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How to Run Basketball Practice For Elementary School Kids

    Instruct players to take several warm-up laps around the court. Organize them into even lines and lead a team stretch. Demonstrate upper-body, lower-body and core stretches (see Resources).

    Perform individual drills for each position. Guards should work on ball-handling, passing and jump-shooting. Post players should work on rebounding and scoring in the paint. Experiment with players at multiple positions to see where they fit best.

    Hold an intrasquad scrimmage. Organize players into evenly matched teams and have them play an exhibition against one another. For added competition, provide incentives to the winning team, like less conditioning after practice.

    Condition. Have players run sprints back and forth across the court. Designate reasonable times in which players must complete the conditioning (guards should be able to complete the sprints in less time). Times should improve as the season progresses.

    Gather with players at the end of practice. Address what the team did well during practice and what needs improvement. Remind players when and where the next game is, as most elementary school teams practice just once a week. Offer to stay after practice to work with players looking for extra help.

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  • Be kind and approachable to players and parents alike. Youth coaches can have a strong impact on the growth of their players.
  • Focus on a different fundamental each practice. For example, pay close attention to shooting one week, then passing the next. Always work to improve your team.


  • Be sure to balance work with fun. If players see basketball as a chore, they will become disengaged. Basketball is a game: Treat it that way.

About the Author

Matt McKinney has written professionally since 2008. His work has appeared in publications such as "The Knox Student" and "Diminished Capacity," his campus literary journal. McKinney is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing at Knox College.

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