Youth Basketball Shooting: 3 Things Youth Coaches & Players Need to Adjust

Home > Coaching > Coaching Youth Basketball > Youth Basketball Shooting: 3 Things Youth Coaches & Players Need to Adjust
Difference #1 - DON'T LET THEM "CHUCK" THE BALL.

When working with young players, always use a lower rim. ALL experts agree that it's a huge mistake to use a 10 ft. rim. In most cases, an 8 ft. or 9 ft. rim is the way to go.

The biggest problem with kids today is that they use a full-sized ball, 10 ft. rim, and they have to "chuck it" to get the ball there.

This is where many players establish wrong habits in their basketball shooting form. These habits often linger and hamper players well after they are strong enough and big enough to shoot properly at a ten foot hoop.

You'll often find players that "chuck" the ball frequently miss to the left and right.

Getting rid of these habits takes a lot of time and effort, much more than is needed to establish correct habits in the first place.

So our advice is simple...

  • USE 8 FT. RIMS FOR KIDS THAT ARE 8 YEARS OLD AND UNDER.

  • USE 9 FT. RIMS FOR 9 AND 10 YEAR OLDS.

  • USE REGULATION FOR 11 YEAR OLDS AND UP.
We also suggest that you use smaller basketballs. For kids 5-8 years old you can use size 6 ball until they get to high school.


Difference #2 - DON'T GO TOO FAST AND EASE INTO DIFFICULT SKILLS.

Some of the skills in shooting workouts will be too difficult. In fact, young players should spend A LOT of time just on form shooting and shooting away from the basket.

Players develop shooting habits at an early age, so you need to start with basic form shooting. If they get really good, you can start moving into shots off the dribble and so on.

Just to give you an idea, here's the progression for a young player:

Move onto the next progression when the player is VERY comfortable with each previous skill.

  1. Form shooting with one hand (away from the basket)
  2. Form shooting with two hands (away from the basket)
  3. Form shooting with one hand (a few feet from the basket)
  4. Form shooting with two hands (a few feet from the basket)
  5. Catch and shoot up to 10 feet from the basket
  6. Catch, pivot, and shoot up to 10 feet from the basket
  7. Dribble, pivot, and shoot (both hands)
You'll obviously need to go at a slower pace with young kids.


Difference #3 - PERSISTENCE, PERSISTENCE, PERSISTENCE

When it comes to teaching youth players, you are going to have to constantly adjust their shots.

The trap that most youth coaches fall into is that you fix a kid's shot once, twice, three, four times, and by the fifth time, you let the kid start shooting with their old, bad habits. That's where you need to remain persistent and keep adjusting their shots. It could take hundreds and thousands of corrections before the player finally gets it.

Don't get frustrated or mad. It's just a process that takes time and have some fun with it!

It's also very rewarding when you see the kid nailing shot after shot at the varsity level a few years down the road.


If you are interested, we also have a basketball shooting guide that goes into great detail about the art of shooting and much more.




Comments

Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

Carrie says:
1/26/2019 at 10:17:20 AM

I am a first year coach of 6 grade girls. The majority have never played basketball before. In just a couple of weeks, they are making amazing improvement, but there are several girls (one big physical post player) that cannot shoot a free throw - as in cannot get the ball to the hoop. They use a 28.5 ball and 10ft hoop. This is dictated by the league they play in. The post in particular can get the ball there if she really jumps, but then ends up over the line. We talk about using our legs, follow-through, etc. Any suggestions for helping them develop this skill? Thanks.

Like
   

Eddie childers says:
1/22/2019 at 9:27:37 AM

How do you get around a league that makes 7-8 year olds shoot on 10 ft goal and standard 29.5 ball ???

Like
   

Sean says:
12/28/2017 at 10:30:22 AM

Another thing to do for your kid, is to have them build upper body strength, kids who have no upper body strength cant shoot the ball far, and look for alternatives, like finding a lower release point, and shooting with 2 hands.

Like
   

Vince says:
3/16/2017 at 9:25:24 AM

how big is the Square painted on the back board of a basket ball hoop

Like
   

Mike j butler says:
6/8/2016 at 11:08:35 AM

Im only 14 coach says i got handles and everything i play AAU i just need to work on my shot any suggestions?

Like
   

Michael says:
1/11/2016 at 8:03:29 AM

I am a volunteer coach for kindys. It's a recreational league. The schedule consists of 2 1-hour practices and 7 games.

Most of the kids on the team are capable of shooting a basketball around rim height (8 ft) with the junior size basketball.

There is one player that is not getting any elevation of their shot. (We had our 1st practice last weekend). I tried using a shorter rim and having them jump while shooting. I even tried overhead shooting. (I know it's not proper form, but that's how my son 1st learned to shoot...)

Anyway, I have a question. At our next full practice, I'm planning on giving the player lots of individualized helpinstruction. Any suggestions to help the player get height. When they shoot, the ball just falls down...

Like
  1 reply  

Jeff Haefner says:
1/12/2016 at 2:50:17 PM

For kindergarten players, I try to avoid shooting... work on things they can do with some success... dribbling, passing, and basic footwork. They are just too young and small. I even avoid shooting with 2nd and 3rd graders as it's pretty tough to get them to shoot with proper form.

If we do any shooting with kids 3rd grade and under, it's away from the basket... shooting to the wall, a partner, or a spot on the floor. Just focusing on good technique with a small basketball. So my suggestion it to practice shooting away from the basket and play other fun games that include passing and dribbling (dribble races, keep away passing games, etc... kids love it and improve skill).

Like
   


S Hartfield says:
12/15/2015 at 6:54:19 PM

I coach that same age group, this is their 3rd season and the change in them is incredible. You can totally tell a difference in them against their peers who probably do not receive coaching and just play. We work extensively on dribbling and not traveling, passing and catching, where to stand on offense, they run an effective 2-3 zone and even know 2 inbounds plays. Our last game we won 36-0. Our first practice none of them could reach an 8ft rim! Its incredible

Like
   

CGR says:
11/3/2014 at 9:40:10 AM

Ron is right! For my really young kids (5, 6, 7), I use a hula hoop. First against a wall, I hold it. If the kid shoots 'from the forehead' (a simple concept they understand) they usually get the basket. But if they push or underhand, I tilt the hula hoop away so the ball won't go in.

Same with nets, I'll hang a hula hoop off of it, get the kids to approach, and tilt it away if the push or go underhand.

To keep the kids motivated and encouraged, especially young first-timers, you can move the hula hoop to make sure kids who get the technique get the baskets. I've found that younger ones, once they understand that, get right into the 7-foot rims and shoot 'properly' pretty consistently.

Like
   

Jeff Haefner says:
10/31/2014 at 6:01:47 AM

Jason -

Here are a few good places for you to begin:

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/coaching/youthbasketball.html
http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/coaching/teach-youth.html

Like
   

Jason says:
10/30/2014 at 3:53:50 PM

I am coaching 5-6th grade basketball. I know absolutely nothing about the sport but nobody else wanted to do it. Where do I even begin (your website has been a tremendous help)?

Like
   

Show More




































Leave a Comment
Name
:
Email (not published)
:
One times three is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
Answer
:
 Load New Question
Comments
:
Leave this Blank
:
    Check this box to receive an email notification when someone else comments on this page.