Top 10 Youth Basketball Drills

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Youth Basketball shooting and dribbling drills

Written By Lamar Hull @ Google+

youth basketball drills

When it comes to a game as fast paced as basketball, even a slight edge can bring the game into your favor. I know that I needed a slight edge every chance I could get because I’m not very tall.

So, my brother (Eric) and I practiced everyday for about 2 hours! We wanted to be unstoppable

Also, if you are a coach or you are trying to teach younger children for the first time, you must have precise and useful youth basketball drills for the players to do consistently to be able to develop their basketball fundamentals and skills. Finding the proper basketball exercises and drills to getting better at the game of basketball can be very difficult when first starting out on the court.

When teaching players that are on the court for the first, or when stepping out onto the court yourself, there are a handful of fun basketball drills that are sure to give you the right kind of exercise to up your game.

Here are some beginner basketball drills that I use when I teach young kids how to play the game of basketball. I will also say that these are my top 10 youth basketball drills that I use to improve a player’s basketball skills and performance. FYI…A lot of these basketball drills are to enhance quickness and agility.

#1 – Tennis Ball Basketball Drill

Step 1. To begin, the coach will hold a tennis ball in each hand with arms fully extended at the foul line while the players are lined in a single-file line, two feet from the baseline.

Step 2. The first player at the start of the line stands in a ready position on his/her toes, and when the coach drops one of the balls, the player at the start of the line is expected to run forward to grab the ball before the second bounce and stop immediately after the ball is caught.

Step 3. Then coach decides whether to use the second ball as well by tossing it out in front of the player, or to send the player back and ready for the second in the line.

Specific Notes

  • The drill is to be performed one player at a time, and a single time to twice in a row at the coach’s discretion.
  • The goal of this drill is to increase explosiveness, speed, body control, and eye coordination.
  • Coach – keep the player guessing by varying which side you drop the tennis ball.

tennis ball basketball drill

Tennis Ball Drop Basketball Drill Video


#2 – Shell Defense Drill

Step 1. To set up this drill, four players will stand spaced out around the three-point line, and three players will stand with two on each block and one at the center foul line to make your triangle.

Step 2. The four outer players pass the ball to one another as the players in the triangle tries to guard them, the outer players pass and keep ball until the coach tells a player to attempt a shot.

The players in the triangle defense have to communicate so that they can properly defend the four offensive players.

Specific Notes

  • The drill is performed with seven players.
  • The goal of the drill is to teach the triangle defense how to properly guard when at a disadvantage, player-to-player communication, boxing out, rebounding and how to steal the ball.
  • Have the triangle defense to not allow the offensive players to go middle.
  • Teach the offensive players to pass properly around the perimeter.
  • Have the offensive players move around the perimeter to confuse the defense.
  • Defensive players, don’t let the offensive group score!

defensive shell basketball drill

#3 – 3 Man Basketball Drill

Step 1. Three players are lined up at the foul line in single file line.

Step 2. The first player is given the ball and is to throw the basketball off of the backboard and then run down the right side of the court.

Step 3. The second basketball player in the line tip rebounds and also bounces the ball off the backboard, then runs down the left side of the court.

Step 4. The third player in the line rebounds the basketball, pivots and turns to face down the court, and makes a chest pass to the second player that ran left, as the first player also continues down the court.

Step 5. The second player passes across the basketball across the court to the first player that ran right, the first player should be close to the basket on the opposite side of the court by then, and can attempt a lay-up to end the drill.

Specific Notes

  • The drill is to be performed at least three times while alternating the order of the three players.
  • The goal of this drill is to teach rebounding and fast-break passing (sharp hard, chest passing)
  • When the players are rebounding and passing to each other, this drill has to be done quickly. Imagine that your team got a rebound and you were trying to get down the court before the defense could set up.

backboard basketball drill

#4 – One on One Basketball Drill

Step 1. The coach stands under the basket, with one player on each side.

Step 2. The coach rolls the ball forward and both players make a run for the ball after a second of waiting.

Step 3. The first player to get the ball is on offense and the other is defense. The offensive player has only three dribbles to attempt to score.

The offensive player has to square up into triple threat, and the defense has to stop the offensive player without fouling.

Specific Notes

  • The drill is to be performed four times with each player playing offense and defense twice. You may want to have them do this more than 4 times, the more 1 on 1 basketball the better!
  • The goal of this drill is to teach proper hustle for loose balls, how to square up properly, and how to use the least amount of dribbles to score.
  • For the defensive player, is to teach proper positioning and to guard without fouling.
  • One on one basketball helps players to learn how to create their own shots.

one on one basketball drill

#5 – improve basketball explosiveness

Step 1. The coach takes a six foot or longer rope and ties a weight to one end while holding the other end up to his/her chest.

Step 2. The players jump over the rope from a flat-footed position, starting at the lowest point and working their way up the height of the rope where they are not able to jump over it anymore.

Specific Notes

  • Keep feet flat on the ground with each jump and jump as high as you can.
  • The drill is to be performed by each player once, with a handful of repeats through the whole team at the coach’s discretion.
  • The goal of this drill is to develop explosive jumping skills and to teach proper landing.
  • If you are not dunking yet, get your first dunk!

rope basketball drill

#6 – Basketball Agility Drill

Step 1. A single player stands in the center of the paint.

Step 2. The player runs and touches the lane line then back to touch the other lane line, then back again as fast as possible.

  • The goal of this drill is to teach quick changes in direction, and explosive take off.
  • Teaches basketball speed and agility.
  • Teaches defense.
  • Head and chest up, back straight, knees bent and arms out.

basketball lane agility drill

Basketball Lane Agility Drill Video

#7 – Basketball Floater Drill

Step 1. The player holds the ball only in primary hand while standing near the block next to the basket and shoots a one handed floater while the coach stands under the basket and passes back to the player.

Step 2. The player should shoot 20 floaters from both blocks and right in front of the rim.

defensive shell basketball drill


Learn How to Shoot the Basketball Floater Video

#8 – Balance Basketball DRILL

Step 1. The player goes into a lunge position while holding the basketball out in front of him/her as far as he/she can reach.

Step 2. Another player or coach will push the ball left, right, up, and down while the player is holding the ball in the lunge position.

Specific Notes

  • The drill is to be preformed until the player holding the lunge position loses it.
  • The goal of this drill to increase balance and strengthen core muscles.

defensive shell basketball drill

#9 – basketball cone drill

Step 1. Five cones are set up over the paint: one in the center of the foul line, two at the high posts, and two at the low blocks. The cones are marked A-E.

Step 2. A player stands in the center of the cones, while the coach calls out corresponding letters. The player has to run to the cone and then back to the starting position, then to the next called cone, etc.

Specific Notes

  • This goal of the drill is to teach quickness, precise movements, and change of direction (COD).

one on one basketball drill

#10 – Quick Release Basketball Shooting Drill

Step 1. The player starts right below the three point line, while the coach stands on the block.

Step 2. The player steps in to the pass, the coach passes the ball to the player, the player catches the ball as takes a quick shot.

Specific Notes

  • The player should take 50 shots from the top of the key.
  • The goal of the drill is to teach the player balance and precise shooting under conditions that they wouldn’t be used to.
  • The player should be in a down position ready to receive the pass.
  • The player should have his/her hands ready and knees bent.
  • Shoot the basketball all in one motion.

one on one basketball drill


I hope you enjoyed these youth basketball drills and will go try them out by yourself or with your teammates. I purposely didn’t put a lot of shooting or dribbling drills in my top 10 as I wanted to focus on other aspects of the game.

Don’t worry, there will be more to come with other top 10 list to help you improve your game…stay tuned!

Thanks for reading and please share with others! Oh yea, if you would like to purchase my book, “The Beginner’s Guide to Become a Better a Basketball Player, click here. It is only $9.99 and has a Monday-Friday workout and much more.

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