Fundamentals - Youth Practice Structure
Basketball practices for children under the age of 12 should emphasize development of a strong athletic base (a good athlete can move in all directions, quickly, smoothly, and on balance). Agility, balance, coordination, and speed are most receptive to training Ė the ABCíS.
At the novice level (ages 6 to 9), fundamental drills should be supplemented by small-sided/modified games such as 3 on 3. Atom players (10-11) can be introduced to 4 on 4 and 5 on 5.
A generic practice plan should try to cover
- motor skills & footwork
- small-sided games (1 on 1, 2 on 2, 3 on 3)
- defending on the ball (then off the ball)
- offensive concepts, e.g. give and go, spacing
- transition, e.g., 2 v 1, 3 v 2
Steve Nash Youth Basketball (SNYB) - Small-ball rules
- ages 5-6 (7-foot rims) to 7-8 (8-foot rims)
- 3-on-3 or 4-on-4, 4-minute shifts running time
- one team starts with the ball in their backcourt
- 4-dribble limit
- halfcourt defence, guard only your check, at armís-length distance.
See Youth dynamic warm-up, Favourite drills for kids, Skills checklist for novice players, Coaches handbook.
For other ideas on youth practice plans, see
For ready-made lesson plans and drills, see