As a youth basketball coach, before each game or practice, it's important to review the plays and to make sure everyone knows their role. Just as important; however, is a team warm-up. Conducting a few basketball-specific drills helps your young players prepare mentally and physically. Warm-up drills can also help your team play at their best skill level and keep them injury free.
Running Warm Ups
To get your team prepared to play basketball, it's important to have them warm up their legs. Since your players will be running up and down the court, one of the best drills is to run the baselines. Have your players start off at the baseline, run to the near free-throw line, turn around and return to the baseline. Instruct them to run to midcourt and back, and then run to the far free-throw line and back. Finally, have them run from the near baseline to the far baseline and back. Allow them a one-minute break and repeat. This drill should get your players' legs and cardiovascular system ready for basketball.
Around the World Shooting Drill
Start with one of your players at the right baseline, about 18 feet from the basket. Have him take five jump shots from that distance and then move to the right elbow -- the extended part of the foul line -- and take five shots from that distance. After the five shots, instruct him to move to the top of the key and take another five shots. He continues to do the same from the left elbow and the left baseline. Have all your players perform the drill to prepare them for taking shots from all over the court.
One of the hardest things for young players to learn is how to dribble properly. Dribbling practice is essential for building confidence and helping your players improve in this critical area. Set up five cones past midcourt, each one about 3 feet apart. Have one of your players dribble to the right of the first cone, the left of the second cone, the right of the third cone and then continue on in that manner. When he has dribbled past the fifth cone, have him speed-dribble back to the midcourt line and hand the ball to a teammate who then does the drill.
Have your players perform the rapid fire drill to warm up and practice their passing. Each player has a ball and stands 3 feet from a wall. On your command, each one throws a hard chest pass against the wall, catches the ball after it rebounds and quickly throws another pass against the wall. As your players continue, have them slowly back up until they are about 12 feet from the wall. At this point, they continue, but slowly move forward until they are 3 feet from the wall. You can have them mix in some over-the-head passes or one-handed passes.