Basketball Drills for Kids to Increase Their Agility and Control

Basketball Drills for Kids
Basketball is one of the most popular games in the United States and is played at all levels, right from school to the professional NBA. Here are some basic basketball drills to get your children or students started.
I don't know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough. I still wonder if somebody, somewhere, was practicing more than me. ~ Larry Bird
They say practice makes man perfect, and this phrase holds true the most as far as the sphere of sports is concerned. The game of basketball, of course, is no exception. Quick reflexes, control of the ball, agility, ability to shoot, proper technique, etc., are all essential skills for the game to be played the way it should be. And none of these can be developed unless a lot of work is put in to master these skills.

Specially designed drills help achieve this development by focusing on a particular skill. It is advisable for children and young players to incorporate these drills in their training regime, as they lay the foundations of the game. Given below are some vital drills that should be incorporated in any practice regime.

Dribbling Drills
Dribbling is the bread and butter of basketball. While it is more than significant to develop each attribute, focusing on dribbling definitely tops the list, as it is the most used skill in the game.

Figure Eight Dribble Drill

Directions
Stand with your feet spread apart at a distance slightly more than shoulder width. This gives you a wide base, and hence, good balance. Start dribbling the ball at a low height with your right hand. While dribbling, move the right hand backwards around your right leg in a circular motion until you cannot move the right hand around anymore. At this point, dribble the ball between your legs and get it frontward from the right hand to the left hand. Then while still dribbling, move the ball around your left leg, and then between your legs frontward to the right hand. Repeat this process. The aim should be to make an imaginary figure-of-eight sideways.

Purpose
This drill improves the ball control, which is a major factor in playing the game properly.
Double Dribble Drill

Directions
This is a simple basketball drill for children and can be used as a good warm up exercise. The kids are supposed to dribble two balls at the same time for five minutes nonstop. As they start getting good at it, increase the difficulty level by telling them to concentrate somewhere in the distance, like the hoop, and dribble both the balls without looking.

Purpose
This drill enhances the dribbling ability of both hands and improves movement while learning advanced moves.

Heads-up Direction Change Drill

Directions
This drill is employed to develop the kids' ability to dribble the ball without looking. While the players dribble, they are supposed to move in the direction to which the coach points. Words should not be used, as the kids are supposed to keep their eyes on your movements.

Purpose
This helps in developing the ability to dribble with the head up. This is very important as the player is always aware of the positions of his team-mates as well as the opponents, thereby enhancing the vision of the player.
Defensive Drills
While offense used to be regarded as the best defense, recent times have seen coaches come up with effective tactics and strategies that have made defense a vital part of any basketball game.

One-On-One Drill

Directions
This is a simple drill that requires two players. One plays offense, while the other plays defense. The offensive player tries to score by either beating the defender and going for a lay-up shot, or by shooting. The job of the defensive player is to prevent the offensive player from scoring, by anticipating what the offensive player would be doing next.

Purpose
This drill helps in improving the basic defensive skills of a player by creating an exact game-like situation.
Communication Drill

Directions
Form two teams, where the team playing offense has more players than the team playing defense. In the game that ensues, the defensive players have to scramble around and continually communicate with each other as they look to nullify their numerical disadvantage.

Purpose
A lot of defensive cohesiveness depends on team-work and communication, and this drill helps in developing just that.
Race to Five Drill

Directions
In this drill, players form two teams. One team plays defense, and the other offense. The job of the team defending is to earn a 'defensive stop'. This means that if the defenders are able to steal the ball or make a rebound, their team gets one point. If the attacking team manages to score, the teams switch their roles. Only the defense can earn a point. The team that manages to reach five points first wins the game.

Purpose
This drill develops the ability to press the opponents while they are in possession of the ball, and take any opportunity to win the ball back.
Agility and Quick Thinking Drills
Like most sports, agility plays a big part in basketball, one of the fastest games in the world. Quick reflexes aid in swiftly collecting rebounds, fast-breaks, passing, sharper cuts, etc.

Running Between the Cones

Directions
Take a set of cones and set them up, forming an abstract figure. Run between the cones as fast as you can but without missing a gap. Do this backwards and sideways as well. As you get better, make this activity more difficult; for example, set the cones in a figure of eight, and try to reduce the time you take to complete a round.

Purpose
This drill trains the body to quickly change direction and improves footwork.

Give and Go Drill

Directions
Give and go is a basketball move where an offensive player passes the ball to his teammate, with the intent of moving away or around his defender, and receiving the ball back immediately. Have an offensive player, who is guarded by a defender, pass the ball to his teammate, who is also closely guarded. The player passing the ball first should get past his defender and wait for his teammate to pass the ball back to him. Typically, this should be done as fast as possible, with no delay in the teammate passing the ball back. The teammate who receives the pass has to ensure that the player who passed him the ball has cleared his own defender, and that the pass he gives cannot be intercepted by the defense, and does not break the stride of the player he is passing the ball to.

Purpose
This drill helps in perfecting the give and go move, which is very effective in quickly cutting the opposition's defense.

Awareness Drill

Directions
This is a drill which focuses on just one player at a time. Two players stand on the edges of the line of the basket. They are supposed to signal a number using their fingers, and keep changing it every few seconds, though not too quickly. The player in question has to keep looking at these players and yell out the numbers that both of them are showing at that particular moment, while playing a regular training game. The aim should be to get as many calls correct as possible.

Purpose
This drill helps in building a player's awareness of what is around him or her, which is paramount in quick thinking, as the knowledge of what is around a player helps him or her in making a decision regarding what to do when he receives the ball. This increases the overall speed of the game and is vital in catching your opponents off-guard.
All these drills may not sound fun, and incorporating them in your daily practice regime definitely requires hard work. But if done properly, and right from the start, these can go a long way in laying down the foundations of this game, ultimately paving the way to a great career in basketball.
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