Middle School Basketball Tryout Drills
Basketball drills are an important part of practice for a middle school team. "The drills should allow you to see each player's offensive and defensive abilities, how physically fit a player is and how they interact with others," says Clark University women's basketball coach Pat Glispin.
Have the players jog four to five laps and then dynamically stretch the major muscle groups for about 10 minutes with butt-kickers, cariocas and similar drills.
Split players into two groups. Have one line behind the left elbow -- where the free-throw line and the top of the key meet -- and the second behind the right elbow. Give the ball to the first player on the right side. The player takes a right-handed layup, jumping off his left foot. The first player in the left line rebounds and throws a bounce pass to the next player in the right line. The first two players switch lines and drills continues with that pattern. Do the same drill from the left side where the player should shoot with his left hand and jump off his right foot.
Split players into two groups with one line behind the left elbow and the second behind the right elbow. The first player on the right side takes a jump shot from the elbow. The first player in the other line rebounds using proper form -- grabbing the ball high out in front of her with her elbows out, and then pivots and passes to the next player in the right line. The first two players switch lines and the pattern continues. Do the drill with the players shooting from the left side.
Weave Passing Drill
Make three lines on the baseline. The drill starts with one player throwing a pass to a player who has started up the court as the line moves forward. After making a pass, he cuts behind the player to whom he passed the ball. Players should sprint to get ahead to receive the next pass, and the pattern continues. Once in range of the basket, the player with the ball takes a layup. On the rebound, the players turn around and run the drill in the opposite direction. Once finished, a new group starts.
Split the players into two groups. Pair up players -- an offensive player and a defender -- in a large circle. The coach then tosses the ball high into the circle. The defenders block out to stop offensive players from getting the ball. Whichever side, offense or defense, gets the rebound wins, and the other side runs a lap. Switch roles after doing the drill twice.
Players assume a defensive position: hips wide, knees bent and arms at hip level. The coach faces the players and points in a direction, and players shuffle until cued by the coach to shuffle in the other direction. A player's feet should never cross.
Have players split up into groups and go to a basket with one ball. Each player takes 10 free throws while the other players rebound.
Start at the left corner of the baseline. The first player shuffles along the baseline, sprints up the sideline to half court, shuffles across half court to the sideline and back pedals to the original starting point. Have players leave five seconds between them.
- Pat Glispin; Women's Basketball Coach, Clark University; Worcester, Massachusetts
- Breakthrough Basketball: Coaching Middle School Basketball
Susan Wessling has been a professional writer since 1986. Her articles have appeared in the "Boston Globe" magazine "On Call" and on Encyclopedia Britannica's website. She was recognized by the National Newspaper Association and New England Press Association for best sports column and by the National Newspaper Association for best sport pages. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Clark University.