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Category: Character
Category: Education
Category: Health
Category: Leisure

Teach Your Child to Play Basketball

Basketball is excellent exercise and good fun. Teaching your child how to play basketball will give you an opportunity to interact with them, get a good cardio workout, and help them develop large motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Playing basketball involves knowing the rules of play, handling the ball, and learning how to work as part of a team. Girls and boys of all ages enjoy “shooting hoops E And remember- if you teach them now, eventually you will have someone to play with!


Preschoolers can learn to toss and catch. Start with a soft ball about 6 inches in diameter. Keep the distance close enough for success at first, slowly increasing the distance between you.

If catching and throwing is starting to get old, exchange the ball for a plastic or rubber ball that will bounce. Practice catching and throwing and bouncing and catching. This will delight your preschooler and help them develop the hand eye coordination so important in basketball.

Buy a kiddie hoop and backboard that adjusts to height. Practice throwing the ball again from a fairly close distance. Gradually increase the distance and raise the hoop. Take turns. Your child will learn how to take turns and wait for the ball this way.

Kids this young are too little to dribble, but they will enjoy watching you!

Main points to address:

  • Teach them to throw and catch, then bounce and catch.
  • Buy a kiddie hoop and gradually increase height.
  • Handling the ball is less important than having fun.

Grades K-3rd

Early elementary age children can begin to perform important basketball skills. Children 5-7 will still have some difficulty being consistent with throws and catches, and dribbling will be full of traveling, but they can start to understand the point of the game, which is to score, and also some basic rules. Teaching them to “pivot Eby keeping one foot planted is something they can do at this age.

Practicing with your child with a junior height hoop, say 6-8 feet high, will take some patience. This age wants to shoot and shoot again. Sharing is secondary! As they get older their skill level will increase and peer pressure will help them to surrender the ball.

Kids aged 7-9 can follow the rules if they are taught with an opportunity for follow-up practice. They also are more able to dribble the ball without traveling as much and can usually pass the ball successfully.

The best way for your 7-9 year old to learn the game is to join a youth program or team. Having practiced throwing, catching and game basics will make the coach’s job easier.

Games at this level should be played without keeping score or declaring a winning team. You may still need to remind your child to pass the ball to another team player. Eventually they will learn that teamwork moves the ball down the court to the basket. Learning sportsmanship is an important aspect of playing any team sport.

Main points to address:

  • Young children 5-6 probably are not ready for team play.
  • Continue practicing basic passing and catching.
  • Introduce dribbling and pivoting.
  • Find a youth program or team for your 7-9 year old.
  • Don’t expect perfection!

Grades 4-6th

Kids this age are ready to play ball. They have the physical skill and the mental ability to play in earnest. The more practice they get, the better they will get. If your child has not learned controlled throwing and catching, follow the steps above before continuing.

It’s important not to push or criticize. The game needs to stay fun. Let the coach be the coach so that you can be a practice partner. When you go to your child’s game be a good sport and don’t fill him or her in on all their goof-ups after the game! It really isn’t all about winning at this age. They’re still learning.

If your child is serious about basketball, and you can find and afford it, send them to a basketball clinic or camp. This is a great way to build skill and confidence.

Take your child to a high school or pro basketball game. They will really be able to focus on skills polished by time and practice and teamwork in action.

Most of all have fun. Approach the game with love and encouragement. If your child isn’t the hottest player, play anyway. Enjoy being outside or on the court with your youngster. Your child will know you enjoy being with them. You will be creating wonderful memories of time spent together.

Main points to address:

  • Children this age are developmentally ready for real play.
  • Don’t push or criticize. It should be fun.
  • Take your child to a high school or pro game.
  • Support their interest by providing opportunities to play.

Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Posted in Leisure.

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