We all got to start somewhere, and in basketball, that means shaky shooting mechanics, sloppy ball-handling, and lack of understanding of fundamental principles. Now, when you’re dealing with basketball beginners, reiterating the basics is of utmost importance. It’s like you’re building a house– you got to ensure that the foundation is durable. To help you achieve this, a comprehensive list of basketball drills for beginners should be in the offing.
Before all that, let’s know more about the basic skills of basketball and why each skill is important.
What are the Fundamental Skills in Basketball?
The five fundamental skills in basketball are dribbling (ballhandling), shooting, passing, rebounding, and defense. These five basic skills can further be broken down into more types, but in the most fundamental sense, these five entail the skills you must have to start playing basketball.
As a beginner, you must practice all of the drills that help you improve each basic skill. Of course, it’s not realistic that you excel in all aspects, but it will give you a deeper understanding of what you need to do.
Do you know why each basic skill is essential? Here is an overview of the five fundamental skills:
- Dribbling. This is the only legal way to move or run when you have the basketball. Dribbling allows you to maneuver past defenders and set the table for your teammates. That being said, it requires proper ball control and should be done skillfully with both hands.
- Shooting. Shooting the basketball is required to score points. To put the ball through the hoop, you need to develop proper shooting mechanics. Proper mechanics require precision, correct arm extension, and leg lift. There are also different types of shots that you need to master, among them layups, jump shots, floaters, and free throws. To develop your shooting, you may do basketball shooting drills for beginners at home.
- Passing. Passing is another offensive skill that every basketball beginner must learn. Knowing how and when to pass is often the difference between scoring and not scoring. When you know how to pass to open teammates, it creates an offensive rhythm and chemistry, two things that are constants on winning teams.
- Rebounding. In basketball, it is often said that whoever controls the rebounds controls the game. Rebounding is a product of masterful positioning, jumping, and timing. It also helps you develop a “workhorse” mentality and to want the ball more than your opponents.
- Defense. Defense is the less glamorous part of the game but just as important nonetheless. It involves stopping your opponents from scoring, either by stealing or blocking. More often than not, defense is all about sliding your feet and anticipating what the offense does. There is a reason why the best basketball minds say ‘defense wins championships.’
What are the Basic Basketball Drills for Beginners?
As mentioned above, the best basketball drills for beginners help improve basic skills. Developing these fundamental skills helps young basketball players be effective no matter what system the coach implements.
From there, the basketball drills should be done in a progressive and logical manner. On top of that, since you are probably dealing with kids, you must choose fun basketball drills to keep them engaged and interested.
15 Best Basketball Drills for Beginners
Dribbling Drills for Beginners
1. Full Body Wraps
Dribbling is all about the feel for the ball and finger pad control. Without these two, you’d suck at dribbling. The best way to develop feel and control is doing full-body wraps. It is also a fantastic warmup for the wrists, shoulders, and forearms.
How to do full-body wraps:
- Wrap the ball around the head twice, followed by wraps around the body, and the legs.
- Two wraps from the head to the legs is considered one repetition.
- Repeat 10 times.
2. Pound it Out Dribbles
What you want to do in this drill is to dribble the ball as hard as you can below the knee for 30 seconds. After that low pound dribbles, do another 30 seconds doing pound dribbles slightly above the knee. For most beginners, these two different levels of pound dribbles should be enough. You can add a third level for more skilled players by doing pound dribbles that bounce around the shoulder area for 30 more seconds. The best part about doing the pound-it-out dribbles is that you can do these basketball drills at home.
To make the fundamentals of dribbling and the nuances of ballhandling clear, there is no better man to explain than NBA legend Isiah Thomas. The former Detroit Pistons star shows why it’s important to keep your eyes up and why you shouldn’t be standing straight when dribbling.
Beginner Shooting Drills
1. Isolated Layups
Layups are high percentage shots that every beginner needs to master. This video does an excellent job of showing how to do two varieties of isolated layups, the one-foot and two-foot finishes.
BEEF stands for Balance, Elbows, Eyes, and Follow-through. This is not a drill per se, but it’s a great way to teach the proper shooting form. It reminds beginners to be strong and sturdy, keeping the elbow in, aiming at the right spot on the rim, and follow-through.
Defensive Basketball Drills for Beginners
1. Quick Stance
Defense is also about habits, so the Quick Stance drill should get that covered. This drill helps beginners acquire good defensive instincts such as staying low, having a wide stance, and staying on the balls of their feet.
2. Defensive Mirror Drill
This drill, explained by NBA coach Jim Boylen, teaches defensive stance and balance. The defensive mirror drill should also be a hit with kids because of the elements of play in it. But then, of course, you should rein them in if they’re having too much fun.
Basketball Rebounding Drills
1. Reaction Rebounding Drill
This video right here aptly explains what to do in the Reaction Rebounding Drill. The drill is an excellent way to introduce the concept of rebounding. As a coach, you can put a little twist on the exercise. For instance, you may select offensive and defensive players while boxing the former out.
2. Self-Toss Rebounding Drills
Like any other skill in basketball, rebounding is also about form and proper technique. The Self-Toss rebounding drill is as fundamental as they come, as explained in the video by WNBA legend Rita Williams. This also teaches how to track the ball and hand-eye coordination, two very important attributes when rebounding the basketball.
Beginner Basic Passing Drills
1. Wall Passing Drill
In this drill, the player gets to practice all three basic passes in one go. Just make sure that the distance between the player and the wall is adequate enough for him to perform a chest pass, a bounce pass, and an overhead pass one after another. As a coach, always remind the player to pivot or take a step forward before flicking a pass.
2. George Karl’s Passing Drill
George Karl is a legitimate NBA veteran coach, so he’s worth a listen when he talks about basketball. The drill shown in the video improves passing and is designed to upgrade hand-eye coordination, dribbling, and passing accuracy. Do the routine with both hands, and you have likely built a proper passing foundation.
Beginner Basketball Shooting Drills
1. Three-Spot Shooting Drill
This drill can be performed as a solo workout during basketball practice or at home. The player must make a minimum of ten shots from all three areas. There are also elements of footwork as the players are reminded to make a jump stop, pivot, and be in the triple-threat before shooting.
2. Beginner’s Shooting Drills
The best part of the three drills demonstrated by Collin Castellaw is that they are done using in-game speed and movement. It also incorporates other skills such as dribbling and hand-eye coordination.
Beginner Basketball Footwork Drills
1. Footwork Basketball Drills at Home
Even when not on a basketball court, you can still improve your footwork by doing these three simple drills. The lateral slides and stutter steps will be handy when playing defense while learning how to pivot is a very effective tool on the offensive end.
2. Ladder and Cone Drills
This is probably one of the most fun basketball drills for beginners as far as kids are concerned. You can also do these basketball drills at home. You see, even without real ladders and cones, you can use your creativity and improvise.
3. Footwork and Passing Drills
Even when doing basketball drills for beginners, it’s always best to hit multiple birds with one stone. The seven drills in this video not only helps improve footwork, it also make a player’s passing and dribbling skills better.
Why Perform Basketball Drills for Beginners
If you wish to improve on sports such as basketball, the best way to do so is by doing basketball drills. Scientifically speaking, the body stores information about motions that we repeat frequently. This is called muscle memory. The movements later become instinctive, allowing us to play faster and smarter without actually thinking.
The best way to acquire muscle memory is to start playing at a young age. If you’re a beginner at basketball at a relatively early age, doing basketball drills frequently will help you play basketball instinctively. As soon as you play instinctively, you will stop focusing on specific movements (such as throwing a ball or shooting a layup), but you will aim your attention at your teammates or defenders. Therefore, you will become more effective in reading the defense and reacting accordingly, whether with a pass or scoring the ball yourself.
Wrapping Things Up: Basketball Drills for Beginners
Basketball is more about working hard than being a natural talent. Sure, talent and natural attributes could give you a headstart, but if you fail to work hard, the more diligent individuals will eventually catch up.
How does all this talk about working hard have something to do with the topic at hand? As you can see, doing basketball drills repeatedly requires a measure of hard work and dedication. If you’re a beginner at the sport, this is where you need to start. You have to deal with dribbling basketball drills for beginners, basketball shooting drills for beginners, and so forth. It can be fun, but it would also need a lot of sweat, energy, and sometimes frustration.
Do beginners really need to do fundamental basketball drills? Absolutely, yes! If not, you say goodbye to improvement or bid farewell to basketball altogether. The fundamental basketball skills– dribbling, passing, shooting, rebounding, and defense– may only be developed by performing basketball drills. Doing basketball drills repeatedly helps beginners build muscle memory. This means that basketball movements eventually become instinctive that you play without thinking. Everything becomes more natural and effortless.
The 15 basketball drills for beginners featured in this article are excellent drills to start your basketball journey with. Whether you’re a coach or a basketball newbie, be sure not to cut corners, but instead, earnestly put effort into each basic drill you come across. Work hard and see the fruits of your labor afterward in the form of improvement. Remember that all basketball greats began by doing these drills themselves. Who knows, maybe it will be your turn to be the next basketball phenom in the future.
Did you find this helpful? Then also check out other basketball FAQ articles here.
More basketball drills here: