June 29, 2020 • From the BenchpreparationWinning Hoops

5 Basketball Drills For Youth Players

As sports, and basketball, prepare to resume athletic activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, players have taken their team workouts and altered them to be done individually in a park or driveway.

As restrictions begin to soften as it pertains to sports, more and more basketball players have returned to their games looking to pick up where they left off.

Photo: Nate Pesce / Flickr

A recent post on ProBasketballSkills.com outlined five great drills for youth athletes to work on their game — form shooting, two-ball dribbling, George Mikan drill, wall passing drill, and one-on-one basketball. The article’s author, Brendan Winters, also gives variations of certain drills based on the players’ skill level.

Below is a synopsis of five tips for youth hoopers from ProSkillsBasketball.com.

  1. Form Shooting — It is, perhaps, the most important basketball drill young players can do. If done correctly every day, this promotes muscle memory for young basketball players to develop great shooting form that translates to great game-speed shooting. There are two ways to form shoot; one-hand or two-hands. Form shooting is done in close to the basket, about as far away as a layup, and is a slow, methodical drill. Every rep needs to be carefully thought about and attempted to be done exactly the same. I teach a simple 3-step process of “sit, lift, dip”.
  2. Two-Ball Dribbling — This is NOT a game-like drill. This drill is simply for ball-handling improvement. The majority of young basketball players can dribble with their dominant hand, but not their weak hand. Doing basketball drills where a player dribbles two basketballs at once FORCES kids to use their weak hand and challenges their coordination. If a player can dribble two basketballs at the same time, well then he or she will definitely be able to dribble one very well with EITHER hand.
  3. George Mikan Drill — George Mikan was a post-player famous for finishing around the rim. This drill is a continuous layup drill geared to help young players with their layup footwork and finishing with either hand. The player starts in front of the rim looking at the basket. Take a big step with the left foot towards the right side of the basket, jump off that foot, drive right knee up, and shoot a layup off the backboard with the right hand. Grab rebound quickly, and reset in front of the rim. Take a big step with the right foot towards the left side of the basket, jump off that foot, drive left knee up, and shoot a layup off the backboard with the left hand. Grab rebound quickly, and reset in front of the rim. Repeat as necessary.
  4. Wall Passing Drills — Passing is a skill that is really overlooked and rarely worked on, yet it is crucial for young basketball players, especially guards, to be able to pass with both hands. Stand 15 feet or so in front of a hard wall (cement, brick, etc). Work on the basics to begin — chest pass, bounce pass, overhead pass — and make sure they are all done with proper mechanics. For instance, with a chest pass, start with hands on the sides of the basketball thumbs pointing up, step into the pass and throw, flick wrists and finish with thumbs pointed down.Ball should have backspin on it if thrown correctly.
  5. 1-on-1 Basketball — Playing one on one basketball is one of the best things a young player can do for their game. To get the most out of one on one there has to be rules, such as dribble limits. Also, players should seek out competition that is a bit bigger, stronger, faster, and generally better than them. While this can be frustrating, the rewards are great.

   » ALSO SEE: 5-on-5-to-5 Defense Elevates Practice Intensity

To read the full story from ProSkillsBasketball.com on five tips for youth players to sharpen their skills on the hardwood, click here