Kids Basketball: The Best Fun Basketball Drills for Kids

Coach training a kid
Sam Givens (left) demonstrates some dribbling drills for kids.

So you got hooked into coaching a kid’s basketball team, and you’re not sure what to do. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. It can be difficult to come up with good basketball drills for kids. You need drills that aren’t too difficult for beginners who haven’t really played before, but you also need them to be challenging enough to help the kids who have been playing for a while continue to improve their game.

So, what do you do? Well, there are a number of options. If you have experience with coaching basketball you can probably come up with some good ways to help the kids get started easily while still challenging them, but if you are new to this there are good options for you as well.

There are lots of guides and programs you can buy to help you teach kids the game of basketball, but there are also lots of ways you can learn how to at least get started without spending any money. The internet is your friend. Search for kid’s basketball drills and practice guides and start looking around for some good ideas. Here are some drills you can use to start putting together a practice plan.

Kids Basketball Drills

These are three drills I remember that I liked doing when I was on my first basketball team. These are all fairly simple drills that will get the kids active and help them start developing their game.

  • Loose Ball Scramble:

    Divide the kids into three groups, and have them line up at three different spots near the half court line. You will be on the court between them and the goal with the ball. When they are ready, toss the ball on the court like a loose ball. The first kid from each line needs to race after the ball and try to recover it. When one of them recovers it, he needs to try to score while the other two try to defend him. If the defenders get the steal or the rebound from a missed shot, they win. If the shooter scores, he wins. Be sure to vary what you do with the ball. You can bounce it high in the air, or roll it softly. You can toss toward the player, or into the corner, or you could even drop it right where you are standing. Make sure to teach them how to recover properly (without traveling) and to go for the ball not each other (that’s a foul).

  • Stop and Go:

    This is a dribbling drill to help kids get used to continuous dribbling and changing directions with their dribble while on the move. Have all the kids grab a ball and form a line across the court. Make sure they don’t stand too close together. They will need room to maneuver. Have them all start dribbling in place. When you yell “go,” they need to start dribbling towards you. When you yell “right” they need to start moving to the right with their dribble, and the same for “left.” When you yell “back,” they need to keep their dribble while moving back, and when you yell “stop,” they need to stop and dribble in place or pick up their dribble which ever you prefer. Encourage them to work on both hands while dribbling, if they are able (using their left hand when going left and their right when going right).

  • Three on Two/Two on One:

    This is a full court drill that teaches attacking offense and shorthanded defending. Place two defenders under one goal (one around the free throw line and the other just in front of the basket). Divide the rest of the team into three lines spread out on the opposite baseline. The player in the center line starts with the ball every time. He passes to which ever wing he chooses. When he passes, the wing that gets the ball dribbles to the center while the passer races to the vacated wing. The one with the ball attacks the two defenders while the wings try to find open spots caused by the defense’s reaction to the attack. The ball handler can either go in for the score or draw the defense and pass to an open wing for the shot. Whoever shoots must immediately race back on defense while the two defenders collect the ball and press a two on one attack with one of them either going to the hole to score, or drawing the defender and dishing to the open player for the score. Emphasize attacking offense and getting good, high-percentage shots. For the defenders, emphasize cutting off the ball and boxing out for the rebound.

Key Points When Teaching Basketball for Kids

kids basketball
Kids basketball is all about having fun

Teaching kids how to play basketball and putting them through drills to help them improve can be lots of fun. Even if you don’t have any coaching experience you can do just fine. Remember, the kids probably don’t know much more about it than you do! Here are a couple key points to keep in mind when you are working with kids.

  1. Keep the kids active – Don’t get too technical. Use drills that are simple and fast paced. You want them to be running jumping and having a good time. It helps get them in better shape and it keeps them engaged in what you are trying to teach them.
  2. Give them opportunities to succeed – When working with kids, especially those who are new to the game, you need make sure they aren’t getting overwhelmed. Teach them things they can master quickly, and put them in position to be successful. Don’t put them in high pressure situations when they don’t yet have full confidence in their skills. Make sure they are learning their skills and give them low-pressure, fun ways to succeed and develop confidence.

Now you’re ready to dive in and help some kids learn how to get better at basketball.