by Kevin Veit
St. Dismas Girls Coach


  1. Basketball is an Ambidextrous, One-Hand Sport

    Players must be able to use either hand to dribble or pass, but only ONE hand should be used at a time. You should dribble with one hand, pass with one hand, and shoot with one hand.

  2. Basketball is a Game of Fundamentals

    For all players, but especially beginners, success will depend on learning the fundamentals - correct positions, form, etc. Each skill builds on previous one.

  3. Emphasize Correct Form on All Drills

    It is more important to use the correct form than to worry about immediate success. The player who is shooting with good one-hand shooting form from 5 feet away in 2nd grade will become a better shooter than the player who can heave a two-handed shot from 15 feet.

  4. Let Your Players Succeed

    Progress through the drills slowly so that the players are successful most of the time. This will build their confidence and make sure the base skills are learned correctly. For example, work on dribbling while walking slowly before trying to have a relay race. When shooting, have the players make a lot of close shots before allowing them to shoot from farther away.

  5. Keep the Players Busy

    Players will only develop by practicing the skills. Try to have the players always doing something. Split the players into smaller groups, have some pass while others shoot, use more basketballs, etc. Try to never have players standing around or waiting in line for their turn.

  6. Have a Written Practice Plan

    Before each practice, prepare a plan of the drills and the amount of time you will spend on each one. By doing this, you will save time during your practice, look more organized, and make sure you are covering all of the skills.

  7. Have Fun!

    Don't take any of this too seriously. The players are trying to learn, but don't expect them to be perfect. Find out which drills and games the players like to do, and do more of them.


Key Points

  1. Basketball requires precise footwork, both to avoid travelling violations and to gain an advantage when moving to get open to go to the basket.

  2. Defensive Position - Knees bent, head up, one hand and foot slightly forward (normally the right foot and right hand).

  3. Triple-Threat Position - Offensive position from which a player can either dribble, pass, or shoot. The ball should be to the side with a one-hand shooting grip. Knees should be bent, with the right foot forward (for right hand players).

  4. Pivoting - Right handed players should be taught to pivot on the left foot. Left handers should pivot on the right foot. Don't teach pivoting on the other foot, it is not necessary and will just confuse the players. Keep the toes of the left foot on the ground while stepping and turning with the right foot.

  5. Jump Stop - This is a very important skill to be able to stop dribbling without travelling. The player should land on both feet in a triple-threat position.

Footwork Drills

  1. Triple-Threat Position #1 - Hold the ball while in the position. Coach checks each player for correct positioning.

  2. Triple-Threat Position #2 - Get in the position with the ball. Coach will tell the players to either pivot, do a shot fake, or do a pass fake.

  3. 1, 2, 3, Stop! - This can be done without the ball to teach the jump stop. Each player walks or jogs three steps, then comes to a jump stop. Continue down the court.

  4. Defensive Slide - Line the players up across the court. Players get in a good defensive position. On the coach's signal, the players slide to the right or to the left.


Key Points

  1. Players must be able to dribble with either hand. Do all drills with left hand also.

  2. The ball should always be outside of the body when dribbling. This does the following: - Prevents the player from bouncing ball off of knee or foot. - Prevents player from dribbling with two hands (double dribble). - Puts the player's body between the defense and the ball.

  3. Push the ball HARD when you dribble. Use a pumping motion with the upper arm, like pumping water from a well. This will strengthen the arms, wrists, and fingers and make the ball harder to steal.

  4. There are two types of dribbling - Low Protective Dribble and High Speed Dribble.

  5. Low Protective Dribble - The knees should be bent, the opposite arm out some to ward off the defense, and the ball should be dribbled low and hard.

  6. High Speed Dribble - The ball should be pushed in front as the player runs downcourt, making sure to keep the ball outside of the body to avoid bouncing off of the knee or foot.

  7. Jump Stop - The player must be able to stop dribbling without travelling. The best way is to come to a jump stop, landing with both feet in a crouch to stop the forward momemtum.

Dribbling Drills

  1. Stationary Dribble - Get in a dribbling position, knees slightly bent, head up. Dribble the ball with one hand, on the side of the body. Emphasis points:

  2. Walking Dribbling - Same as the Stationary Dribble, but walk forward as you dribble. The players could follow a line around the court, walking on one side and dribbling on the other.

  3. Sitting Dribbling - Have the players sit in a cross-legged position. Then dribble with one hand to the outside of the body, trying to push the ball hard. These drill teaches the following:

  4. 1, 2, 3, Stop! Drill - This drill teaches coming to a jump stop position after dribbling. Line the players up across the court. Have the dribble three dribbles while walking or running slowly. Then they should catch the ball while coming to a jump stop, triple-threat position. Then dribble three more, dribbles, come to a stop, and repeat this the rest of the way down the court.

  5. Red Light, Green Light - This is similar to the 1, 2, 3, Stop! drill, except that the players watch the coach. When the coach has his arms down, the players can dribble down the court. When the coach raises his arms, the players must stop dribbling and come to a jump stop. Players who don't stop, lose the ball, or travel must go back to the farthest back position. Continue until the players have gone all the way done the court. Repeat with the left hand.

  6. Bumper Ball - This game teaches the low protective dribble. Each player has a ball. Designate a small area for the players to dribble in. The object is to keep dribbling while trying to knock the other players ball away from them. If you lose your ball or go out of the area, you're out of the game. Last player in loses. the

  7. Dribble Tag - Use a slightly larger area than for Bumper Ball. All the players dribble a ball. One of the players is IT, and tries to tag another player while still dribbling. No tag-backs.

  8. Full-Court Relay Race - This teaches the high-speed dribble. Divide into two teams and line them up at one end of the court. The first player for each team dribbles down the court with the left hand, then back with the right hand, and then hands the ball to the next player in line. Repeat this until every player has gone several times.


Key Points

  1. Players must pass with ONE hand. This will allow them to get the pass around the defense and will teach the same motions as shooting.

  2. Teach two types of passes - One Hand Push Pass and One Hand Bounce Pass.

  3. One Hand Push Pass

  4. One Hand Bound Pass - Same as the One-Hand Push Pass, but the ball should be bounced about 2/3 of the distance to the other player so it bounce up to the player's waist.

  5. Push the ball hard when you pass. This will strengthen the arms and fingers and make the pass harder to steal.

Passing Drills

  1. Partner Passing - One Ball - Line each player up across from a partner. Practice the One-Hand Push Pass and One-Hand Bounce Pass. Count as you pass and do the following:

  2. Partner Passing - Two Balls - Same as the Partner Passing - One Ball, except that each player has a ball. They pass the balls to each other at the same time. The balls should be passed to the outside so that they don't hit each other.

  3. Monkey-In-The-Middle - 2 players pass the ball to each other using a bounce pass, while a third player in the middle trys to block the pass from the passer. After 5 passes or if the middle player steals the ball, switch positions.


Key Points

  1. Shooting must be done with ONE hand. If the player isn't strong enough, get closer to the basket and use a lower basket. The One-Hand Shot is the only way to develop a consistent shot and be able to shoot with defensive pressure as the player gets older.

  2. Have the players get in the habit of lining up the laces before they should. This will allow them to see if they are getting the correct spin on the ball.

  3. When practicing shooting, a player should be making at least half of the shots. If not, move closer until the player is. It is much better to make 20 close shots in practice using correct form than it is to heave the ball and miss 20 times from half court. You want the players to get used to success, to expect that they will make every shot.

  4. When shooting close shots from the side, use a bank shot.

  5. When shooting in front of the basket or from farther away, use a swish shot. This is more consistent.

  6. Shooting Position - The right foot should be forward, the ball to the side with the right hand behind it and the left hand on the side of the ball.

  7. Power - To get more power for longer shots, bend and use the legs and hold the ball a little lower to use more arm action. All shots should still be with one hand, no matter how far.

Shooting Drills

  1. Partner Shooting - Line the players up from each other like in the partner passing. Have them shoot the ball to each other, using correct form - right foot forward, right hand behind the ball, laces lined up.

  2. Partner Shooting - One Hand Only - Have the players hold ball in shooting position, then take away the left hand. Balance the ball with one hand, then shoot the ball to the partner. This teaches the correct position to hold the ball when shooting. If the ball rolls out of the one hand, then it wasn't in the right position.

  3. Basket Shooting - One Hand Only - Stand directly in front of the basket. Hold the ball in the shooting position. Take the left hand away, balance the ball, and then shoot. Try to get the correct backspin and make a swish shot. It is ok to bend the arm and legs for more power.

  4. Basket Shooting - Normal - Practice shooting from three spots -Bank shots close to the basket from each side, and swish shots directly in front of the basket. Have a rebounder get the ball back to the shooter quickly, so a lot of shots can be taken in a short amount of time.