Simple Basketball / by James Leath

I have a fairly simple way to teach a young basketball player how to shoot a basketball. I have coached youth basketball for over 10 years and use this with boys and girls. The secret: simplify.

  • Show her how to hold the ball, using wide hands and guide the ball with the left, then let her do it

  • Show her how to push the ball high, then let her do it against a wall (not a backboard).

  • Challenge her to hit the same spot on the wall 3 times in a row.

  • Take her to the backboard. Have her hit a spot on the board 3 times. (Not shooting for the basket, yet)

  • Once she has hit the spot, tell her to hit the top of that big red square.

  • She hits the spot, the ball goes in the net, and you have just ingrained in her that if you use the backboard the ball will go in the net. Do happy dance.

Repeat everyday as a warm-up. It looks like this:

  • 10 shots against the wall, slow and under control.

  • 10 shots against the backboard, slow and under control.

  • 5 shots made by hitting the top corner of the square on each side.

Once we do that for a few days, we can move on to shooting the ball from further distances. Take time at the beginning of the season to teach this skill and you will be glad you did. Forget about plays and crazy formations in youth basketball. If my team without a playbook is confident enough to shoot and I spend time teaching how to aggressively rebound I will beat your team with a playbook.