Youth Basketball Coaching Drills

By John Focht

Coaching youth sports is a thrilling opportunity for any parent.  Basketball is a great team sport to teach children.  Whether you played as kid yourself or not, sign up as a head coach, or an assistant coach, and enjoy a fun-filled season with your son or daughter.

Here are five basketball drills to run with your youth basketball team this season:


Have your team line up on the baseline.  Be sure you have enough basketballs for each team member.  Have the team practice dribbling skills for 30 second intervals with the right-hand, then 30 with their left-hand.

The objective for the coaches is to teach the players the proper dribbling techniques.  Be sure the players are dribbling the ball off to the side of their body and not in front of them.  Their knees should be slightly bent while dribbling the ball.  Be sure the players are dribbling the ball with their finger-tips, not the palm of their hands.  Keep an eye that the dribble is not too high; keep the dribble thigh-high.  Keep the players focused on looking ahead and keeping their heads up, not looking down at the ball.

Blow the whistle and have the players do the same drill with the opposite hand.  Switch it up every 30 seconds for about five minutes.

Bounce Pass:

Line the team up along the key with half on one side and half on the other.  Have the team practice the bounce pass back-and-forth.  Enforce upon the players to take a step forward with the pass.  The pass should be coming from the chest, not overhead, and bounce halfway between the two players.

Chest Pass:

After five minutes of bounce pass drills, keep the players on the key and practice the chest pass.  Same philosophy as the bounce pass.  Instruct the players to take a step with the pass, but instead of the pass bouncing in the middle between the two players, the pass should travel in the air to the other player.  Like the bounce pass, the chest pass should be coming from the players chest area, not from overhead.  Be sure the player throwing the ball is aiming the ball toward the other player’s chest.  The objective of the chest pass is to throw from your chest to your teammate’s chest.


Practice rebounding by having a player positioned underneath the basket while you are five-ten feet out.  Lob the basketball off the backboard and instruct the player to get up and grab the rebound.  Go through this drill two or three times individually with each member of the team.

Once the players get comfortable grabbing the rebounding, have two players line up underneath and do the same drill.  This time the players fight each other for the rebound.  Initially keeping the rebounding drill to the players by themselves helps get them comfortable with the act of rebounding.  Pairing them off against each other gets them into the mentality of winning the one-on-one battle of the boards.

Running and Dribbling:

Set up some cones and have the team dribble the ball up and down the court around the cones.  Have the players practice dribbling with the right-hand going up and the left-hand coming back.  Have them finish the drill by giving a bounce pass to the next player in line.  Break the team into two lines and have them race each other with the losing team required to give ten pushups after the drill is complete.


Set your practice up going through these basic drills while mixing in a scrimmage.  It’s always helpful on youth players to immediately start using the drills in game action.  This allows them tosee the immediate benefit of the drills.