When you’ve been playing basketball for awhile it can feel so natural to you that you may even forget how to best teach someone how to play. But when teaching a child how to play the game, you want to go about it in a certain way to ensure you both build a love of the game, and teach a great base of skills. Kids who learn how to play basketball the right way will hold onto their love of the game for a lifetime.

Learning is a progression

At Burlington Basketball, the first fundamental is FUN! From our jr.NBA program for 5 year olds on up to our senior rep teams, loving the game means maintaining the element of true enjoyment.

No great basketball player ever just walked onto the court as a kid and immediately knew how to play the game. When teaching new players, it is important to understand that teaching skills should be a progression. You won’t start off running plays and practicing 3 pointers, so choosing some basic skills will be the wise first step.

Once the basics are feeling solid you can move onto secondary skills that all players will need to master like dribbling, passing and shooting. If you move on to some of these skills too soon however, you’ll risk developing a player that isn’t well rounded enough to succeed on the court.

Important, fundamental building blocks for athletes include:

Balance – Good balance will allow players to dodge blocks and effectively move around the court without losing their balance and falling. Once they start working with a basketball to master dribbling, the positive effects of great balance training will be apparent.

Posture – Staying low and tight to the ground when moving during gameplay will help player to effectively and efficiently keep the ball moving.

Speed – It’s no surprise that in a game like basketball, speed matters. Spending time teaching kids how to react quickly and move with speed will help set them up to make plays in a game setting.

Agility/Movement – Before learning how to move around the court with a basketball bouncing in front of them, players should learn the importance of making lateral movements while on the court.

Fun is what it’s all about

At the end of the day, playing and learning basketball has to be fun for everyone involved. If you or your players aren’t having fun, the skills they are working so hard to learn will be learned in vain. Stepping onto the court each day has to be something your player looks forward to doing.

Though it might be tempting to put a lot of emphasis on winning games and progressing through the standings of local teams, the bigger focus should be how your players are actually progressing and growing both as players and people. The discipline that it takes to become a good basketball player will help set kids up to succeed in many areas of life.

What makes a great ball player?

All the coaching in the world won’t make a difference if the player doesn’t come equipped with the hallmarks of what makes a great basketball player. Though most skills can be learned and practiced, if a player doesn’t come to practice with an open mind and an eagerness and willingness to follow the coach’s guidance, they won’t actually retain anything they’ve worked on.

A great basketball player is willing to take in their coach’s advice and use it to become a diverse player with a wide range of skills. Most NBA players haven’t made it to the big leagues by themselves. The greatest shooter in the world still has very strong passing, dribbling and blocking skills that they’ve learned from coaches throughout their younger years.

Start slow and focus on fun (as the first fundamental!)

Playing basketball is a dream that many kids have. The idea of shooting hoops with friends and making awesome shots in front of a crowd is something that most new basketball players aspire to. But before a player can do this, they must learn the groundwork first. Learning the fundamentals of the game before even touching the ball can help set a child up for a lifetime of great game play. Focusing on the basics of movement and speed without getting too fancy will help players to develop a solid game. Players who are teachable and thirsty to learn are the ones who will ultimately succeed on the court.