by Kevin Veit
St. Dismas Girls Coach


Behind every good basketball player is a an involved parent. Organized practices alone do not provide enough time to develop good basketball skills. It takes a lot of practice. Spend some time with your child and have fun. As your child grows older, she will remember the time you spent with her.


  1. Learn About Basketball - Come to the practices and see what your child is learning. Then practice these skills on your own to reinforce the skills.

  2. Get a Basketball - A player should have his/her own basketball at home, even if you don't have a basket to shoot at. A rubber basketball that costs about $10 is sufficient. If your child is in kindergarten or 1st grade, you may want to get a junior-sized basketball, like we use in the training clinic. If your child is in 2nd grade or above, you should get a women's size basketball. Even the boys will use this size until 6th grade.

  3. Play Catch with Your Child - Passing and catching are very important skills. Use the correct form when passing, but try to make a game of it. You can pass to each other sitting down in the basement. Try counting to see how many passes in a row you can make without dropping any. For a variation, and to help your child with multiplication tables, try counting by 2s, 3s, etc. (e.g. 2,4,6,8 or 3,6,9,12).

  4. Encourage Dribbling - The child who is a good dribbler will be the one with the confidence to handle the ball when they start playing games. Have your child work on dribbling as much as possible, remembering the key points: keep the ball to outside of body, push hard, keep head up, and work on the left hand. Let your child dribble in the basement, on the driveway, etc. Set up an obstacle course for your child to dribble around. Work with your child to dribble the ball while you try to steal it. Start easy, and then work harder.

  5. Rebound for Your Child - If you have a basket to shoot at, rebound while your child shoots. If you don't have a basket, GET ONE! Daily shooting practice can make a good player into a great player. Have your child take a lot of shots up close and from the same spot to develop success. You should aim to make at least half of your shots when practicing shooting. If you aren't, then move closer to the basket.

  6. Have your Child Succeed - Work on skills gradually, so that your child is challenged, but can be successful. Work on shooting close shots before working on farther ones. Being successful will encourage the child to want to play more.


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.


  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.


  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:

  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.


  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
    - Start in the triple-threat position, with the right foot forward.
    - Put the right hand behind the ball, with the left hand on the side.
    - Line the laces up cross-wise, so you can watch the spin on the ball.
    - Push the ball with the right hand, while letting go with the left.
    - The ball should go forward in the straight line, and spin backwards.

  4. One Hand Bounce 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.


  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. Practice a straight shot (i.e. no backboard). This develops a more consistent shot with a softer touch.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.