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Congratulations on coaching 1st grade basketball. You are a saint and will be in for a great experience. It is challenging, but a lot of fun if you are prepared.

Goal: With only one hour of gym time, it is important to limit the amount of time the players are sitting because when they are sitting, they fidget and get restless, especially in the 1st and 2nd grade.

Main thought: The more dribbles and shots per player the better!

Under the current format, with the 15 minutes of practice time and 45 minutes of games, most players will not shoot the ball much or touch ball much. At this age, having a ball in a player’s hands is the best use of time.

Routine: At such a young age, it is important for players and coaches to know what to expect each week. This is the 3rd session. There have been 3 different formats. The coaches and the players are not sure of what the expectations are from week to week. Let’s keep it simple and teach the same drills each week. There is not one player in the 1st or 2nd grade who can play a game without committing a violation, because they have not developed the skills. Some players have picked up a basketball 3-4 times in their life and we are asking them to play a full-court game. This does not make sense!  

This is a suggestion to develop a routine the players and coaches can follow each week. At the younger ages, it is important to have as many players involved. Many players do not have the skills to play a 5 vs. 5 game. If the drills and games can be FUN, players will enjoy the experience.

5 vs. 5 is NOT FUN and not inclusive: Players at this age cannot pass or catch well. When there is a 5 on 5 game, the player with the ball dribbles and shoots. 5 players are on defense and 4 players are on offense. One player with the ball is the ONLY player involved in the offense. If we count the number of passes per possession, it will be much lower than the number of violations (travelling and dribbling). Most possession will have less than 2 passes.

3 v. 3 Drill Stations: During the 3 v. 3 session, it would be great if we could have the players not involved in the games doing drills in the center of the gym. Players could complete ball drills or do dribble lines. It would be important to make sure the balls do not interfere with games, but with 2 coaches for most teams, it might be allow for better use of time.

AROUND THE WORLD Shooting spots (1:30 each) This will allow for every player to be able to shoot the ball several times during a session. If a player makes one shot each week, he will feel good about himself. There will be several opportunities for a player to make a basket.  If the coaches and board of directors like this, it could be  weekly event. Coaches can keep track of progress. (I could share a shooting chart) The goal is improvement, but team competition can be good.  Shoot from 5 spots for 1:30 for each shot. Record the scores. Check progress each week.

Shooting spots:

  1. Right block: use the backboard
  2. Right baseline: NO BACKBOARD
  3. Center
  4. Right baseline: NO BACKBOARD
  5. Left block: use the backboard

THIS IS FUN! After shooting from a spot the team and coaches sprint to the next basket. Players have more fun sprinting to the next basket.  

Dibble Tag (5 minutes) Use a different ball as the tag ball. One player is it. Other players dribble avoiding being tagged. If a player is tag, the “tag ball” is given to him. The person who WAS it has the other ball and player continues. There can be multiple tag balls if appropriate.

  • ¼ COURT TAG (1 team, 2 balls): Each team is designated one half court.
  • HALF COURT TAG (2 teams, 4 balls): The teams playing against each other play dribble tag! EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF!
  • FULL COURT TAG (4 teams, 6-8 balls): This could be a little chaos, coaches need to make sure players are dribbling with the head up and not colliding with other players. EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF