Youth Basketball Tips for Coaches

October 23, 2018
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It’s quite common for a youth basketball coach to be confused about where to begin when training new players. What areas should you focus on and what are the most fundamental skills that must be put in place from the very beginning? This isn’t as easy to answer as you might think. First, be aware that there are several levels of basketball training but regardless of age, beginners should start at the first level. In fact, many coaches find it best to start at level one at the start of each season before moving to more complex skills. Remember, this is about developing skills in the long term and helping ensure there is a solid foundation that they can build on through later years. So, what areas should you be focusing when training a beginner-level youth basketball team?

Proper Layup Form

Ask any basketball player and they will tell you that layups are the most important skill that you must get right. Without a successful layup, you’re not going to score many points at all. It’s important that players are as comfortable as possible completing layups. This means they should be able to do it from both sides of the net with both hands. The aim here is to make sure, regardless of the hand being used, the layup remains strong.

Remember though, it’s not just about getting the layup on the right hand but the right foot. The best way to jump for a layup is to push down on the opposite leg depending on the side of the net you’re shooting from.

Mastering the layup is all about starting slow. This means you should start close to the net and forget about dribbling for now. Instead, begin with layups close to the net, taking just a few steps before moving away.


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Beginner Shooting Techniques

If you practice with the wrong form for countless hours, all you will learn is how to shoot the wrong way. This means that shooting should be another top priority when working as a youth basketball coach. You need to make sure that the shooting form is on point before you worry about teaching them to shoot from long distances or under pressure.

To do this, it’s often best to use a lower net and smaller balls. Make sure that they follow the ball with their hand when they shoot and focus on helping them not dip their elbows. Remember, when shooting, the whole body needs to be trained not just the hands. You need to show them the right stance, how to properly bend their knees and eventually how to jump and shoot.

Controlling the Pass

Finally, do make sure that you teach the young players how to pass the ball correctly. There are three main types of passes that should be mastered early on. These are the chest pass for momentum and power, the bounce pass and the overhead pass. Focus on accuracy over speed at first, making sure that each pass lands on target.

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