Coaching Youth Basketball »  Free Basketball Plays, Tips & Drills

Basketball Plays Against a Zone Defense

21 comments — posted 2013 Nov by Youth Sports Plans

In youth basketball, the use of a zone defense has become more popular in recreational youth basketball leagues.  Coaches like to teach the zone because it is easier to defend a good offense, and to stop a good point guard.  We don't agree with running a zone defense in youth basketball because it takes away from teaching the fundamentals.  We think man to man is the best way to teach kids basketball, but do understand the need to compete as well.

So, if you are competing against a zone defense, what offense should you run?   We recommend using a spread...

Dribbling Relay Race

0 comments — posted 2013 Jan by Youth Sports Plans


Purpose of Drill: This is a fun and challenging basketball drill for kids of all ages. Forces players outside their comfort zone to dribble the basketball quickly while staying in control of their ball. This youth drill has lots of variations and can be used over and over.

Equipment Needed: Cones, Basketballs

Set Up:  Create 4-5 rows of cones depending on the number of players you have.

You should have a maximum of four players per team. Place cones far enough apart so players have room to weave through but close enough together that...

Defensive Drills - "Two on One"

3 comments — posted 2012 Dec by Youth Sports Plans



Purpose: Defensive players work on footwork and discipline guarding the fast break. Offensive players work on passing and finishing a two-on-one situation.

Drill Set-Up: Start two offensive players at the half court line, with one player at the top of the three point line ready to defend. One of the two offensive players should have the ball.

The Drill: The two offensive players start toward the basket as if on a fast break. They are required to pass the ball at least three times before taking a shot, and may not make more than one...

Jab Step Basketball Skill

5 comments — posted 2012 Oct by Youth Sports Plans


The Jab Step is used in basketball to allow the ball handler to read the defender and make next move accordingly.  The ball handler should hold the ball facing the defender.  The shoulders should be turned away with the ball being held on the back hip of the ball handler.  The player will step forward with their front foot and quickly step back (the gap step).   The back foot needs to be the pivot foot. 

Next move - The player will step forward if the defender does not move, then the ball handler will make next...

V-Cut Drills - Getting Open in Basketball

4 comments — posted 2012 Oct by Youth Sports Plans


The V- Cut is a technique that is used to get open in basketball.  Youth basketball players are often challenged with getting space from the defender to receive a pass.  The V-Cut is designed to make a quick move away from your position and quickly move back to the area to receive the ball.   The cut has to be done quickly and with authority to pull the defender with you so when the player cuts back the defender is left behind and the offensive player is open to receive the pass.  


Pass and Go - Youth Basketball Play

4 comments — posted 2012 Oct by Youth Sports Plans



This is a basic basketball play that works well against a loose zone or man to man defense.  Young players that are still developing their dribbling skills can use a passing play to help create an open shot.

The point guard will dribble across mid court and move as close as possible to the 3 point arc.  The 3 guard will use a V-Cut to get themselves open.  Point guard will pass to the 3 guard, while the 4 position will move up and pick the defensive player on the...

Teaching the basic mechanics of shooting a basketball to young players

4 comments — posted 2012 Oct by Youth Sports Plans


When a 4-foot-tall young boy is trying to shoot a basketball that's bigger than his head into a hoop that's 10-feet high, his form is most certainly not going to look like Michael Jordan's. But someday, he won't be small anymore, and if he doesn't develop the correct shooting mechanics when he's learning the game, he'll look like Shaq at the free-throw line.

One of the most common habits you'll see in youth basketball is a tendency to throw the ball, rather than shoot it. A lot of that has to do with...

Shoot Out - Shooting and Rebounding Drill

2 comments — posted 2012 Oct by Youth Sports Plans


Setting up the Drill:   Line all players up behind the foul line (if you have a larger team, you may divide the group in half and use both basketball goals to play the game).  The first two people in the line will have basketballs.   

The Drill:   When you say go, the first player will shoot the ball rom the foul line.  If they make the shot, they will retrieve the ball and give it to the next player in line without a ball.  If the player misses the shot, they will rebound the ball and...

Coaching tips: Basic skills to teach beginner basketball players

4 comments — posted 2012 Oct by Youth Sports Plans


If you are embarking on the upcoming basketball season with a fresh crop of youngsters who are new to the game, there are some key skills that you should focus on in order to develop your players athletically and teach them about the sport.

Some are much more obvious than others, like shooting, which is a go-to for every coach. Whatever the drill or the height of the hoop, there isn't a practice that goes by without going over tactics to get the ball into the net. Some more crucial techniques to teach your beginners include:


Basketball Drills: Dribbling and Defending Drill (Speed)

6 comments — posted 2012 Sep by Youth Sports Plans


Setting up the Drill:  Pair each player with a partner to start this drill.  Have the players line up on each sideline facing one another.  Place a basketball in the center in front of each pair.   

The Drill:  Use the whole court so the players will have more space to dribble the basketball (you can also use cones to keep the players from getting in the way of another pair).   Once you blow your whistle, the players should race to the basketball directly in front on them.  The player that picks...

Basketball Drill : Dribble, Pass, Shoot

5 comments — posted 2011 Dec by Youth Sports Plans


Drill Set Up:

Set up three cones:    Cone #1 is place at three point arc, left side of the key.  Cone #2 is placed at a similiar spot on the right side of the key, and Cone #3 is placed on the right side of the basket, about 10 feet  from the basket.   Set up two equal lines one behind cone #1 and the other behind cone #3. 

The Drill:

The ball will start with players lined up at cone #1.  The player will dribble the basketball done the three point line to cone #2.  Once at #2...

Passing Drill for Basketball

6 comments — posted 2011 Dec by Youth Sports Plans


Set - Up:

Divide the players into two equal groups.  The two groups will face each other standing on each side of the lane. Each player in each line should be paired with another player from the other group. They will be passing to each other.  Younger players may have to stand closer.

The Drill: 

Each player will pass the ball to the player opposite them.  They will make a good formed pass.  Start the drill with simple a bounce passes, them move to a chest pass.  Focus on good form. The ball be passed so its...

The Importance of Proper Shooting Technique

4 comments — posted 2011 Nov by Youth Sports Plans


The importance of proper shooting technique is often overlooked and under coached. However, shooting is the most fun and motivating skill for kids to learn. Many kids tend to use a heaving throw to get the ball moving towards the basket at first. With the proper technique and shooting motion the kids will build a more accurate shot. Remember, it takes practice and determination to get down the proper form.

Keep Beginner Basketball Practices Simple

4 comments — posted 2011 Nov by Youth Sports Plans


As a first time coach, it is normal to want to jump in and teach beginner basketball players a wide range of basketball plays. However, it is important to remember that the younger the children, the simpler those beginner basketball plays will need to be because they cannot remember complicated plans and plays. Stick to the basic routines of lining up and of switching positions as the ball is worked up & down the court. Leave complicated zigzag patterns and things like these to older basketball players who may be able to remember them more readily.

Youth Basketball Dribbling Drill

4 comments — posted 2011 Nov by Youth Sports Plans


Set Up: Each player should have a ball. Line all the players up on the baseline looking down the court. The coach will instruct each youth basketball player which hand to dribble with and at what speed. This drill is executed stationed in a single position.

The Drill: Start with the players standing on the baseline with a ball in hand. The coach will instruct each basketball players to dribble a variety of ways. Right handed looking forward – slow-medium-fast speeds; the same with the left hand. The goal of this youth basketball drill is to...

Question of the Week: Are Warm-Ups Necessary?

5 comments — posted 2011 Nov by Youth Sports Plans


Question: Do I really need to run warm up at the start of basketball practice? My practice time is already limited and I could really use the extra time to run drills. 

Response: While we understand that fitting an entire youth basketball practice into an hour or sometimes less is extremely hard, a good warm-up is pivotal. Before engaging in any high energy youth basketball drills, it is imperative that your basketball players get warmed up. This not only prepares them both mentally and physically to work, it reduces the risk of injury.

If time constraints...

Be An Observant Basketball Coach

4 comments — posted 2011 Nov by Youth Sports Plans


Anyone can run youth basketball drills in a practice, but it takes an observant coach to know his or her players, what their skill level is, what they are capable of and then run the best drills in every situation. If your practice sessions consist of generic youth basketball drills that aren't age appropriate, you're wasting your time and reducing the chance that these young basketball players have to become exceptional athletes.

Basketball Drill of the Week: Pass, Catch, Set & Shoot

0 comments — posted 2011 Nov by Youth Sports Plans


This youth basketball drill is designed to teach the players to catch, set and shoot – quickly. This drill is better performed in groups of 3 or 4 players. Form one line of basketball players on the right side above the key and outside the 3 point stripe. Each player will use his/her own ball. The coach will stand on the free throw line (left side). The youth basketball players will pass their ball to the coach and move toward the right side of the basket. The coach will catch and return pass to the player. The...

Run a Successful Youth Basketball Practice

5 comments — posted 2011 Nov by Youth Sports Plans


Perhaps the most common question we are asked as coaches is how to run a successful youth basketball practice. One of the most important and often the most difficult tasks of being a coach is creating practice sessions that are not only productive but also fun for everyone. Careful planning can go a long way but sometimes being a little spontaneous can be equally as effective. Most importantly, your basketball practice plans must take the age and capabilities of your basketball players into consideration.

Basketball Drill of the Week: Rebound & Return Passing Drill

4 comments — posted 2011 Nov by Youth Sports Plans

     Passing Drill:

Divide the players into two equal groups. Form two lines facing the basketball at about mid court. Starting on either side, the player will make a pass to the first player in the opposite line. As the player passes he/she will move toward the basket. The player that catches the ball will return the pass back to the other player, as he/she moves toward the basket. The two players will continue catch pass move until they reach the basket. They will shoot the ball to close the drill. Once they shoot they will...