Fun Matters More than Form

Focus on:
  • the player stopping; and
  • being balanced before “shooting”.

Vary the Target

There are a number of activities that can be used to practice shooting and many of them do not need a basket. To increase the “success” that player experience, coaches should use a range of activities, with different targets. For example, having the ball hit the net may be counted as a score in one activity. If possible, the ring should be lowered. and using a smaller ball (size 5 or size 3) will also make it easier for young players. It is best if targets are above the players so that they develop the skill of throwing the ball up. This can be done, for example, by having the players sit on the floor and throw into a bin on top of a bench. Throwing at targets that are at the same height as the players is good for practicing passing, but do not encourage the players to push up!

Keep them Close

All children love to shoot the 3 point shot, even though it can be very detrimental to their technique. Accordingly, coaches should generally keep players shooting from close to the basket (inside the key) while they are developing the strength to shoot from further out. Some fun activities are:
  1. Throw balls of different weights and sizes (e.g. tennis balls, size 3 balls, size 5 balls, volleyballs, soccer balls) in containers (e.g. rubbish bins), circles, baskets at different heights and from different distances.
  2. Shooting free, at the basket. For young players, hitting the ring, net or backboard can also be counted as a score.
  3. Throwing the ball at spots on the wall, numbers drawn on the wall, in circles placed on the floor, or held by another player.
  4. Shoot balls trying to knock down pins, hit other balls, different objects (in place or moving).
  5. Shoot in larger-than-normal baskets (if available)
  6. Shooting at basket: competition with different scores depending on the results (two points for a basket, 1 point if the basket rim is touched, half a point if the backboard is touched). The team which manages to reach a set score first wins.
  7. “Shooting competition”. Divide players into teams and have them shoot initially from in front of the basket, shooting freely (1 point for each basket). The team that manages to score the most baskets in a certain period of time wins. The competition can be carried out from different distances, from either side and with or without using the backboard.
  8. Free throw competition (individual or in teams).
  9. “Crocodile”. Players shoot from a designated spot. If they make the shot, they rejoin the line. If the miss, the shot they stand on the baseline, where they can be eaten by a“crocodile”. If a player makes a shot, they rescue one person from the baseline (if anybody is there). If all players end up on the baseline, the crocodile wins! The game can also be played as one team against the other, with the winning team being the first to a certain score (a team automatically loses if all its players end up on the baseline).
  10. “21”. Divide players into two teams (try to make them even) and line them up at a designated spot. Each team has two balls. Players get 2 points if they can make the shot from the designated spot. After shooting, players attempt to rebound the ball. If they rebound the ball without it bouncing, they may have a second shot , which is worth one point if scored. The next player in line begins to shoot when the first has either made a basket or used up his or her two available shots. The team which first scores at least 21 points wins the game.
  11. “Around the World”. The coach chooses 6-10 shooting positions. Players start at the first spot. If the player makes the basket they move to the next position and shoot again. If the player misses the next player in line takes the next shot. The player who first manages to make one from each spot is the winner. Those who miss have three shots from each shooting position and if they miss all three they can still move on to the next position.
  12. Shoot at the basket with one eye closed and one open.
  13. Players stand around free throw line or suitable distance (one ball each) or other designated area, with their, back to basket. At the coach’s signal, they pivot (front or reverse) and shoot.
  14. Players face the basket with the ball on ground. On the coach’s signal they quickly grasp the ball and shoot.
  15. Players face the basket, holding a ball behind them. At the coach’s signal they bounce the ball from behind to their front (between legs), grab it and shoot.
  16. Two players hold a ball,near the basket. When the coach calls “Go”, they both try to get possession and whoever gets possession shoots. The player that loses possession does not guard the shot.
  17. Players face basket, holding ball between ankles. On the coach’s signal they jump, lifting the ball into the air. They catch the ball (initially after one bounce and progressing to catching it without it hitting the floor) and shoot.
  18. One player (or the coach) throws the ball against the backboard and their team mate jumps to rebound it, lands and then shoots.