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March 14, 2007 5:23 AM   Subscribe

How does someone that knows nothing about basketball teach it to 11-year-olds?

Help Mrs. Format teach her class of 34 10 and 11-year-olds how to play basketball. Is there a good resource for learning the basics of the game without getting too deep into rules? Should she teach them about fouls, freeshots, travelling?

How do you introduce a sport to children when they (and you) have little or no exposure to it?
posted by medium format to Education (13 answers total)
I was looking through this site the other day and they seem to have very good advice that ranges from general to specific in every area of basketball.
posted by null terminated at 6:35 AM on March 14, 2007

Is this for playing? Is she starting a team? Is it just theoretical? How much exposure is little or no? Have they seen a game?

I would say she should really learn to understand basketball since I assume she can learn it much faster than children--maybe take a look at Basketball Coaching for Dummies or something. It really isn't that complicated.

Then if it were for playing, I think I would teach them basic rules: fouls (and therefore foul shots), double dribbling, traveling; and basic skills: shooting, dribbling, and passing; and let them have at it. If it is for watching, then I think you do need to understand more about tactics and positions.

Hope that helps. If you can let us know a bit more about your goals, we might be able to be more specific.
posted by dame at 7:07 AM on March 14, 2007

Oh, to be a little more specific. For shooting I would teach them a set shot and a layup, and for passing a chest pass and a bounce pass (as they were called when I was taught them). I would just say a foul "is hitting or holding someone."

Also, the wikipedia overview is decent (for your wife).
posted by dame at 7:14 AM on March 14, 2007

I was taught basketball by someone that knew nothing about it at about the same age, and it turned out fine. Basics:

On offense, designate a leader or three who are good at dribbling and passing the ball. Call them guards. They bring the ball down the court and pass it to people who can take shots, or take shots themselves. The other two or three players need to be close to the basket and either a) get the ball from the guards to shoot or b) rebound the ball for follow up shots.

On defense, teach them a zone defense and man-to-man. The latter is easy-- each player knows who they are to stick by and deny them from shooting or advancing the ball. The former is a little more complicated-- they will defend loosely defined areas of the court. The two types of zone most useful for this age are the 2-3 and the 'box and one'. The 2-3 has two guards up on either side of the free-throw line harassing their guards. The other three are nearer the baseline. The box and one is a variant where there are two at the free throw line, two by the basket, and one person who is designated to follow around the other team's star player and harass him/her. This, obviously, works best against teams with one really good player and then some others.

All of these concepts are explained, with diagrams, on a lot of web pages. These basics will go far, though, along with some drills about bounce passes, chest pass, and layups. Eleven year olds will miss almost every shot outside about six feet of the basket, unless they're really good, so teaching your taller people how to box out and get rebounds is very important.
posted by norm at 7:48 AM on March 14, 2007

Watch Hoosiers like 20 times.
posted by ewkpates at 8:55 AM on March 14, 2007

is this for a temporary project, like a march madness deal, or is it more serious??

my kids schools have everybody participates march madness programs and what they need to know is how to dribble without walking or double dribbling, passing and basic shooting. forget kinds of shots - half of them won't be able to hit the rim unless they have prior experience. if they are very inexperienced you will have all ten kids on the court swarm the ball. they need to know to spread out and give a fellow swarmed teammate a target to pass to. they will need to know how to defend without abusing the person they are defending, as at that age there is lots of slapping esp with girls. my guess is this is a classroom project type thing and she will be dealing with a myriad of ability levels.

in my oldest daughters more serious league, they get into pivots, layups, post play etc. but even then it devolves into an all out brawl somtimes. finesse is not always present at that age.
posted by domino at 8:55 AM on March 14, 2007

Best answer: There was a previous askme about coaching basketball, and my response was This site. It seems to be a great source for coaching; I'm not sure how well it will help with your specific problem, but there's a discussion forum there with lots of helpful people.
posted by chndrcks at 9:14 AM on March 14, 2007

Hi, i grew up playing basketball and spent a lot of time doing drills. I found one site that listed the drills, with an eye on children playing. I don't vouch for this site other than the fact that the drills are the standard one. They are the ones i did as a kid, and in later phases of basketball.

I recommend lots and lots of dribbling. Dribbling while standing without looking at the ball. Dribbling while running back and forth between two lines. And when they get good enough make them dribble between two lines with a defender. Instruct the defender the only way they are allowed to make contact with the dribbler if they are standing completely still.

Also ball handling drills are really good, here is a list of drills, some of them might be a little too advanced, but they really do help in learning how to control a basketball.
Ball handling

Passing was also mentioned above, and defintely work on the proper two handed chest pass. Here are some passing drills.

And shooting, i say shooting is less important than the above right now. But do do layup drills. Two lines, one line shoots layups, the other line rebounds and passes to the person shooting the layup. here are tips on good layups

As far as shooting other than layups, as this may be the most difficult and least important at a young age at a really tall (for them) basket. Here are some tips, and drills

Here are is the menu of links at the site for other instructions and drills.

When it comes time to play, try to teach people to move without the ball. Basically spreading yourself out on the court, and then making cuts where the person with the ball can pass it to them. If you see the offense just standing around all the time they really aren't experiencing the joys of basketball. Just watching.

So for each session you have, i'd maybe suggest at least 1/2 doing drills, then the rest of the time just let them play. Be the referee and call fouls, i'd suggest skipping free throws, it'll just slow things down. So after a foul just let the offense have another chance.

Don't worry about giving too much instruction at this point unless they obviously don't understand the rules. Just let them feel it out and get used to the game.

That's all for now.
posted by lips at 9:33 AM on March 14, 2007

10-11 year old american kids probably have more exposure to the game than you think.
mrs. format has an excellent learning opportunity coming right up: the ncaa tournament starts this week, sit her in front of the tv with plenty of food and beer and have her watch as many games as she can. there's no shortage of analysis during the games. i'll be rooting for the ucla bruins.
posted by bruce at 10:16 AM on March 14, 2007

see also
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:22 PM on March 14, 2007

Response by poster: Since these aren't American kids, they aren't going to get much opportunity to see any of the March Madness games.
Sorry for not being more specific about what she was wanting to teach them, I'm afraid my brief wasn't very detailed.

Assume that they have never seen a game. Their experience may actually be quite varied however. She likes the videos on the site chndrcks linked to. I did see those previous posts, but wasn't sure if she was wanting something more basic or not.

Thanks all for the great answers. I never was tall enough to play and so wasn't much help to her.
posted by medium format at 12:38 PM on March 14, 2007

Since these aren't American kids, they aren't going to get much opportunity to see any of the March Madness games.

You can try Last year the way it worked was the first 2 rounds were free and if you signed up before the games started you'd wait in the shorter line for access. I'm not sure exactly how things work this year.
posted by chndrcks at 7:53 PM on March 14, 2007

It might be too late now, but I just remembered that in Cub scouts we learned the basic penalties of major American sports (including the hand signals the refs use). You can find that info elsewhere, but Cub scouts is just about the right age for what you're looking for, so their manual should be geared towards what you were looking for.
posted by chndrcks at 12:26 PM on March 15, 2007

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