Exercise is essential to our well being as human beings and what better opportunity to promote the unifying ethos of playing sport than by introducing our children to sport at an early age. Basketball is ideal for this purpose, as it does not need too many people to be involved in the first instance. A child can play by himself with very little and inexpensive equipment. Just a basketball and a hoop and a small space to play are all that is required.
Basketball is a city sport, a country sport, an indoor sport or an outdoor sport! Dad can play, granddad can play, Mum and Grandma too. Many feel basketball appeals to all sorts of people and its benefits. Their aerobic and physical fitness improves and this is good for everyone’s health and happiness.
To ensure maximum enjoyment and benefit from the training and skills sessions, the exercises will be fun and games-led.
Drills include each child bouncing the ball on the spot individually, exercising ball control. Once confident, the child will bounce the ball whilst standing on the spot but turning in a circle clockwise and then doing it again but in an anticlockwise direction. They can also change hands and have a go with their weaker hand. The next stage would be to pat the ball whilst moving. At first, it would be easier to move forwards and, gradually, they can move backwards whilst keeping the ball moving in any direction with their hands. Children will play short competitive games working in twos for passing and ball control development. The kids will learn to pat the ball deftly and as they get more confident, they will naturally apply finger control in keeping with their level of expertise.
Once the basic skills are learned, most of the children will be required to lift an arm out to protect themselves from other players whilst bouncing their own ball. This activity can once again be encompassed in a game where children are paired up and have to keep their ball bouncing whilst trying to disengage their opponent’s ball with their free hand.
After mastering ball handling, kids attempt passing. Two lines are formed with kids facing each other. The ball is passed back and forth from a child in one line to another child who is on the opposite line.
Kids will dribble the ball in groups. Mini competitions using equipment like plastic cones or bean bags to mark the course together with a simple set of rules will enable kids to speed up their learning process. The game is based on a knock out competition with two teams running through the cones, which outline the course to the end of the hall and tag a player on the other side and form a dribbling relay team. The winner is the team that completes the course the quickest when dribbling the basketball. The spinoff is that the game will encourage team spirit, bonding between the players, confidence and speed of moving with the ball.
In basketball lessons for kids, no attempt is made to mirror the adult version of the sport. Kids are encouraged to shoot the ball, double handed at first to enable them to get the measure of the circumference of the hoop.
Before attempting more complicated skills and techniques, the training element of the sport must be emphasized. Kids will strengthen their muscles and bones by regular, targeted training sessions. The kids will do floor exercises to strengthen their core and upper body area as well as short burst running and jumping sessions to strengthen calf and leg muscles and build in dexterity. Other taught skills can be acquired on the back of this training such as defending skills, laying-up shots for team mates and making chest passes.
It is never too early to play physical games and basketball is no different. Lightweight, miniature balls must be used in order to protect the child from any muscular damage. However, it is an essential part of child development, which crosses the boundary of mental and physical agility. A toddler running after a rolling ball is a familiar sight. This toddler is inadvertently building up its leg muscles, which will help him to crawl, walk, run and jump as his bones harden and grow with continuous activity. Hugging a basketball allows the little child to flex its muscle in its upper arm and grip the ball with tiny fingers. This is important in promoting hand-eye co-ordination. Additionally, the interaction with a grown up who is rolling the ball and ensuring the child is safe from harm, enables the child to be introduced to the social effects of game playing. This is crucial in ensuring that the little kid will take an early interest in the game and continue to develop and progress as a player.
An important aspect of basketball training for kids is the continual and intentional provision of information to kids about behavior expectations when involved in sport. This process starts with the youngest kids and progresses upwards to enable the children to give it the priority it deserves. Sportsmanship revolves around the rules of the game and how it is played. There is no room for disrespect to other players, officials or spectators. Whilst learning the rules of the game we teach them how to win and how to lose with dignity.
To be a good basketball player you have to practice, practice, and practice. You can have fun doing this either by yourself in a quiet space with a ball and hoop, with or without a net or with a few friends in a park or in your own backyard. Here, we show a few simple exercises to help you to improve quickly. These involve basketball drills for children of all ages and some lessons on how to play the game fairly whilst having fun. You will notice that your fitness level will rise giving you that extra boost you need to propel you to the next level.