Basketball is best learned early. And when teaching basketball to kids, it’s just not about learning. It’s also vital that they are having fun while developing basketball skills at the same time. Truth be told, teaching 9-year olds about the basics of basketball presents a different kind of a challenge. This article will show you the best basketball drills for 9-year olds to teach the nuances of the game to the youngsters.
How Do You Coach a 9-Year Old in Basketball?
The best way to coach kids as young as nine years old is to take a trip down memory lane. What does that mean? It means that it takes more than just talking to them about the Xs and Os of the game. It would be better if you take a step back and ask yourself, “When I’m at their age, how would I want to learn about basketball?”
Sure, some kids already grasp the concept of improvement and need to be better. But on the other hand, kids will always be kids. They probably don’t like to get yelled at, and they mainly want to run around, pass, and shoot. Practicing the basics is a must, but remember to always put the “fun” in “fundamentals.”
What fundamentals should you focus on? You should practice layups, basic footwork, shooting mechanics, dribbling, and passing. Other things that you can teach are basic cuts, basic offensive philosophies, how to get open, and basic defensive principles.
What are Good Basketball Drills for Beginners?
At this stage, the best way to go is to keep the drills simple with clear goals and instructions. Remember, these drills need to be fun because that will (hopefully) instill a lifelong passion for basketball. If possible, include drills that work on multiple skills simultaneously. Include a routine that collectively improves ballhandling, finishing, and footwork.
For a team of beginners, sometimes you may want to do drills without defenders. This is a proven tactic to instill principles on shooting, footwork, and other skills. As their skills advance, it would also be crucial to their development to include drills with defenders or alternate the drills with or without.
As a coach, your job is to tailor the drills to the type of team you have. Therefore, feel free to improvise any of the drills as you see fit. The tricky part is achieving the balance of motivation and feeling good. You don’t want the exercises to be too complicated that they might lose interest or too easy that they don’t improve.
Some fun basketball drills for beginners are home run (ballhandling and shooting) and All-Star shootout (shooting from different spots like the 3-pt shootout).
How Do 9-Year Olds Practice Basketball?
If you are coaching kids around nine years old or even younger, how do you want them to practice basketball? Again, “fun” in “fundamentals.” When practicing basketball at that age, make sure that they have fun while learning the basics, or fundamentals.
What’s good about basketball is it already has the elements of a fun game for kids. For example, kids love to run, jump and chase things around and those types of movements come in handy in basketball.
For instance, kids love bouncing things around, but the challenge is to help them bounce or “dribble” a ball under controlled conditions. Then, as soon as they can dribble the ball with one hand, they can now run and move around with it.
When practicing basketball, coaches should also note incorporating drills that develop the children’s gross motor skills. Aside from running and jumping, gross motor skills include lateral movement, running backward, getting back up after falling down, etc. Sometimes, learning these movements is more important for younger players at this age. These skills are also needed in other sports, so they could easily branch out to other games outside of basketball.
Effective Basketball Drills for 9-Year Olds
Shooting Drills for 9-Year Olds
The 1-Hand Form Shooting Drill
Nine-year-old kids are not strong enough to shoot a basketball as older players would, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be acquainted with the proper shooting mechanics. The 1-Hand Form Shooting Drills is the best way to introduce this concept.
This shooting drill is as easy as it sounds. Grab the ball and put it in the shooting hand, whether that’s the left or right hand, making an L with it. Make a shooting upwards motion as the ball rolls into the fingertips with the feet shoulder-width apart. This drill allows the player to have a proper backspin on the ball.
The All-Star shootout is like the 3-pt contest during the NBA All-Star weekend, only with a twist. This drill should be made up of two teams, lining up on opposite baselines. The coaches put 6-8 cones in different locations.
The objective of the drill is simple. The players go to a location on the coach’s signal and take a shot. If he makes it, the player takes the cone and brings it back to their line. On a miss, the player grabs the ball back and returns to the line (without the cone, of course). The first team to collect all cones wins.
Passing Drills for 9-Year Olds
As the name suggests, pair up the kids and set them about eight feet apart. Have them pass the ball between each other while ensuring that they’re doing it correctly. Teach them to step toward their partner and pass the ball. The coach may choose what type of pass they should make. He also has the option to move the partners further apart.
No Dribble Offense
With this drill, the player improves their overall offensive IQ, including passing and cutting. To complete the setup, take nine players from the team, five on offense and four on defense.
The goal is straightforward. The offense must make a basket without dribbling. The other players other than the ballhandler are free to cut to open spaces. Of course, it’s the defense’s job to stop a score. This teaches the offense to move without the ball and make accurate passes.
Dribbling Drills for 9-Year Olds
Maravich Dribbling Drills
The beauty of dribbling drills is that the players can do it at home. The Maravich Dribbling Drills are no different, and it is one of the best basketball drills for beginners at home. This stationary dribbling drill is named after NBA legend Pete Maravich, a player known for his excellent ballhandling skills.
To begin, the player must ball slaps, fingertips, ball circles, ball wraps, figure eights, front to back toss, and other maneuvers. Of course, a beginner could understandably do the first few exercises as the ball slaps to ball circles. They can raise the bar and do the other complex stuff as they get comfortable handling the ball.
The dribble pick-up drill is the precursor to the crossover. Get this drill down to pat, and you are on your way to having a mean and tight crossover dribble. And the best part is, it’s really simple!
To begin this drill, do a pound dribble with one hand, cross it over to the other hand, and pick the ball up. Repeat this process 10 times until you get the hang of it.
Defense Drills for 9-Year Olds
Defensive Slide Drill
Defense in basketball is all about lateral movement, and this drill is the best way to drive home that point to the youngsters. To teach the defensive slide, have the kids on a low and wide stance. This makes it a lot easier for them to move in either direction, depending on where the offense goes. Another key is the slide is actually done by “pushing” off the leg so you can get to the spot quicker than the offense.
Three-touch defensive drill
This is a high-octane defensive drill, especially if the kids take it seriously. The three-touch defensive drill instills energy, effort, and overall defensive motor.
To start, have five cones planted on different areas outside the three-point line. The player stays inside the lane, assuming a defensive stance and doing the foot fire. As the coach points to a spot, the player sprints to that location then runs back to the center of the lane. The coach points to another location, and the player goes off sprinting and back again to the lane.
Offense Drills for 9-Year Olds
Ball Reversal Drill
Ball reversal is when the offensive team passes from one side of the floor to the other. It is a key ingredient to a successful offense, and this drill should teach that concept to the kids.
In this drill, the players play four vs. four. The rule is that they must reverse the ball to shoot a jump shot only after three ball reversals. This encourages the offense to be the aggressor and look for easy opportunities.
No Dribble Advancement
The No Dribble Advancement Drill is the simpler version of the “full-court no dribble drill.” Instead of going full court, the kids just have to advance the ball from one baseline to the other in half-court.
In most of these drills, the offense gets the numbers advantage. For example, you can run this drill with four guys on offense and two on defense. The rule is that the player with the ball cannot dribble, but he can pass and pivot. The two defensive players try to steal the pass. The other offensive players can set screens and move.
Whatever your point of emphasis is, this drill teaches movement without the ball, decision-making, how to get open, and other offensive philosophies.
Helpful Basketball Drill Videos for Kids
1. Team Basketball Drills
Team basketball is not only the right way to play basketball, but it also accelerates learning the fundamentals. As soon as the kids master the basics, they can go further and maybe even freelance a little bit on some possessions.
This video introduces drills that inculcate team basketball concepts. Doing these drills will improve communication, passing, and overall basketball IQ.
2. Basketball Dribbling Drills
This video contains simple basketball dribbling drills for 9-year olds. The dribbling drills here encourage the youngsters to be proficient dribblers with both hands.
3. Developing Overall Basketball Skills
The best part about this video includes youth drills for ball handling, layups, and combinations. When the kids are already advancing in skills, be sure to have some type of defense in these drills to simulate real game situations.
Wrapping Things Up: Basketball Drills for 9-Year Olds
Playing basketball early (or any other sport for that matter) helps in a child’s motor development. It teaches them motor skills like jumping, lateral movement, running, etc. if you’re a coach or have a nine-year-old kid trying to learn basketball, it is imperative to expose them to fun basketball drills for 9-year olds.
“Fun” should be an integral part of all of this. Kids as young as nine years old gravitate towards basketball because they want to enjoy it. Therefore, when doing basketball drills for 9-year olds, it must improve their skills while bringing smiles to their faces.
Also, when coaching nine-year-olds, the emphasis must be on the fundamentals. These are shooting, dribbling, passing, defense, and offense. Of course, because you’re trying to teach them the basics, you must align your objective with their skills. Begin with the most simple drills for the beginners and work their way up as their skills increase.
When doing basketball drills for 9-year olds, do not be too harsh and don’t dumb them down. Yes, mistakes must be pointed out, but do so in a positive manner. As a coach, you exert a powerful influence in their lives, so make the most of it. Uplift and do someone’s heart good!
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.
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