Here is a vital finishing move for every level of player! You shouldn’t practice any other finishing move until you’ve mastered this. This will help you make more lay ups, get blocked fewer times, and avoid….

Continue Viewing: FIRST MOVE for Finishing at the Rim to Make Lay Ups



Essential Youth Skills & Decision Making Camps

Of our 300+ camps across North America, we have 53 Essential Youth Skills & Decision Making Camps.

This is a youth and middle school (4th to 9th grade boys & girls) camp that focuses on developing the complete player. You will develop shooting, ball handling, passing, footwork, defense, rebounding, athleticism, character development, and other essential skills to become a great basketball player. You also get to take the skills you practiced and apply them in a controlled game setting. It is both fun and laser-focused on skill development.

You can view all of the camps below.

Schedule: Essential Youth Skills & Decision Making Camps


Best Camp! Clear Instructions, Drills Applied to Age Range, Each Camper Received Attention, Great Message At End!

The instructions were clear, and the drills were applicable to each age range. The coaches were amazing, and both days were run to the minute. Best camp we have ever been to. I really appreciated all the effort from the coaches. Being able to make their way around to each court and comment on each player over the past two days was really cool. The message at the end was also appreciated. I'm going to hold my player to his homework assignment. Thanks for everyone who was a part of this camp!

- Jake Stiles of Lafayette, Indiana


"Refreshing to see & participate in a camp that focuses on fundamentals, fundamentals & more fundamentals."

Excellent overall content from coaches, drills and life skills with the ending session recap conversations. It was refreshing to see & participate in a camp that focuses on fundamentals, fundamentals & more fundamentals. With some much focus placed on winning within youth sports today, this is an area that is often left behind within the development with kids.

- Paul Sorce of Chatham, Illinois

You can register to learn more by clicking on the location at the following page:

Essential Youth Skills & Decision Making Camps



Question & Answer Topic: 3rd Graders Shooting on 10 Foot Rims and Using Basketballs That Are Too Big

I have enjoyed reading your website for tips and information on coaching youth players. I just ordered the Bigelow dvd and look forward to watching those. My question...

I have entered my first year of coaching my daughters third grade team. I agree with your opinions about using 8 rims and smaller balls at this age. Unfortunately our league begins playing with 28.5 balls and 10 foot rims starting in the 3rd grade. (Crazy I know!). My first practice we focused on ball handling, passing, lay ups, and fun! It went well. I'm now concerned about the next practice because I'd like to work on their shooting technique.

However, their ability to get it to the goal is a challenge obviously. What I observed on layups were a few that could get it there with moderate effort, a few using MAX effort and some not even close. We also did "knockout" for fun at the end, seeing similar results as layups. Knowing these limitations but being confined to the league rules, what would you suggest on teaching shooting skills.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you for the content of this website. I noticed from the comments they were several years old so not sure if you are still checking email responses or not. Hopefully so! Thanks again... Cam


Jeff Haefner’s Response:

Coach - We had the same issue with my daughter’s team when they were in 3rd grade. They are now in 8th.

I just spent most of my time teaching ball handling, footwork, defense, and having fun. When we practicing shooting, it was often away from the basket and just trying to teach them to get some back spin on the ball, hold follow through, and just real basic technique.

We played a lot of small sided passing and dribbling games. And we played a lot of 3v3. We only played in two tournaments and we invited teams to play us 3v3 in our own gym and own rules.

Teaching lay ups at this age is tough. You lower baskets and teach the best you can. Sometimes it's a troubleshooting process trying to figure out what works with those particular kids.

I just taught fundamentals the right way and if we lost as a result... I did not care. We did however, win some as a byproduct of us teaching effort, defense, and basic fundamental skills.

I wrote a blog post about it here:
Coaching Youth Basketball – What We Did With Our 3rd Grade Team and Ideas that Might Help You

Editor’s Note: Here are the referenced resources in question about youth players rim height and basketball size:

Why Standard Youth Basketballs Are Too Heavy and Result in Bad Shooting Habits

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


Question & Answer Topic: Too Many Players On Middle School Team & Not Enough Time To Teach Fundamentals

I’ve posted here (on the forum) before and the help has been tremendous. Thank you. I had tryouts this week and kept a team of 14, basically I didn’t cut anyone. Here’s the situation I have 1 good player and 4 solid players. I have my 6th man who is interchangeable with the 4 and 5 in there now skill wise they are only a little better.

Elsewhere on the bench, I have a post player who has been working really hard and a cc runner who can play defense on anyone dependably.

Everyone else has potential but raw and I don’t have time to teach fundamentals. How do I make the most out of practice? And when scrimmaging at least going over plays etc., I want the starting 5 to gel and put in the first 8 in as I need but the teams will be pretty unevenly matched? Does that matter? I’m hoping it makes them better?

Any advice?


Jeff Haefner’s Response:

My opinion is you always have time for fundamentals. And I think that is one of the most important things for a middle school coach to spend time on.

I have seen a number of "B" and "C" level middle school players go on to be really good varsity high school players. If their middle school coach or someone didn't help them with fundamentals, do you think they ever would have made varsity down the road?

Here's another piece of advice. If you were a player on the team, what would you want your coach to teach? What would you want your coach to do during practice?

Every coach has their own way of doing things. The majority of our practices at all levels (2nd grade to high school) is spent on skill development. We play 1v1 full court games... we're working on close outs, 1v1 defense, agility, condition, and dribble skills.

We run shooting and finishing drills that use a piece of our motion offense so they are practicing skills and learning a piece of offense at the same time.

No matter what level I coach, we have 3 simple BLOBs, 1 or 2 very simple called plays, and motion offense. Our motion takes about 20 minutes to teach. The rest of the motion learning is based on skills and fundamental offensive concepts.

We play a lot of small sided games that incorporate skill development and learning of the game.

We focus on character development great man to man defense, rebounding, skill development, a simple motion offense, and get good at a couple simple BLOB plays and defending BLOBs. Those areas give you the highest return on your time investment and allow you to develop kids at the same time.

What I do might not work for you... everyone has their own way of doing things. But if you're asking what I do, that's exactly how I would handle things with a middle school team like that.

Coaching Resources:

How To Build Your Offense Using Competitive Games

Youth Coaches: Destroy Your Playbook and Do This Instead

How to Teach Offense and Skill Development at the Same Time

The Best Defense for Youth Basketball


Well, we hope these resources help you with your coaching! The end of the season is approaching for many of you and we hope we’ve helped in some way.

Let us know if you need anything else.


- Joe Haefner
Breakthrough Basketball


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