Young children may be drawn to the game of basketball when they see older siblings playing the game on the playground court or in the driveway, while watching it on TV, or if they just pick up a ball and start bouncing it. Learning the skills needed for basketball may take a long time, but you can set out specific goals for children so that they can attain the basic skills needed to play the game as quickly as possible.
The ball is moved up the court in basketball through the process of dribbling. Young players will instinctively bounce the ball, but it is through the control in their hands and fingers that they learn to dribble. Instruct the youngster to dribble the ball three times to get started. Teach them that they want to use their finger tips to push the ball down to the ground and not their whole hand. They can follow the ball as they dribble with their eyes, but the goal is to learn to dribble without looking.
Shooting the Ball
While older players use a 10-foot hoop to shoot at, young players should use one that is 7 or 8 feet. The goal here is to try to keep the dominant hand under the bottom of the ball, with the opposite hand serving as a guide during the shooting process. Teach the shooting motion, and make sure you teach the youngsters to follow through when shooting by keeping their eyes on the basketball rim even after the ball leaves their hand.
It’s not all about scoring and playing offense. You have to learn the concept of defense to prevent the other team from scoring. A player will usually be given a specific opponent to defend. A coach will tell his player which player to guard or defend. This usually involves telling the young player his opponent’s uniform number. The basic goal of defense is to stay between that opponent and the basket. A player who can do this will be in a good position to defend.
About this Author
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who’s Better, Who’s Best in Football — The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.