Back to School Basketball
As the kids go back to school, SNYB suggests coaches take basketball back to the basics. Not the basic fundamentals that first call to mind – dribbling, shooting, rebounding – but the body behind them, the Fundamental Movement Skills.

If you’ve been following our blog over the past few years, the idea of Fundamental Movement Skills will not be new to you. To clarify, these refer to basic movement skills typically categorized into stability, locomotion and object control. While dribbling, shooting and rebounding are important aspects to the game of basketball, developing an athlete’s physical characteristics is critical to their overall long-term development. These basic skills consist of:

  • athletic stance
  • running–forward and backward
  • starting and stopping
  • change of direction
  • hopping, skipping, jumping
  • balance
  • pivoting
  • lunging and squatting
  • twisting
  • pushing and pulling

As you prepare for the upcoming season, consider stripping away the ball. Allow yourself and your players to focus on improving the form and function of the skills listed above. By extension, improving a player’s comfort level without the ball, will ultimately improve their ability with the ball. Many of you may already be incorporating these skills into warm-up activities, but consider extending these skills beyond the warm-up. It is important that these skills be adapted to the age group in question, but the goal is to formulate a solid baseline for your athletes. Here are a just a few activity examples:

Animal Walks

Focus: Use different muscles and body planes

  • Players start on one baseline
  • Choose an animal for players to imitate
  • Have one player demonstrate
  • Players move to the other baseline (or half court) imitating that animal
  • Choose different animals, and have players suggest their own
  • Horse (galloping/skipping)
  • Bear (walking on hands and feet)
  • Deer (bounding)
  • Stork (balancing on one feet, reaching down to the ground)
  • Kangaroo (hopping on two feet)
  • Crab (walking on hands and feet with belly up)
  • Frog (low squat jumps)
  • Caterpillar (walking out with hands then walking feet to hands, bending body at hips)

Memory Chain

Focus: Experiment with fundamental movements and improve focus

  • Distribute cones randomly throughout the gym
  • Have players start at one baseline
  • Depending on numbers, divide players into smaller groups for multiple games
  • The first player moves to a cone and performs some action, movement, or skill
  • The next player will repeat that action, move to a new cone to perform their own
  • The third player will repeat both actions, move to a new cone to perform their own
  • The game continues with each successive player
  • Jumping jacks
  • One-foot hops
  • Squat jumps
  • Burpees
  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • High knees
  • Butt kicks

As players get comfortable, include balls and dribbling moves or actions

Have players perform movements on their way to each cone (i.e. skips, lunges, etc.)

Ham, Chicken, and Cheese

Focus: Reaction and change of direction; Stopping and starting

  • Assign one baseline as “Ham”, the other as “Chicken”, and the center line as “Cheese”
  • Have players start at “Ham”
  • Call one line at a time; players will move to each line as it is called
  • Have players come to a complete stop (using stutter steps) and into ready position
  • Have players use different fundamental movements (not always running)
  • Running
  • Side shuffle
  • Skipping / hopping
  • Bear crawl
  • Back pedal
  • Carioca
  • Bounds
  • Crab walk
Variations: Add more lines (e.g. the free-throw lines) to increase the complexity

Use as a conditioning drill

Add basketballs to include dribbling

These suggestions are in no way a comprehensive list of activities and were written in conjunction with the SNYB Coaches Manual. More ideas and accompanying diagrams can be found in your Steve Nash Youth Basketball Coaches Manual. Variations of tag and relays are good starting places and easily incorporated into many practice formats. I encourage each of you to be creative when incorporating these skills. These are after all the FUNdametals. These are the movement patterns that each of your players will replicate in various ways and in various pursuits for their entire lives.

Good luck to everyone as you get back to school and back to the basics!

Source: Steve Nash Youth Basketball Blog
Subscribe to Email Newsletter
Share this article to...