Basketball Lessons for Kids

By Darlene Peer
If the ball is held high, defensive players should flip upward instead of down to avoid a foul.
If the ball is held high, defensive players should flip upward instead of down to avoid a foul.

Coaching kids gives your the joy of seeing players develop and go on to play at higher levels using the foundation you laid for them. Take advantage of your young players' enthusiasm for the game and teach them the basics that will help them become well-rounded players. Although drills are important, keep them short so your players can have fun playing the game.

Playing Offensive

Help young players develop their skills by giving them the opportunity to play all offensive positions. This develops versatile players who have experience playing both the post and on the perimeter. All young players should be taught offensive fundamentals such as setting and reading screens. No matter what their skill level, they should learn how to change speed, cut and get open for a pass. Each player should get a feel for spacing and the importance of both player and ball movement.


When you're teaching young players, concentrate on how they move before you even pass them a ball. If a child has coordination problems or can't jump and land, she can't magically perform these feats while dribbling a ball. Get young athletes to jump, run backward, climb, move laterally, skip and just plain moving. Once she's moving well, then you can focus on developing power and technique. For example, before a child can do a jump shot, she'll need to work on jumping and landing, and then on jumping with enough power to make the shot.

Ball Handling

In order to help your young player develop a feel for the ball, practice five- or six-minute drills that focus on both stationary and slow-moving ball handling. This will help players improve hand-eye coordination, working with both hands and hand quickness, throwing and catching. The Maravich series of drill involves stationary dribbling, dribbling through cones, dribbling two balls in the stationary position and through cones, dribbling tennis balls and practicing the Steve Nash passing series. Your young player needs to be able to move down the court at any speed, move the ball between her hands and keep her head up.

Defensive Skills

Teach your players to keep a wide stance that's low to the ground. This will help them keep their balance. Let them know that most offensive moves aim to get the other player off balance. If they avoid the temptation to lunge or go for fake shots, they should be able to keep their stance and their balance. Practice preventing the other player from shooting the ball by placing a hand on the ball. That way the defensive player doesn't have to jump and risk losing her balance. If the ball is low, then she should practice keeping her hand above the ball to block the other player's shot. If the ball is held high, your player should put her hands under the ball and flip up. Most fouls are called if the the defensive player flips downward, plus the offensive player will have trouble bringing the ball down into shooting position.

About the Author

Darlene Peer has been writing, editing and proofreading for more than 10 years. Peer has written for magazines and contributed to a number of books. She has worked in various fields, from marketing to business analysis. Peer received her Bachelor of Arts in English from York University.