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This blog is a work in progress. It will be completed in March 2016, at the end of the 4th grade travel basketball season!
4th Fundamental Skills
1. Dribble with the head up
2. Make strong hand lay-ups
3. Shoot the ball correctly
Dribbling: Players need to be able to dribble the ball effectively with both hands in the 4th grade. Each player should bring a ball to practice to allow for the maximum number of repetitions.
Dribble Lines: figure 8 roll, figure 8 walk / jog / run, Dribble March, Dribble Walk
2 ball series: (2:30 each) This is perhaps the most useful drill to have the players complete. Players will dribble two balls at the same time. Encourage all the players to “dribble as fast as you can, under control.” Commit to completing this drill at each practice and players will improve tremendously. When they play in a game it will be so easy to only dribble one ball. As players become more advanced, there are more complicated drills that can be added. When 1st introducing the drill, include 2-balls together, 2-balls alternating, and 2-balls alternating, zig-zag escape dribble and switch directions.
Lay-ups: In order to score, players need to be able to consistently make lay-ups. The more players who can do this, the better your team will be. Teach players a variety of different drills to make lay-ups
W / chair series
Full court lay-ups
Fastbreak / Transition Offense: The #1 way to score is to have a player dribble the ball full court for a lay-up! As the season progresses, look to incorporate more passing and teamwork.
2 man fast break:
3 man fast break:
Stance: This is the most critical part of defense to teach. Teach it early, teach it often, and teach it ALL SEASON. 5 players in a good defensive stance will be hard to beat at any level. Players should be able to hold a stance for 30 – seconds to a minute. Work on have players keep their butt down, left hand high (to bother the mostly righty shooters they will play against, and left hand low.
Footfire / Machine Gun: After teaching players the correct stance, it is important to teach the players how to stay low while moving the feet. On the coach’s signal, the players will in a good low defensive stance, while moving the feet as quickly as possible.
Lane Slides: This is simple drill timed drill that works on defensive slides. A player starts with his feet OUTSIDE the free throw lane. The players shuffles back and forth for 30 seconds.
Team Defense: Being able to understand and play great team defense will make a team extremely competitive at this age. Stress help defense during all scrimmage situations. 2 vs. 2., 3 vs. 3, and full court. Drill into the players heads that it is 5 defensive players vs. one ball and not 5 players each stopping one player. If players can understand the concepts of team defense, the players will be more advanced than most players at this age.
On the Ball Defense
70 / 30 ball drill: This is a simple drill where the coach holds a ball at one hash mark. The defensive player ties up the basketball and rips the ball aggressively from the coach. The player then dribbles the length of the court for a lay-up! In the 3rd grade many offensive players did not protect the ball. Ripping the ball out an opponent’s hands was a great way to create offense. At the start of the 4th grade travel season, we hope to use this technique to take advantage of weaker offensive players.
Dig it Drill: Many players when they receive a pass freeze. This is another technique to steal the ball. Reaching in is a common mistake on defense at all levels. Player often reach down and referees love to call this foul. It is important to teach players at a young age “dig the ball” by tapping it UP in the air. When a player uses this method, he is much, much less likely to be called for a foul. Players should pair up. One player plays dummy offense and always the player to steal the ball. Once the ball is stolen, the player returns the ball to the offensive player. This can be completed for several repetitions. Players can then switch positions.
Pick His Pocket Drill / Tip & Go Drill: Most of the scoring at the 4th grade level is off the dribble, so it is important to be able to play on the ball defense. This drill teaches players how to steal the ball and once the 70 / 30 drill is mastered, work on teaching players how to steal the ball without fouling
Head on the ball zig-zag
Shooting: The 4th grade is probably the earliest that you can teach a player and team to shoot the ball correctly. Most players have the strength and ability to understand BEEF shooting fundamentals.
One the back shooting (1 and 2 hands)
Partner line shooting:
One hand form shooting
2 hand form shooting
Spot shooting: (Each practice)
Passing: The 4th grade is probably the earliest that you can teach a player and team to shoot the ball correctly. Most players have the strength and ability to understand BEEF shooting fundamentals.
Dribble, pivot, pass
around the horn: add a flash, shot fake, lay-up, or shot
3 man weave