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In a weekly program, where gym time might be limited, at the younger levels it is important to develop a format for the players to be familiar. It is helpful for coaches and players to have a regular routine to start practice.
The goal of youth programs should be to develop fundamentals, so completing the same drills with increased quickness and skill is not a bad some things. Below are some ideas to incorporate into your youth program.
1. Dribble Laps: This is a quick warm-up dribbling around the perimeter of the court. The dribbles that are executed are right hand, left hand, alternating. On a coach’s whistle, the players stop and YELL “TRIPLE THREAT.” Players, especially younger ones, really like yelling. Once the players are in triple threat position, the coach yells shot fake. The players can respond with a number of the shot fake 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. After the 5th shot fake, the coach directs the players in the other direction with a different dribble. Complete the process until all three dribbles have been executed.
Time: 3 – 5 minutes. Ball drills could be added after triple threat ball fakes. This would add to the time, but might be an efficient way to incorporate important drills into this section.
2. Stretch Line Agilities: With larger groups stretch lines are a great, easy, effective way to organize players. In the stretch lines, a variety of drills and skills can be used. At a young level it is a great way to get the players active and burning off energy.
Players at a young age can complete simple agility drills that help with coordination. Agility drills are a great way to keep everyone involved and active. Some ideas for agility drills are:
Jump to the Sky: Simply have the players crouch down real low and jump as high as possible. As the players jump high, they should bring both hand up over the head, simulating grabbing a rebound.
Defensive Steps: The players can all face one direction and step with the lead foot and bring the trail foot to the middle. It should be stressed that they players NEVER cross their feet. When the players get to half court, the will switch the direction they are facing so that they are now using a different lead foot. Another option is to simply go the length of the court using one lead foot and coming back facing the other direction.
Additional ideas: Football type drills, Heel Kicks, Arm Swing, Power skips, etc.
3. Dribble lines: Dribble lines is a simple way to organize players. Players are placed in teams on the baseline, cones can be used to help with organization. The players can then dribble from one end of the court to the other. Dribble to include are: right hand, left hand, alternating
In addition, other drills can be introduced like:
The figure 8 roll: The figure 8 roll is just like the stationary figure 8 roll, only now the players are stepping. Voice commands can help BIG STEP, roll the ball between the legs, BIG STEP, roll the ball between the legs.
The dribble march: The moving dribble march builds on the stationary. Players will have different levels of success with this drill, but hopefully over the season players will improve and some may even practice on their own. When first learning the drill, the players will need several “side dribbles” before bouncing it between the legs. As the players improve, fewer side dribbles should be needed.
Dribble with a jump stop: The players can jump stop at the free throw line, half court, and free throw line.
Dribble with a jump stop & pivot: The players can jump stop at the free throw line, half court, and free throw line. At each spot the players can pivot to the sideline, baseline, and sideline.
Time: 5 – 10 minutes
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