When children are between the ages of 8 and 10, they are at an ideal age to learn the basics of basketball. Children can learn skills, posture and technique that will stick with them throughout their school careers, so it's important to start them on the right foot by teaching things to a level for second through fourth grade. By using game drills, memory techniques and the right type of equipment, the students you coach will be better able to grasp the basics of basketball for a well-rounded experience.
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Start with the basics, such as passing and dribbling, before you move into game play. As you explain the basics, offer a visual demonstration, so children stay interested. The attention span of children in second through fourth grade will be short, and you want to ensure they absorb as much information as possible.
Offer smaller balls and lower the nets, if possible. At times, younger children will sacrifice form to accommodate for a heavier ball heaved toward an impossibly high net. Since form and technique are the basis of basketball, scaled-down equipment can help them learn properly.
Teach the right way to shoot a basketball at the basket. Children can remember how to properly shoot by remembering the acronym BEEF. This stands for balance, eyes on the target, elbow straight, follow through. This can help children more easily remember what to do at the basket. If necessary, post the word around the gym as a reminder.
Introduce drills that seem more like games to keep the attention of the children. A regular pass and shooting drill may be so boring that children act out. Instead, try playing games like "Red Light, Green Light." All of the children grab a basketball. When you call "green light," they dribble with their dominant hand. "Yellow light," means they should switch to a non dominant hand, and "red light" can mean stop dribbling, or pass to a partner, whatever you decide. Games keep children engaged as they hone their skills.
Offer praise for good technique. Coaching 8- to 10-year-olds can be frustrating, especially as they can be clumsy and uncoordinated. Instead of focusing on winning games, encourage good form as they learn to shoot, pass and dribble. As they grow older, they will remember the basics, and become more competent and proficient players.