Kids learn basic basketball skills with the most success when coaches break each skill down into simple steps.
Discover 5 simple keys to help you teach one of the most important parts of the game to young players - how to shoot a basketball.
But shooting is just one part of the game...
Youngsters also need to master other basic basketball skills if they want to become great players.
When teaching young players how to shoot a basketball, it's really important to break down every component of the basketball shooting form.
Take the time to teach what every part of the body should be doing from the feet all the way up to the eyes.
Click here to learn the mechanics of a good shot.
At first, the focus should be on proper mechanics as opposed to whether the ball goes in or not.
Since many young players lack the strength to get the ball up to the basket, the temptation is really strong to use two hands and just throw it up there.
I definitely discourage them from doing that.
Sure, they might make a few more baskets in the short run, but it will not help them down the road.
Encourage them to continue using the proper technique and assure them that when they get a little bigger and stronger their patience and hard work will really pay off!
That’s one of the reasons I believe young kids should use an 8-foot goal instead of the standard 10-foot goal. They can experience a lot more success and at least have a chance of hitting something besides air.
I also insist young players I work with shoot from close range. It's impossible for them to shoot the ball correctly if they get too far out.
There is no 3-point shot included in youth basketball rules, and encouraging beginners to shoot beyond their range does nothing but teach them bad habits.
So, make sure you're practicing good habits!
I can't stress enough the importance of getting the fundamentals right at the very beginning.
I have coached many players at the college level who came into our programs with poor shooting habits.
These players had already spent years training their muscles how to shoot the ball incorrectly, and their practice of bad habits perfected poor shooting form and low shooting percentages.
They were not players we could depend on to score. It is really difficult to unlearn mistakes that have been ingrained.
Try some of these basketball shooting drills and games to help build good shooting habits.
When teaching the basic basketball skills of shooting to beginners, start with little goals and modify them as needed.
Start by praising small successes, like a good follow through, shooting the ball in a straight line, having good balance, keeping the elbow in, etc.
Then pick a target on the floor or wall and have them shoot the ball toward it. Praise their ability to hit the target with more consistency and have them move farther back.
Finally, have them shoot at a short goal and have them aim for a spot on the rim or backboard. Don’t worry if the ball goes through the net, but praise them for hitting their targets.
To work on other basic basketball skills like dribbling, passing, and rebounding check out our youth basketball drills.