Youth Basketball Drills Make the Learning Enjoyable

With the youth basketball drills you’ll find on this page, the kids will love the learning process.

If they’re having fun, they’re going to learn a lot faster, right? As a coach working with young athletes, helping your team enjoy the process is key. Focus on that and you’ll see your players improve their skills and then enjoy the wins.

Now, dig in and have fun with these basketball drills.

By the way, would you like to learn how you and your team can dramatically increase your focus on applying these youth basketball drills without ingesting a pill or drink?


Youth Basketball Drills

1) Clap pass

Here’s a youth basketball drill to help with passing and awareness. Begin the drill with your players in a circle around you. Then, as you pass the ball to random players, each player must clap before they catch the ball.

Players must sit out if: they don’t catch the ball, they don’t clap or they clap when you fake a pass to them.

To make this basketball drill a bit harder, you can bring a second person into the circle to pass a second ball with you.

2) Speed Dribble

This youth basketball drill will help dribbling & ball handling. The goal of the drill is to help players advance the court quickly with less dribbles and to increase basketball speed and endurance. Give each player a ball and line them up at half-court or on a baseline. Have the players cover the required distance (half or full-court) and count their dribbles. Then have them cover the same distance but reduce their dribbles by one. Make sure your basketball players have their heads up, ball control and are balanced. Continue reducing by one as you increase their speed. Do the drill for 5-10 minutes.

For variations, try using the off hand, ending with a pass, perimeter shot or lay-up, using the crossover dribble or going around obstacles. Your fast breaks will also be helped with this drill.

3) Monkey in the Middle

This youth basketball drill  uses three players and helps dribbling, running and passing. Start with the players spread out, give each end a ball and have the middle player facing one of the ends. One end passes to the middle player and then they switch positions (end goes to middle & middle dribbles out to end). As soon as the end player fills the middle, the other end passes the ball to middle and now these two players switch positions. Continue this pattern and be sure no one lingers in the middle position before receiving next pass.

You can also make this a competitive youth basketball drill. Split your team up into groups of three and see which group can switch positions the most during a set period of time.

4) Keep It Bouncing

This youth basketball drill improves dribbling skills while playing a fun game. Have the players spread out and while they dribble, have them try to tap other players’ balls out of bounds. A second dribble is not allowed. When a player loses a ball out of bounds, they must do five push ups or run one lap. Then they can again join the group. Be sure your players keep there heads up and use both arms. They become much better dribblers the more they try to tap away other players’ balls (instead of just protecting there own ball).

You can vary the drill by making the court smaller or bigger.

5) Who’s afraid of…

This fun youth basketball drill involves your whole team and teaches everyone to dribble under stress. Start the drill with one player standing at half-court with a ball. Have them call out, “Who’s afraid of…” (insert their name here). All the other players have their own balls and try to reach the opposite side of the court without getting “caught” by the one at half-court. Anyone caught by a tap on the back helps the one in the middle the next time.

If you don’t have a ball for each player, you can vary this youth basketball drill by grouping them into teams of two. They stay together by holding hands as one of them dribbles the ball.

6) Red Light Green Light

Improve dribbling with this youth basketball drill. Start the team at the baseline. Each player has a ball. The coach says “green light” and the players start to walk and dribble. When the coach says “red light”, the players stop. When “red light” is said, the players can pick up their dribbles.

You can vary the drill with walking backwards, using opposite hands or making it a race. You could even penalize any errors in dribbling by making the offending players go back to the start.

7) Bean Bag Game

A youth basketball drill utilizing half-court that helps dribbling control where players must be able to continue dribbling the ball while picking up and dropping bean bags. One team begins at mid-court with another team at the corners of each baseline. Each team has one ball. Put some bean bags in a pile in the key circle. On the coaches command, one player from each of the three teams dribbles into the key, and, while still dribbling, bends down and picks up a bean bag. Each player must then dribble back to their team while still dribbling, deposit the bean bag and give the ball to their next teammate. This process continues until all the bean bags are gone, then they are able to steal bean bags from the other teams. After two minutes the team with the most bean bags wins. Only one bean bag is able to be taken at one time. Make sure all players keep dribbling all the time.

You can add some variations to this youth basketball drill: add in more teams, add more players into each team, extend the time of each game, etc.

8) Speed Lay-up Drill

A youth basketball drill to work on lay-ups using the backboard. It improves the skill of getting the rebound and putting it right back up and eliminates the bad habit of putting the ball down in the key. The coach times player for 1 minute. Player 1 starts with the basketball and stands to the right of the basket. The coach says “go” and player 1 shoots a lay-up (using the backboard) from the right side as the team counts aloud the number of shots made and also offers encouragement. Whether the shot is missed or made, the player then goes to left side. Continue alternating sides as the team counts how many are made in one minute. The coach may decide to give stronger players 45 seconds and weaker players one minute. Players shouldn’t dribble between shots.

You can vary this youth basketball drill by having the players stay on the right side for one minute continuously instead of alternating sides. Then have them work the left side for one minute.

9) Ball Scramble

This is a drill that works on reaction to loose balls. The players start spread out across court and each player has a ball. On the coach’s command, all players drop the ball and run to half-court or bleachers, and then return. The coach removes one ball while the players are running. The player that loses their ball is now out. As the players diminish, start to reduce the playing area and really encourage going after the ball and hustle. Run this drill for 5-10 minutes and reward the winner by allowing them to sit out the next round, sprints, etc.

You can vary this drill by removing more than one ball at a time.

10) Hot Hands

A youth basketball drill that works on passing without travelling in a fun way. You can’t allow your players to dribble the ball during this game. This is a drill that is sometimes hard to “get started”, so try and start this youth basketball drill at a slow pace. This way, younger players can fully understand the point of the drill. Player 1 receives a pass and can take only two steps before passing the ball to a team mate. As soon as a player receives a pass, they must count out loud the steps they take. If any player exceeds the two steps, the coach stops the game and this player is replaced by someone on the bench (if there are any).