Whether you have an NBA-bound young hooper or a kid who simply wants to get buckets at the park, they need to practice to improve at basketball. Unfortunately, becoming a good basketball player isn’t as simple as getting the most practice hours at the gym.
So, if you’re asking how often should a kid practice basketball, then we’ll have to answer you with the classic non-answer of – it depends.
What is a Good Basketball Practice Routine for Kids?
A good practice routine can be easily summed up in three words – Fundamentals, Consistency, and Progression. Each one needs to be incorporated into any practice program.
So, what do each of these means?
Shooting, dribbling, and defense are the primary tools to play the game the right way. Doing well in all these aspects will keep a player on the court, so players should focus on at least a basic proficiency before even trying to sign up for a tryout.
Additionally, building a kid’s physical capabilities through strength and conditioning drills can help kids get an edge in securing a coveted roster spot.
Whatever the practice frequency you and your kids decide on, whether it’s twice a week, three times a week, or every day of the week, it doesn’t matter much. What’s important is to ensure that it’s something that kids practice consistently. Without consistency, skill progression won’t happen. Kids can have the best coaches giving them the best drills and still not become good basketball players if they don’t practice consistently.
As kids become more comfortable with the basics, adding a layer of complexity to their drills and practices is vital. Failing to add complexity can hinder a child’s progress by allowing them to become too comfortable and forgetful of their fundamentals.
Furthermore, progression should also help them understand the game’s nuances and dive deeper into how to win games instead of how to become a better player.
How Often Should a Kid Practice Basketball?
Kids have different motivations for getting into the sport. Some kids play to fit in, others because it’s fun, but a handful of young hoopers play for a genuine love for the game.
So, when it comes to how often a kid should practice basketball, the answer can vary. It depends heavily on how serious they are about pursuing the sport.
But, generally speaking, children aged six to twelve should aim for around two hours of practice per week since their bodies are still developing, which is not too taxing for their bodies and minds. Teens aged thirteen to eighteen can strive for a little more – three or four hours per week should suffice – but anything over this might put unnecessary strain on the body.
Ultimately, how often a kid practices basketball depends on how passionate they are about the game – as long as kids get plenty of rest between workouts, there’s virtually no limit to how often they can practice!
5 Factors that Affect the Frequency of Practice in Basketball
Many factors can affect the training plan, from workout routines to diet and intensity of practice days. And knowing some of these key factors can determine your kid’s practice frequency.
1. School Work and General Fatigue
Academics come before basketball, even to kids aiming to get into the league. After all, you’ve got to get admitted into colleges and universities first before a scout even considers recruitment.
When kids’ schoolwork starts to pile up, finding the energy and motivation they need to practice basketball can be challenging. But by managing their academic workload, they can better focus on other activities such as workout drills and scrimmages.
Furthermore, schoolwork can also help kids recover from fatigue by getting them to take their minds off the game temporarily.
2. Practice Efficacy, Intensity, and Progression
Progression is vital when mastering any skill, and basketball is no different. Kids should aim to improve all facets of their game when they practice – from dribbling and shooting mechanics to defensive awareness and overall basketball IQ.
For kids to make meaningful strides on the court, it’s crucial that their practices are well-structured and their drills are effective. If kids spend too much time on inefficient practice sessions, they won’t get any real value.
It’s also essential to ensure that your practice drills are adjusted to the intensity level suitable for your child; if they are too difficult or too easy, it won’t benefit them.
3. Motivation and Interest
Motivation is one of the most influential factors in a kid’s practice habits. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to keep kids interested in hooping as it’s an exciting game with plenty of opportunities for creativity and expression.
You can even suggest crosstraining into other sports as well. Weightlifting, for example, is popular among coaches as it helps strengthen muscles needed for basketball. But, if practices become repetitive, basketball could feel like a job rather than a sport, so don’t forget to change up drills a bit.
4. Access to Equipment and Facilities
Having the right equipment and facilities is essential for any kid wanting to become a better basketball player. But if they don’t have access to courts or gyms, finding the space they need to practice regularly can be challenging.
That being said, plenty of online resources teach kids how to practice basketball even in their own homes – from resistance band training to stationary ball-handling drills.
5. Physical Ability and Injury Prevention
Finally, physical ability is another crucial factor that could determine how often a kid should and can practice. If they’re not physically fit or have any health conditions that affect their performance, they should reduce the amount of practice they do to prevent any potential injuries.
Furthermore, coaches and parents should also follow programs that allow breaks or recovery periods to help their young bodies heal from the wear and tear of intense practices.
What are Good Basketball Drills to Practice for Kids?
When it comes to fun basketball drills, variety is essential, as you can’t let kids get bored because they’re repetitive and unchallenging. So, here are three types of basketball drills that would are challenging and fun for young ballers:
Shooting drills – these drills are designed to help kids improve their shooting accuracy and technique. These can range from simple warm-up exercises such as layups to more complex drills like free throws. Make sure to change the drills up a bit with some variation and progression, as kids can easily lose interest because of the repetitive nature of shooting. SAVI Consulting has a great video of five different shooting drills you can use to keep things interesting.
Ball handling drills – these will help kids develop the skills needed to dribble, pass, and control the ball on the court. Breakthrough Basketball has a wealth of knowledge in this area, so we’ve decided to share their work here. These skills, after all, are the fundamentals of basketball that every kid will need no matter what their position is on the basketball court.
Footwork drills – admittedly, footwork isn’t exactly a beginner-friendly skill. But understanding the basics of this advanced skill can go a long way in learning it the proper way as a child’s basketball career progresses. These drills don’t have to be overly complex; simple exercises like shuffling and skipping can go a long way in helping kids become better ball players. Not to mention how it helps a lot with their stamina, balance, agility, and speed – all key attributes to becoming an elite player.
Wrapping Things Up: How Often Should a Kid Practice Basketball?
There’s no cookie-cutter answer to the question of how often should a kid practice basketball. It all depends on the individual’s skill level, availability, physical ability, motivation, and access to training facilities.
That being said, aiming for 2-3 times a week with one or two hours of practice each session is generally recommended. Doing this will give them enough time to review their mistakes and reinforce the right techniques while still keeping them manageable.
Of course, practice will mean nothing if kids don’t enjoy the drills they do. So keep it varied and fun with different drills. This way, you can help them become better ball players without sacrificing their enthusiasm for the game.
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.