The email below is from a coach wondering which [tag]basketball practice drills[/tag] he should focus on to maximize his team’s learning.  As I always say, the key is simplicity!“  Pick out a few areas you want to focus on, then drill the heck out of those…

From: Cameron *****
To: Coach Pat Anderson
Subject: Basketball Practice Drills

Coach, I can use your help.  I have never coached before and now I’m coaching 2 teams. I coach a 5th, 6th, and 7th grade boys team and a 7th, 8th, and 9th grade girls team.  Your drills are very handy and helpful but some (I think) are too advanced for them. I find during some drills they can’t seem go get it right and look very messy. I want it to be fun for them and not frustrating. The girls team is older so they can do most. What advice can you give to me about coaching these teams and what should I expect from these grade levels? Any specific drills and plays that would be better for them than others?

Coach Cam


Coach Pat’s Response

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Hi Cameron,
For the younger teams it’s best to choose a small number of key fundamental skills, and focus on drills that build those skills throughout the season.

I would suggest working on:

1. [tag]Motion Offense[/tag] Skills – passing, cutting, screening

Try running some give and go drills.  Set up two lines.  Have player 1 pass to player 2, misdirect, then cut hard to the basket, receive the return pass and score the layup.

Also try some screen away drills.  Set up three lines.  Have the middle line (player 1) pass to the right line (player 2), then set a screen for the first player in the left line (player 3).

Player 3 comes off the screen and receives the pass from player 2 for a short jumpshot or takes it in for a layup.

Also try some post screening drills.  Three lines – one on the perimeter, and two underneat the basket.  The ball is with the passing line on the perimeter.  Down low, one player sets a screen for the opposite player, who comes across the lane and receives the ball from the passing line and scores the layup.

2. Shooting Form

Are you familiar with the BEEF principles?“  They help teach players the proper technique for shooting.

Balance – feet are shoulder width apart, with toes pointing toward the basket.  Player is not leaning, fading away or swaying to one side.  He jumps and lands on the same spot.

Eyes – player is looking directly at the basket (focusing on the back rim) throughout the entire shot, even after the ball has left his hands

Elbow – player’s elbow is tucked in tight to his body, not stuck out to the side. “ “  Before the release, it forms a 90 degree angle.

Follow Through – the player “puts his hand in the basket” by following through with his shot, holding his hand up until after the ball drops through the net.

Reinforce those principles every time you run any [tag]shooting drills[/tag].

Those two areas could be your major teaching areas this season.  Don’t try to teach too much… just focus on a couple of important skills and really drive those home.

Hope that helps!

Coach Pat