Only a handful of basketball players found success in the NBA after a late start in the sport. Most of them played basketball since childhood, probably sleeping alongside the spheroid. Like any other kid, the only for eight-year-olds to pursue something is if they had fun doing it. So, what are some basketball drills for 8-year-olds that are sure to get them hooked? Let’s find out.
How Do You Teach Kids to Play Basketball?
On average, the attention span of an eight-year-old is no more than 24 minutes. That’s more than enough time to teach them the basics of basketball one session at a time. But then again, if they’re not enjoying what they’re doing, their minds could wander easily and never come back. So, how do you teach kids to play basketball?
Well, the best way to pick up basketball skills is through drills and practice. When it comes to young kids, the real challenge is to make these drills fun and enjoyable. You would indeed have their full attention when they have a good time doing what you told them to do.
Making kids enjoy basketball should not be that difficult. Basketball is a fun game in itself that includes activities and movements that are inherently liked by kids. What kid wouldn’t want to run around all day bounce balls and be with his peers? It is undoubtedly not that hard to make kids fall in love with basketball.
Another secret in teaching kids how to play basketball is doing fun basketball drills for beginners. Make the instructions simple and show them the correct way to pass, shoot, defend, etc. When the kids readily understand what you want them to do, they will acquire the will to improve. What’s more, they probably don’t like being yelled at as much as adults do. It’s essential to practice the fundamentals, but don’t forget to keep it fun and simple.
How to Coach 8 Year Old Basketball Players
Simple, enjoyable drills may teach youngsters a lot. The secret is not to let them feel any pressure and perhaps help them learn by connecting your teaching methods to things they are already familiar with. For example, you may want to emphasize that it’s just like “tag” but without the actual “tagging” part when teaching defense. For a coach parent, the idea is to capitalize on what their children already know and then expand on it with basic coaching techniques.
Here are some basic coaching tips for youth basketball:
- Kids love to be on the move, so always go for fast-paced drills.
- Measure them by their own improvements and not in comparison with their peers.
- Modify “bland” drills to make them more fun.
- Be positive and impart confidence.
- Let the kids make mistakes and allow them to learn from these errors.
- Set them up for success. Do not make them go through drills that are way beyond their skill level.
- At this stage, skill improvement is more important than winning.
- Let them rest.
- Teach the fundamentals.
3 Fun Basketball Games for 8-Year Olds
Sometimes, you want to veer against the traditional 5-on-5 game or drills to mix things up. What better way to do it than play fun basketball games! Most of these games can be played by kids regardless of skill level and experience, so here they are:
1. Around the World
“Around the World” has many variations, but the concept is the same. The player must make a layup, a shot between the free-throw line and the basket, a free throw, a 20-footer, and a three-pointer, all in succession.
For more skilled players, once you miss a shot, you go back to the first shot, which is the layup. Realistically, though, you could allow the kids to stay where they missed the shot to make the game quicker.
2. Monkey in the Middle
This game involves three players, two “teammates,” and a defender. The teammates’ goal is to pass the ball to each other without getting stolen by the defender. If the defender catches the ball, the player who tossed the ball before being grabbed becomes the monkey in the middle.
3. Sharks and Minnows
Sharks and Minnows is one of the most common games played in youth basketball. The objective of the “Minnows” is to control and handle the ball without getting stolen or tapped loose by “Sharks.”
Here is how the game is played:
- Choose two players to play as sharks. The remaining players will all be minnows.
- The sharks are positioned at one end of the court. Since they are basically the defenders, they are without a ball.
- The minnows form a line facing the sharks on the opposite end of the court. Each minnow is equipped with a ball.
- The goal of the game is for the minnows to dribble the ball from one end to the other without the sharks stealing or knocking it out. The sharks are attempting to eliminate as many minnows as possible.
- Each minnow that loses a ball transforms into a shark in the next round.
- The winner is the first minnow to reach the other end without losing the ball.
11 Effective Basketball Drills for 8-Year Olds
Shooting Drills for 8-Year Olds
Shooting Form Drill (Individual)
This drill aims to let them have a feel of how a ball should roll off the fingertips. You may not use a basket at first, although you could if you see the benefit.
a.) Hold their shooting arm in the upright firing position, with the palm pointing upward and the arm in front of their face.
b.) Place the ball in their shooting hand and lightly place their other hand on the ball’s side.
c.) Encourage them to use their wrist and fingertips to push the ball straight up. After then, catch the ball and repeat steps 1 through 3 as needed.
d.) Once they’ve managed to get the ball rolling upward, have them attempt spinning it with their fingertips.
e.) Go for at least three sets of 10 reps each.
Shooting Form Drill (With a Partner)
This drill has the same concept as the first one, but they’ll do it in pairs this time. Instead of shooting the ball straight up, they are now aiming to shoot the ball towards their partner. The partner also does the same. This will help them develop a proper arc on the shot and shooting mechanics.
Passing Drills for 8-Year Olds
Any wall-passing drill is a great way to improve hand-eye coordination and passing strength. The two most basic 8-year old basketball drills for passing are the overhead wall passing drill and the one-hand wall passing drill.
Here’s how to do it:
a.) Have the kids face the wall, knees bent for added strength on the pass.
b.) Hold the ball with two hands above the head (hence the name) and pass it to the wall to the proper degree.
c.) Catch the ball as it bounces back.
d.) Go for 25 reps.
The one-hand wall passing drill follows the same procedure but only uses it with one hand. Usually, the player starts with his strong hand and if they’re good enough at it, they may also start doing this drill with their off-hand.
Passing with a Partner
This drill is as simple as it sounds. Partner up the kids and put them at least eight feet apart. As the coach, you can choose the type of pass they must do and execute them as they hear the instruction. The chest pass and bounce pass make the most sense for kids at this stage of their learning. You may choose to lengthen or shorten the distance depending on their strength and development.
Dribbling Drills for 8-Year Olds
The Gates Dribbling exercise is not only a terrific way to help the kids practice ballhandling but also changing direction. Put up “gates” with two cones all over the half-court. Ideally, you must have twice as many “gates” as players.
On your count and on a specific time, let the kids go over as many “gates” as they can and let them keep count. After the allotted time, ask them how many “gates” have they gotten through. This is to keep them engaged all throughout the exercise. When they finish, encourage them to beat their own record in the next round.
One Hand Dribbling
The key goal is to become as comfortable as possible with dribbling the basketball and to begin using both hands right away so that they may become a strong dribbler with either.
To begin the drill, the player’s left hand should be placed behind their back. Afterward, instruct them to dribble with their right. Assist them in getting into a solid rhythm and try to bounce the ball as smoothly as they can.
They should not allow the ball to bounce higher than their waist. After they’ve gained control of the ball, have them attempt dribbling it around. To their right, then back to the front, and then to the left a little.
Defense Drills for 8-Year Olds
This drill will get them started on the footwork required to play defense. Encourage them to take a defensive stance with their knees bent and a quarter squat. Instruct them to raise their hands with their arms spread. Allow them to take a stride to the right with their right foot, dragging their left foot behind them. Repeat up to four times and do the same procedure with the left foot.
Defense is all about reaction and anticipation, and this drill covers both. This is one of the better fun basketball drills for beginners to improve agility, quickness, and defensive ability. Begin by forming pairs with one player assuming a firm defensive posture. Another player or your coach should stand in front of you and offer you hand signals to reply to.
When the coach says “Down,” touch the floor with both hands. “Up” means putting two hands in the air. “Right” and “left” warrants a defensive slide in either direction.
Offense Drills for 8-Year Olds
Pass and Move Drill
This is an essential practice that helps you improve your overall offensive attacks while also working on passing.
In this drill, your team will run the offense without any shots or defense. This is a great approach to practice passing while developing your offense, spacing, cutting skills, and screening principles.
The drill begins with a simple pass and cut variation with 5 players on specific spots. The idea is to cut, do ball reversals, and be aware of filling the spots left by your teammates.
Helpful Basketball Drill Videos for Kids
This video contains 10 drills/games that kids are sure to enjoy. It incorporates basketball and other games like tag, jumping jacks, and more.
Defense is one of the most underappreciated facets of basketball. That is why if you want the kids to appreciate defense, then make them undergo defensive basketball drills for 8-year olds. This video contains 10 of these drills, so you can simply select what works best for your team, depending on their skill level.
Wrapping Things Up: Basketball Drills for 8-Year Olds
Coaching kids basketball is a different kind of beast altogether. You have the privilege of shaping up their skills and instilling a love for the game in them. That’s not always easy to do. With that being said, it’s always important that you make it fun for them as they learn.
How do you exactly do that? Well, since this is basketball, you can start by introducing them to basketball drills for 8-year olds. These exercises do not need to be complicated; in fact, these only involve movements that should introduce them to the basics of the game. Examples of these are dribbling, passing, and shooting mechanics. As a coach, it’s up to you to tailor the drills and games in this article so that the kids learn to enjoy basketball as they should.
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.
You might also be interested in our posts about: