast break to the opposite end of the court. Again, the ball handler looks to score, or draws-and-kicks to his teammate running to the top of the block for the lay-up.
Early Break/ Speed Break Basketball Practice Drills --- a) 5 vs. 3, b) 5 vs. 2, c) 5 vs. 1. *This basketball transition drill is design to teach players how to run our fastbreak, and the various shots we are looking to shoot. #This is the transition basketball drill we use to teach player roles and assignments for properly executing our fast break offense. We use what we call a Early break after all missed shots. After a made shot, we run what we call our Speed break.
Shooting Basketball Practice Drills - 15 min.
1 Hand Shooting Basketball Practice Drill --- *Player's shooting arm elbow should be directly above his foot and tucked in. The shooter's elbow keeps the shot straight. Shooters must bend their arm and make the L. #Shooters stands close to the rim and form shoot trying to groove his shot. Each shooter must make ten baskets without hitting the rim.
Two Player Shooting Basketball Practice Drill --- *Kids should stand bent over with their shooting hand foot back. As you catch the ball, swing your shooting hand foot forward to help you quickly lift the ball up and into your shot. Remember, the target is the center of the rim. Always finish your shot with your elbow above your eyebrows, and be sure to hold your follow-thru. #Start this youth basketball shooting drill with teams of 2 shooters positioned at each elbow. Shooters quickly shoot and try to score (two points). If the player misses, he must rebound the ball and score a lay-up (one point). After making a basket, the rebounder quickly passes the ball to his partner for the next shot. The game continues until 1 team scores twenty-one points. Below are the different moves and shots we practice.
a) Catch and Shoot (elbow/ wing, elbow/ elbow, wing/ short corner, wing/ top-of-key) --- *Try to shoot quickly, but do not rush your shot.
b) Pump Fake, 1 Dribble, Jump Shot (top of the key/wing) --- *Shooters must catch the basketball on balance, shoot the basketball on balance, and land on balance. Remember, it is not how high you jump, but how quickly you can shoot the basketball that's important.
c) Jab Step, Shot (top of the key/wing) --- *Use a 6-inch jab step. Make sure to keep your knees bent and read the defense.
d) Shot Fake, 2 Dribble, Jump Shot (top of the key/wing) --- *Execute a pump fake before you dribble. Dribble the ball low and hard. Try to get a piece of the paint. Always shoot on the way up. Make sure you follow your shots with your hands above your head.
Team Three-point Shooting Basketball Practice Drill --- *Shoot with a high, 60 degree arc on your shot. Hold a high 1 second follow-thru. Don't miss the shot right or left. Make sure you follow your shot with your hands up. #Groups of shooters compete against each other to see who can score the most baskets the quickest. Each group must make 5 three-point shots at each three-point shooting position (both wings, both corners, and at the top of the key). Each group has a member station under the basket to rebound the first shot.
Low Block Shooting Basketball Practice Drill --- a) Drop step, power lay-up, b) Turnaround jump shot (baseline side), c) Turnaround, pump fake, up-and-under basketball shot, d) Drop step, middle jump hook shot. *Kids must catch the ball with both feet in the air. Learn to chin the ball with your elbows out. Read of the defense by looking over your outside shoulder. #Make 2 lines of players underneath the goal stationed at the lane lines. Kids cut across the lane and catch the pass on the first hash above the block. Kids quickly shoot the shot called and then relocate to the end of the opposite line.
Sooner Intensity Shooting Drill --- *The dribble before a player begins his shot should be a high, quick explosive dribble to swiftly get into your shot. #Kids start with ball in the lane. They then make 2 hard dribbles away from the basket and shoot the ball off the dribble. Each player gets his own rebound and repeats the process. The winner of this youth basketball drill is the youngster who makes ten shots the fastest.
Line Shooting Basketball Drill --- *Players must play bent over and catch and pivot on their inside foot. #Players hustle from elbow-to-elbow shooting the ball (curling into their jump shot). Youth basketball shooting drill end when a shooter makes 10 shots.
Boxing Out Basketball Practice Drills - 10 min.
Circle Block Out Rebounding Drill --- a) Spin off rebound technique, b) Hook and pin rebound technique, c) Back stroke rebound technique. *Getting rebounding is 66% desire and 24% ability. #This is a college basketball drill used to teach players different rebounding techniques to gain inside position on their opposition.
2 on 2 Boxing Out Basketball Practice Drill --- *Block out and fight for inside position. Players must make and maintain contact, and stay between the ball and their opponent. #Start with 2 lines of players underneath the basket. The 1st players in each line play defense, and the next player in each line plays on offense. The coach dribbles the ball down the middle towards the 2 defensive players who must pinch and seal the gap with their inside foot high. As the coach shoots the shot, the two offensive players stationed on the baseline sprint to block-out and rebound the shot. The 4 players then battle for the control of the rebound. If the offense gets the ball, they try to score swiftly. If a player on defens gets the ball, he then must outlet the ball to the manager.
Bronx Boxing Out Basketball Practice Drill --- *Kids must make and maintain contact on all block outs. We block out every day, every drill, all the time. #Start with 3 players in the lane. Each player tries to rebound the basketball and score. Each basket scored counts 1 point. Each player plays until he scores 3 points. As 1 player finishes, a new player jumps in to continue the drill. All players stay in the lane and battle as long as it takes for them to score 3 points.
3-on-3 Closeout/Boxing Out Basketball Practice Drill --- *Close-out smart. Kids must get a hand up and contest every shot. Then 3/4 turn on the perimeter with your arm-bar up. Block-out and rebound the basketball. No offensive rebounds. #Start the drill with 3 offensive players on the perimeter, and 3 defensive players under the basket in the lane. The coach then passes the ball to 1 of the offensive players. On the air-time of the pass, defensive players begin to either closeout or assume the proper defensive position guarding their man. Offense tries to score and defense tries to gain possession of the basketball. If offense scores a basket, then the same defensive players must go again until they get a stop.
Time Out Water Break - 10 min.
Kid's Team Basketball Practice Drills - 20 min.
Shell Defense Basketball Practice Drill --- a) 4 on 4 around-the-horn, b) 4 on 4 penetrate and dish, c) 4 on 4 with low-post, d) 4 on 4 with two offensive players in the corner. *Ultimate drill for teaching all of our man defensive rules. #Listed above are the situations we use to constantly reinforce to our players our man defense tactics. Each group of four players must play winning defense before we change player groups on the court.
Team Offense Basketball Drills --- a) Motion offense, b) Even font zone offense, c) Odd front zone offense, d) Match up zone offense, e) Flex offense, f) 1-4 High offense, g) Delay game offense, h) Full court zone press offense, i) Full court match up press offense, and j) Half court press offense.
Basketball Offensive Plays Drills --- a) Man offense basketball plays, b) Zone offense plays, c) Baseline inbounds plays, d) Sideline inbounds plays, e) Last second plays.
Team Defense Breakdown --- a) Zone defense slides, b) 1 2 1 1 Press slides, c) 2 2 1 Press slides, d) 1 3 1 Half-court press slides, e) Under out-of-bounds defense, f) Triangle and Two, g) Box-and-1.
Basketball Game Preparation --- *Review of our opponent's scouting report - man-to-man offense, offensive plays, inbounds plays, press breakers, basketball defenses, zone slides, press defense, and individual players.
Kid's Defense/ Offense Basketball Practice Drills - 25 min.
1-on-1 Basketball Practice Drill --- *Pressuring the ball without fouling, lunging, reaching, giving up the open shot, or giving up the easy lay-up. #This simple basketball drill can be either a half-court drill or full-court drill. Offense starts on the side of the court and tries to attack the basket and score. Defense pressures dribbler trying to arc the ball sideline and force the dribbler to speed up his game. Goal is to force either a turnover or contested jump shot. Of course, defensive player must always block out and rebound the basketball. After one group finishes, we send the next group.
2-on-2 Basketball Practice Drill --- *Protect the inside gaps and do not get split down the middle. Defenders must arc the ball to the sideline. Defenders cannot allow cutters to cross their face in the lane. Challenge all shots with a hand up on every shot. Defenders must finish the play by blocking out and rebounding the ball. #This basic basketball drill can be used either as a half-court drill or a full-court drill. Action is fast, and easy to spot defensive breakdowns and weaknesses. After one group finishes, we send the next group.
3-on-3 Basketball Practice Drill --- *Full court man-to-man defense drill that is our all-time favorite basketball drill. Here we apply all our man-to-man basketball defensive tactics. This is our best drill for teaching kids how to play basketball - offensively player movement, spacing, attacking the rim, making the extra pass, screens, reading screens, dribble weaves, ball screens, draw-and-kick action, shot selection, etc. #The drill starts at one end of the court with three offensive players and three defensive players. Offense must pick a side to give our defensive a strong/weak-side look. We start in perfect defensive position. Help-side defender is in the middle of the court. Defender one pass away is one-step off his man and two-steps up the line. The defender guarding the ball is within touching distance and arcing the offensive player towards the sideline. The offensive team then tries to score on the defensive team. If the offense scores, the defense rips the ball out of the net and tries to fast break back the other way. Each group goes down-and-back and then the next group of six takes to the floor.
5 on 5 Full-court Control Basketball Practice Drill --- *Know our basketball offensive system and our defensive basketball system. Play team basketball. Make the extra pass on offense. Don't force bad shots. Always look to attack the basket. Try to create offense for your teammates. Eliminate silly turnovers! #We begin this control scrimmage basketball drill in the half-court. We designate the defense and the offense we want to attack. If offense scores, the offensive team gets the ball again. When the defense gets the ball, they then attack at the opposite end of the court. Action continues until one of the two teams scores. The team that scores gets the ball again in the half-court.
4 on 4 Cut Throat Basketball Practice Drill --- a) Defense must make three consecutive stops, b) Make a stop and then rotate offense to defense. On defense do your work early. Do not allow your man to cross your face in the lane. Defense must have passionate talk. Defense must seal the gaps and protect the power zone. Defense must fight on defense and show that they are warriors. On offense we want strong passes, constant player movement, solid screens set, good ball movement, and wise shot selection! #This drill uses three teams of four players. There are many different variations of keeping score in this drill. Players really enjoy this basketball drill.
3 on 3 No Dribble Basketball Practice Drill --- *On offense always catch and face at your basket. Be sure to chin the ball in a good strong offensive basketball stance. Remain low in your stance and "sweep" the ball. Kids must learn to handle the pressure and make good decisions with the ball, and not panic when being pressured defensively. Kids must protect the ball and make head fakes and ball fakes to help create passing lanes. #This is a very tough and demanding drill. No dribble is allowed and the team that scores first wins.
5 on 5 Full-court Transition Basketball Practice Drill --- *Always run back on defense and play strong defense. Kids must learn to point and talk on defense. #Begin with 5 defenders positioned across the court at the foul line extended. Offensive players are spread out across the baseline. Coach passes the basketball to an offensive player that triggers the fastbreak. The defensive player guarding the ball must sprint and touch the baseline before starting back on defense. This forces the other defenders to stop ball and defend the players on offense who are the greatest threats to shoot and score easy baskets. This basketball transition drill is one of our core defensive drills. Teaching kids to play transition defense is very important.
4 on 4 Full-court Basketball Practice Drill --- *Kids must play smart, play as one, and practice basketball fundamentals. #Game played with 4 players on each squad. The squad that scores eight points 1st wins. The winning squad has the choice to take a time out or stay on the floor and play the next team. This is a very fun youth basketball drill for the kids.
Kid's Free Throw Shooting Practice Drills - 10 min.
Make 10 Free Throws in a Row --- *To win the big games, you must get to the free throw line, and then you must make your foul shots.
Free Throw Practice Shooting Drill (make X) --- *Kids must concentrate and learn to relax when shooting free throws. Kids must learn to eliminate thinking while shooting free throws. Here is the foul shooting technique that we coach: a) See the basketball go in twice, b) Use 3 dribbles, c) Tell yourself - bounce, bounce, bounce, SWISH! as you let it rip. Always remember, the squad that gets to the foul line the most, usually wins 85% of the time. #Use this basic basketball drill to improve foul shooting.
Coaching kid's basketball can be one of the most rewarding things a dad or mom can do. Enjoy this time with your child and your team. Don't worry about being the perfect basketball coach, just do your best and have fun!