How to Teach Basketball to Kids

Need to know how to teach basketball to kids? The key to teaching basketball to kids is patience and repetition. These steps can be spaced out into a series of lessons or practices. As they accumulate the skills, each skill or lesson can be practiced every time you meet. Remember to use simple terms that are age appropriate for the group you are teaching. According to Youth Basketball of America, an establishment that encourages youth basketball worldwide, it isn't just about the physical skills, it is about a building a positive environment for kids to grow self esteem and and confidence.

  1. Begin with an explanation of the rules. Don't get too technical. They need to know the basics: there are two teams, each one has a basket and there are 5 players per team on the court at all times. No need to teach them about technical fouls or what it takes to be thrown out of the gym just yet.
  2. Demonstrate dribbling. Explain that dribbling is the way players move the ball around the court. Let the kids give it a try. The coordination of bouncing the ball may be difficult for some. Don't worry if they are slapping at the ball or hitting it with a fist to make it go up and down. At this point, you just want them to get the idea.
  3. Pass the ball to each of the kids. In doing this, you are demonstrating a pass to them and they are catching it (or at least attempting to). After going around, split them up into groups of two and let them work on passing to each other. Be prepared for balls to go flying everywhere!
  4. Shooting is the last element of offense for kids. To begin, let them shoot the ball however they want. Give them an opportunity to shoot from different locations around the court. Help with shooting the ball may be better on an individual basis. If possible, during the shoot-out, check in with each child and give them one suggestion to work on. Younger children may have a difficult time with the regulation size basket. Consider lowering it. It is more important for them to achieve getting the ball into the basket.
  5. Practice offense with a group of five. With five kids on the court, let them try to get down to the other side by dribbling, passing and finally shooting. Without any type of obstacle, they can just work on the basics. This also allows them to experience team work for the first time.
  6. Defense is a key part of the game. Teaching basket ball to kids requires that they know both sides of the game. Go back to the rules you explained early and talk about defense. Set the five players on each side and demonstrate ways to defend the goal. Be aware that with younger kids, this can get out of control quickly. Remember, they have no concept of a foul or how far you can take defense. Emphasize using your hands and body to defend without actually touching anyone.
  7. Play ball! At this point, you have given them the basics, so let them try it out in a game situation. Keep a lookout for positive things to encourage them and actions and techniques that you can help them improve on.
For each of the steps above, explain the skill, demonstrate the skill and then allow the kids to practice. Teaching basketball to kids may not be easy, but it is a truly rewarding experience.
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