How to teach first-graders bball?
November 13, 2009 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Resources for coaching first-graders basketball?

My friend has asked me to help him coach a basketball team of first-graders (meaning 6 and 7 year olds). There have been previous askmes about coaching 11 year olds, but there is a big difference b/w a first grader and a fifth grader, so I am wondering if anyone has any advice for teaching younger kids.

If it's of any help in thinking about your answer, both my friend and I were fairly serious street-ballers back in the day (which was many, many days ago), but neither of us played any real organized ball.

Thanks for your help.
posted by qldaddy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They are in 1st grade. Fine motor skills are still being developed. They are looking to have fun with fundamentals: Passing, dribbling, and shooting the ball. This isn't about strategy at this point, this is about moving somethig round between players through a hoop.

Is the ball regulation size and weight? Is the net at regulation height? Is the court regulation length? These are all things that will impact them directly and how you teach them.

Start with bouncepass, move to chest pass. Dribble the ball in place, dribble the ball while walking. Dribble the ball while moving through cones. Dribble the ball in the other hand (and repeat).

Standing in the magic square can they make a shot. Can they learn the coordination for a lay-up? Can any one of them make a free throw from a line (you may need to tape something off separately).

After they do skill drills, let them have some free shots, then have them play variations on basketball lite. (everybody passes the ball down court, you and your buddy both make the basket to begin with, then everybody rotates so they each get to make a basket on each end.

Next, work on defense drills.... what is a foul, what is a charge? studder steps, sprints, throw ins... build slowly. always have games... always give them time to explore
posted by Nanukthedog at 1:01 PM on November 13, 2009

I know from experience that the pick and roll is beyond even 3rd graders. . . .

Just a lot of touches (of the ball), doing dribbling and passing and layins. The more touches, the more sound they will be in all aspects.
posted by Danf at 1:06 PM on November 13, 2009

I helped coach my brother's team when he was about that age.

First, I'd see what the league will let them get away with. There were travels all over the place, two handed dribbling, and fouls were looked at differently because of the lack of body control at that age. If the league doesn't care, then you shouldn't worry about it as much.

Please note that I'm not telling you to teach them to dribble two handed or anything. Teach them the right way, but don't go ballistic if they can't do it.

My brother's team also liked having plays. They were really simple things, like passing it to the "center" and having him pass it back out for a shot. Anything with too many options or more than 3 or so passes might be too long for them to remember.
posted by theichibun at 1:06 PM on November 13, 2009

I think you want to have contests while working on skills. SPlit the team into two teams. Each gets a ball. One at a time a player from each team dribbles to the other side and back. First team to finish all players wins. Give each player a ball. Tell them they have to stay inside the three point arc. They each have to dribble the ball while trying to take away the other player's basketballs. Teach them that defense is to be between your man and the basket. Rather than have a set offense, teach them the motion offense or a basic version that says simply, after you pass the ball cut to the basket or pick for a teammate. Teach them what a pick is. And what a cut to the basket means. Have them spread out as much as they can on offense.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:21 PM on November 13, 2009

And for god's sake make sure they're having fun and that you're not taking it too seriously. These are little kids. Nothing kills a little kid's interest in sports quicker than making it no fun or getting shouty.
posted by dersins at 1:28 PM on November 13, 2009

Heh heh... I was "assistant coach" for my boy's kindergarten/1st grade b-ball team last year.

If your team is anything like his, I would suggest you wind your expectations way way down. In practice, we would have them do passing & dribbling drills and not just shoot the ball, but games were like organized mayhem. The kid who had the ball would put up a shot (if he got an offensive re-bound) or run to the other end of the court, maybe dribbling, maybe not, and put up a shot. We tried to get the kids to pass to each other, but they had no concept of getting open and a pass was more likely to result in a turnover than in anything else. So, really, their best play was probably to chuck it at the backboard :).

The kids ran around and had great fun though -- unless you're training a future LA Laker, I think that's probably about what you should expect from this age.
posted by elmay at 3:57 PM on November 13, 2009

Thanks all. I should have been clearer in my original question - I don't expect to make these kids "good" at basketball. I really do want to concentrate on "fun and fundamentals" and I am looking for resources geared to that end.
posted by qldaddy at 7:26 AM on November 14, 2009

« Older Suggest a really good statistical consultant?   |   Is there a Paraguayan community in Atlanta, GA? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.