Starting to learn basketball early is an advantage, but the challenging part is to keep kids as young as 5 years old engaged and interested. Parents and coaches who want that type of immersion from the kids should follow the basketball drills for 5-year olds in this article. It will also include concepts about how to teach basketball lessons to 5-year olds. Speaking of, let’s get right into it.
How Do You Explain Basketball to a Child?
Basketball, as in any other sport, has a technical side. But technicalities and kids do not go hand-in-hand, so how do you explain basketball rules to kids? Just make it as simple as you can. They don’t need to know everything all at once; that’s why bringing them along slowly is the best approach. Here are some fundamental rules of basketball that you can explain to a child.
- Out of bounds. The basketball court is rectangular in shape, and every time you step outside the lines, that’s called “out of bounds,” and it’s illegal. The ball is thrown from out of bounds to begin a play, but once it’s in play, you can’t step or go over those lines. If you don’t have the ball, though, you can go over the lines without penalties.
- Dribbling. Dribbling is the only legal way to move around with a basketball. You dribble by bouncing the ball up and down with one hand. Once you picked up the ball, you either have to pass or shoot it. If you dribble it again, the other team gets the ball.
- Traveling. If you are caught running with the ball or taking three steps without dribbling, that is called a “traveling violation.”
- Shooting. To score is to get the ball through the basket. Any shot that goes in from inside the three-point arc is two points. Anything beyond that arc is scored three points. If you are fouled and gets to shoot from the free-throw line, one point is awarded for every made shot.
- Fouls. You don’t trip, shove, and hit other players. Otherwise, it’s called a foul. Making contact with the player with the ball is also a foul.
- Teams. Teams are made up of five players each. The one with the ball is called the offensive team, while the other plays defense. The defensive team prevents the offensive team from scoring.
All of these rules are an excellent way to start kids off in basketball. Also, point out that while a classic basketball game is played 5-on-5, it can also be played 1-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-3, and 4-on-4.
How Do You Teach a 5-Year-Old to Play Basketball?
In teaching kids basketball, especially 5-year olds, you have to get creative. The stuff that works for the older kids won’t likely work with children these young. So, how do you exactly do that? There really are no definite rules, and it may take a little experimenting here and there on what works and what doesn’t.
There are vital things to remember when teaching 5-year old kids to play basketball. Keep the drills short and fast-paced so that they don’t lose interest while focusing on the basics. The basics allow the kids to develop strength and coordination, which they pretty much don’t have yet at their ages.
Speaking of the basics, in the drills, focus on catching, passing, dribbling, and shooting. It’s good to let them know the rules, but if you let them play in an actual game, don’t call as you would older kids or higher basketball levels.
All of these are a great start when it comes to teaching 5-year olds basketball. Don’t forget to hand out high-fives or encouraging words to keep them going. Celebrate every little accomplishment and make a difference in their lives through a sport that we all love.
How to Teach a 5-Year Old to Dribble a Basketball
Teaching a child to dribble a basketball is a process. Don’t expect them to be a dribbling sensation overnight. That’s why patience is always the key to teaching children basketball.
As a coach or parent, you need to understand your objectives. The objective, again, is not to fast-track development but to bring the kids along slowly. Most important of all, you need to understand introductory dribbling techniques, how to keep it simple, and how to make the learning process fun.
However, there is a fine line between over-teaching and letting the kids do the work. The former can sap out the fun sometimes while the latter keeps them engaged and their minds occupied. For example, instead of showing them how to dribble, why not ask them what they think dribbling is and let them show it to you? That way, the kids will think independently, so their focus shifts on the task at hand.
Now, expect the child to struggle with the actual dribbling process. That’s fine. However, don’t miss out on other learning opportunities. There is more to dribbling than just pounding the ball up and down. Ball security and ball positioning, for example, is a pathway to basketball’s more expansive skills. Getting ball security and ball positioning down to pat over the actual dribbling is a better approach when teaching 5-year old kids to dribble a basketball.
What Basketball Size is Best for 5-Year Olds?
Kids must use the right basketball size. More often than not, we see the young players use the wrong basketball in practices, pick-up games, and practices. That’s probably why we see goofy-looking shots like Lonzo and Lamelo Ball’s.
The best-recommended basketball size for five-year-olds is a 10-ounce, 22-inch basketball, otherwise known as a Size 3. In comparison, the regulation size 7 that professionals use is 22 ounces in weight and has a circumference of 29.5 inches. Imagine if you let a child, much less a 5-year-old, practice dribbling and shooting with a size 7. Imagine what that would do to his shooting techniques!
The extra weight (which is actually twice as much) makes it practically inconceivable for 5-year-old kids to develop the proper shooting technique. Some may shoot with a slingshot motion, a jerky motion, or some twisting movement. Habits like that tend to stick to kids and absolutely difficult to break. Again, if you don’t believe what we’re saying, just look at Lonzo and Lamelo Ball’s weird shooting forms.
We have written an article that details the correct basketballs the size and weight here.
5 Fun Basketball Drills for 5-Year Olds
All of these are fun basketball drills for beginners and something that you can do at home.
1. The Tennis Ball Drill. You may also use other balls but make sure it’s a small ball. Throw or roll the tennis ball out into the court, let them run to it, and give the ball back to you as quickly as you can. This helps teach useful basketball attributes like agility and speed. The key to the tennis ball drill is to encourage the child to go as hard he or she can. Put up at least ten repetitions before calling a stop.
2. Stationary Dribbling. In the first stage of dribbling drills, teach the kids to dribble the basketball with one hand. The other hand also gets the same reps as the first one. You can just call out “Switch” so that the kid does a mini-crossover and switch from one hand to the other.
3. Partner Passing. We always say that passing is the most under-taught skill in basketball. This is a great way to teach this fantastic skill early to kids. To do partner passing, just stand 10 feet away from your child. Demonstrate the basic passes (chest, bounce, and overhead) and do 10 repetitions for each.
4. Tennis Ball Shooting. It’s good to use tennis balls because it fits well in a kid’s hand. What you’re going to do here is line up five cones or draw five spots and put a storage bin a few feet away from the first one. Let the child shoot the tennis ball to the storage bin from the first cone or spot five times. If he misses the majority of the shots, offer tips and feedback. If he makes them, move to the other cone or spot.
5. Dribbling on the move. This is the natural progression from the stationary dribbling. Just let the kid dribble the ball up and back the driveway or up and down the court. Have them do perhaps five laps with the right hand and another five laps with the left hand.
Helpful Basketball Drill Videos for Kids
1. We know this drill is a little bit on the extreme side, and we are emphasizing teaching kids with a slow and patient approach. However, it doesn’t hurt to show them something difficult every now and then as motivation. This video will definitely strike as stimulating, like watching a Rocky Balboa movie.
3. This video stands out because it has both a male (Kevin) and a female kid (Gee) doing drills. The moves they were doing are a little bit advanced, video number 2 contains the more basic ones, but then again, we don’t think we have found cuter motivations.
Wrapping Things Up: Basketball Drills for 5-Year Olds
Teaching basketball to five-year-old kids? Isn’t that a crazy notion? From a coaching and parenting standpoint, teaching kids something as complicated and diverse as basketball skills is challenging.
First, you need to explain to them the rules of basketball in a way that they would understand. The key is to hold yourself back from teaching them everything and only teach them the most basic things. Examples of these are the rules on traveling, out of bounds, team compositions, fouls, and scoring. Slowly bring them along with other rules as they progress.
Second, it’s important not to expect too much from them. Kyrie Irving did not ghetto be a ballhandling savant overnight, so neither is your kid. Another thing to keep in mind is to let them make mistakes, but do not pass up opportunities to teach them. For example, in dribbling, they will mess up most of the time, but you can teach them other skills associated with dribbling, such as ball protection and positioning.
For kindergarten basketball drills and exercises, it’s best to use a size 3 basketball. It will help them develop proper shooting techniques, unlike a ball twice the size. It’s also essential to introduce them to fun basketball drills for beginners, such as the tennis ball drill, partner passing, and stationary dribbling.
Last but not least just remember to experiment with what works and what doesn’t. What might be fun for other kids may be boring for others. With that being said, we are confident that these basketball drills for 5-year olds will put you on the right track in teaching your kids to develop fundamental basketball skills.
Did you find this post helpful? Then you may also like our basketball drills for 6-year olds post here.
We also answer other frequently answered questions on basketball here.