How to Run Basketball Practice For Elementary School Kids

How to Run Basketball Practice For Elementary School Kids

Coaching youth sports is a great way to get involved and make a difference in your community, and basketball is among the most popular youth sports today. It’s your responsibility to instill strong fundamentals and good sportsmanship in your players and help them build on those traits as they develop. Much of that takes place in practice, and running an efficient practice will help you earn respect, improve your players’ skills and ultimately help your team win games.

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.


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.