Below are concepts on what we teach youth basketball players. We break it down between 3 levels. As players perfect each level, they can advance to the next level to learn more skills & concepts.
We put ages next to the level as a general guideline. Depending on the age and skill level, players will progress through the levels at different rates. You may notice that we’ll spend a couple years working on Level 1 with 9 to 11 year olds. At the same time, we may be able to progress to Level 2 after two weeks working with a group of 13 year olds who are playing basketball for the first time.
A lot of high school and college coaches start at Level 1 every year. They just progress through the levels more quickly than a youth team. It’s a great way to ingrain the fundamentals into players year in and year out.
It may take a few years to teach all of these skills at one level and THAT’S OKAY! For youth players, we want to focus on the long-term development, not how many games they win when they’re 11 years old. If you try to progress them too quickly, it will hurt them in the long-run. You want to have a solid foundation first. You shouldn’t try to teach them every dribble move in one year or every option in the motion offense. The same way in which you couldn’t teach a person calculus if they did not know how to do simple addition and subtraction.
Level 1 (9 to 12 Year Olds)
|Here’s what is taught, ordered by priority:
Lay Ups – the goal is to get all players to make lay ups with their left and right hands equally well!! Players are taught to jump off the proper foot. They should jump off the left leg when shooting a right hand lay up. They should shoot off their right leg when shooting a left hand lay up. They should dribble with their left hand when shooting left hand lay ups. And vice versa.
Footwork – teach them triple threat positioning, pivoting on their left and right foot without traveling, jump stops, and to square to the basket as soon as they catch the ball in a triple threat position. A lot of time will be spent on footwork!
Shooting Form – for this age group, instead of using smaller balls and lower baskets, players will be allowed to dip their elbows which will give them more strength. To learn more on shooting, visit the “Skills Training” page.
Ball Handling – players will be taught to dribble with left and right hands equally. Basic dribble moves such as the speed dribble, crossover, protect-the-ball dribble, and back-off dribble.
Athletic & Movement Skills – teach them how to run, jump and land, skip, stop, move laterally, squat, lunge and any other basic movements. Basic passes – teach and practice the basic chest, bounce, and overhead passes. Offense – start to introduce motion offense. Defense – teach the basic stance, defensive slide, and basic off-ball principles.
Basic Off Ball Principles:
Level 2 (12 to 14 Year Olds)
|We will expand onto more advanced skills for everything mentioned above.
Lay Ups – jumping off one foot and jump-stop lay ups.
Teach more cuts : back cut, curl cut, etc.
Continue to focus on Shooting Form and introduce some movement for shooting drills (shooting off the dribble and off the catch).
Ball Handling & Dribbling – teach more dribble moves such as the inside-out dribble (fake crossover), hesitation move, and between-the-legs.
Passing – continue to teach basic passes and introduce some advanced passes (baseball pass and wrap around pass).
Passing Under Pressure – pair passing with a defensive player in the middle running back and forth to pressure the passer.
Footwork – introduce jab steps and ball fakes (pass fakes and shot fakes).
Rebounding – introduce rebounding technique.
Basic Post Moves – drop step and jump hook.
Spacing – introduce more basic spacing concepts.
Offense – start to introduce more motion offense situations. Teach basic screen reads.
Defense – keep emphasizing and spend a little more time on the defensive stance, defensive slide, and off-ball principles mentioned in Level 1.
Level 3 (14 to 17 Year Olds)
|Expand onto more advanced skills for everything mentioned above.
Lay Ups – practice contested lay ups.
Continue to teach basic cuts and add more cuts.
Continue to emphasize Shooting Form and practice shooting: on the move, off of the pass, and on the dribble.
Ball Handling & Dribbling – teach more dribble moves such as the spin move, behind-the-back. Incorporate some double-moves (crossover followed with a behind-the-back).
Passing – introduce some other advanced passes (dribble pass, behind-the-back pass, pick and roll pass).
Passing Under Pressure – continue to use pair passing with a defensive player in the middle running back and forth to pressure the passer.
Teach Basic Screens.
Footwork – continue to work on jab steps, pivots, and ball fakes (pass fakes and shot fakes).
Rebounding – put more emphasis on rebounding technique and spend more time on rebounding drills.
Post Moves – keep practicing post moves mentioned above while introducing a few more when the players are ready.
Spacing – advance to higher levels of spacing drills.
Offense – introduce more motion offense situations. You should start to notice that players are becoming much better at reading the defense.
Defense – emphasize basics from previous levels and move on to advance rotations and situations.