If you’re introducing basketball to your six-year-old kid for the first time, or you’re just getting your feet wet in coaching by teaching kids basketball, kudos to you! It’s not easy for the kids this age to concentrate, listen, and do drills as they are being told. They will quickly get bored and complain about doing the same routine over and over again. Well, hopefully, that would change as we introduce you to several appropriate basketball drills for 6-year olds to spice up your practices.
What are Some of the Benefits of Basketball Drills for Kids?
For some who are just starting basketball, doing drills on basketball fundamentals is imperative. The fundamentals, or the basics, is the foundation for every basketball play, whether that’s shooting, dribbling, individual and team defense, and so on. Basketball’s best players have virtually perfected the fundamentals, opening up the game for them and making it much easier.
So what do the fundamentals include? Basketball fundamentals are consist of all those seemingly trivial things that make you better, at least in the long run. For instance, practicing the fundamentals of shooting will help an individual get better, no matter what play his team runs. The fundamentals of shooting include follow-through, arm angle, hand positioning, foot alignment, and so on.
In other words, basketball drills for 6-year olds and kids, in general, should focus on the fundamentals. This is critical for individual development, which, in turn, directly leads to team success.
Besides improving their basketball skills, doing basketball (including drills) significantly contributes to physical health and well-being.
What are the Basic Basketball Drills for 6-Year Olds?
At this age, their interest in basketball is only starting. The first goal of basic basketball drills for 6-year olds is to improve and elevate the kids’ desire and enthusiasm for the game. That means there is no point practicing three-man weaves at this stage. It’s not going to work. The more challenging and the more difficult the drills you run, the child could probably lose interest.
Here’s an interesting statistic: 7 of 10 kids quit organized sports by the time they are 13. Want to take a stab at why that’s the case? It’s because it’s no longer fun. The reason why they play in the first place, according to a study, is because the sport they choose it’s fun. If the fun is no longer there, then why play? It has to be fun for the kids to develop their love and interest in basketball.
Here are some basic basketball drills for 6-year olds to make practices fun:
1. Ball Around the Body
This is a warmup drill to develop the kids’ ball control and coordination. You may run this drill for five minutes, occasionally reminding the kids to raise their hands and head and not focus on the ball.
2. Spin the ball, catch, jump stop and pivot.
This is another basic warmup drill that teaches the kids proper footwork. Have you ever noticed how younger basketball players travel all the time? The “spin the ball, catch, jump stop and pivot” drill will remind them how they should position and move their feet while catching the ball.
3. The no-ball layup drill
The “no-ball layup” drill is straightforward yet teaches one of the most critical skills in basketball– coordination. The kids simply line up, jog, and jump on one foot while raising the opposite hand, mimicking a layup. It looks funny if you’re an adult, but make no mistake about it, this drill will greatly help kids’ motor skills.
4. One-hand wall pass
This drill works exactly as it sounds. Let the kids face a wall and flick short one-handed passes off of it. This mimics the passing motion and teaches the kids the proper passing technique using the wrist.
5. Rock, Paper, Scissors, Tag
We told you it should be fun, right? What could be more fun than integrating two of the timeless games that kids play? The kids pair up with their partners, do the rock, paper, scissors, and the loser will tag the winner. As simple as that sounds, it’s good as a warmup for the kids. It’s a terrific way to start things while burning off some energy.
How Do You Coach 6-Year Old Kids in Basketball?
Coaching needs a lot of patience, but when it comes to teaching basketball to 6-year olds, you’ll need boatloads of it. At this stage, you need to let your ego take a hit and switch your mindset. Your happiness and satisfaction do not hinge on winning but on seeing the kids develop their character and build their confidence.
Now, that does not mean you go into practice and let them run amok. To keep them engaged, you need to plan and prepare your practices. As the legendary coach John Wooden would say, he spends as much time planning practice as conducting it. That gives you an idea of how to run a basketball practice.
Planning the practices allows you to deal with unforeseen occurrences. What if the kids are having difficulty with one drill? What if your assistant is not around? Knowing exactly how to go about in practice shifts the focus on encouraging your young players instead of worrying about what you’re going to do next.
Here is another key in coaching 6-year olds: Be aware of their limitations. Drills should not be very long because kids have short attention spans. You also need to limit teaching points to just one or two (emphasizing passing). You also need to accept the fact that kids at this age are not strong enough to shoot. As long as you’re teaching them the motor skills so they can eventually shoot as soon as they can, that’s fine.
What are the Appropriate Drills for 6-Year Olds?
Basketball Dribbling: 9 Tips
1. In basketball, it is important to dribble the ball hard. It is called “pounding the ball,” and kids may learn that too with the drill called Two-ball Together. How do you do it? It’s precisely the way it sounds. Dribble the ball with two hands going from the middle of the basket and the charity line up until the free-throw line arc.
2. Another dribbling drill that prepares the kids for more advanced moves like the “in and out” and the “crossover” is called Two Ball Side to Side. Again, this is not rocket science. The child simply needs to dribble with two balls with a slight shift or sway from side to side instead of the ball’s usual up and down motion.
3. A very useful and simple dribbling drill that directly translates into a real game is Protect the Dribble. Teach the kids to pound the ball with one hand, put one foot forward, and then raise their arms across to defend the ball. The foot and a little bit of arm extension serve as a separation between the ballhandler and the defender.
Basketball Shooting: 9 Tips
For 6-year-olds, they need to learn the principles of stationary shooting first. There are nine things to watch out for about stationary shooting fundamentals. These are:
- Eyes locked on the target
- Proper stance and balance
- Line up from the shot pocket
- Proper grip
- Attention to the balance hand (non-shooting hand)
- Proper use of the legs to generate an upward force
- The gooseneck, or as basketball people call as “follow-through.”
That seems a lot, but all nine of these can be practiced in one smooth motion. The key here is repetition, and the goal is not perfection. It’s essential to follow the basic principles, but then again, it’s also critical to let their natural shooting form take over so they can be comfortable.
One shooting drill that could help develop basketball fundamentals is called the “one-hand shooting drill.” It is probably the most basic of all shooting drills and, thus, also the easiest. Simply make an L with your shooting hand and thrust the ball upward. The elbows should end up right over the eyes. Teach the kids to push with your fingers to develop a backspin on the shot.
The one-hand shooting drill has two variations. You can do a one-hand shooting drill against the wall and a one-hand shooting drill to the basket. All of these drills help develop the proper technique for shooting.
Basketball Passing: 3 Tips
The best basketball team functions as one, and there is one excellent way to accomplish this– passing. Still, passing is probably the most undertaught skill in basketball, and it’s probably because nobody emphasized its importance when the kids began playing basketball.
Here are some tips for basketball passing:
1. Teach a passing mentality. Reiterate that passing is not just something you do when you’re not open. Passing is all about getting a rhythm and making everyone happy and engaged.
2. Be patient. The kids’ recognition skills will only be honed through time and experience. It’s impossible to acquire it overnight.
3. Passing is fun. That’s one teaching point to repeat to the kids. We want them to have fun, and in basketball, the best way to have fun is to get everybody involved.
Two passing basketball drills for 6-year olds are the “one hand wall pass” and the “square passing.” The concept of the one hand wall pass is similar to the one-hand shooting drill, only that the kids repeatedly bounce the ball on the wall and back to their hand. Square passing requires more instruction and is probably best taught after being already comfortable in the one-hand wall pass.
Basketball Defense: 3 Tips
Defense is one of the last things to teach 6-year olds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start instilling defensive principles early. You can also make it fun and engaging! Here are some tips to make that possible:
- Drop verbal hints. How do you make the kids take on a defensive stance? Don’t confuse them with transitions. Instead, use verbal cues, such as “Scarecrow Arms,” to signal that they are meant to raise their hands and play defense.
- Do not force kids to multi-task. Kids are generally singular thinkers, and they’ll get confused if asked to do multiple things at once. So in teaching defense, keep your instructions simple. For example, if you ask them to hold a defensive posture, do not make them focus on other things, such as the player they’re supposed to be guarding.
- As much as possible, do not use the word “no.” A more encouraging way to say it is, “That’s alright, but you can do better.” If the kid does improve, do not hesitate to praise him or her.
How to Make Basketball Drills More Fun
1. Allow the kids as many repetitions as they would like.
2. Don’t make them watch; make them active participants.
3. Always come up with new drills to spice things up. If needed, discard the old, boring ones.
4. When coaching kids, avoid the dreaded three Ls– laps, lecture, and lines.
5. Make them compete against each other in contests.
6. Incorporate traditional games into the drills. You can integrate games such as “rock, paper, scissors” and tag as a warmup exercise. Another classic game that you can use is “Simon Says” or “hand signals.” All of these are a great way to introduce fun elements to basketball drills and practice.
7. Appreciate and commend them sincerely for jobs well done.
Helpful Basketball Drill Videos for Kids
1. What this video offers is simplicity while emphasizing fundamentals. Also included are drills that do not require a basket, which should help kids hone their craft anywhere they go.
Wrapping Things Up: Basketball Drills for 6-Year Olds
If a kid as young as six years old shows an interest in basketball, that is very commendable. As a parent or coach, your goal is to develop their interest more while improving their skills. One way to do that is by making sure that the basketball drills you do are always fun.
Well, to be honest, that’s not easy to do. You have to work doubly hard and be thrice as patient when coaching kids. Even so, when you focus on their development and character-building, the win-loss record is not as important anymore.
Included here in this article are some of the most simplistic and fun basketball drills for 6-year olds. Some drills focus on fundamentals, while some are a cross of traditional games and basketball drills. To keep the kids engaged, you have to get creative. Who knows? You may have a future professional basketball player in your hands. As long as you know how to run practice and emphasize fun basketball drills for beginners, their improvement is only a matter of time.