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5th Grade Basketball Fundamentals
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5th Grade Basketball Fundamentals

5th Grade Fundamental Skills: The following is a list of fundamentals that 5th graders should work to develop and master.

As a coach at this level, it is important to evaluate the players ability to score. On one 5th grade team (9 players), the players were grouped in the following categories at the start of the season. The goal of the practices and the season is to raise

Current Team Analysis

  1. Unstoppable scorer (0): If you are lucky enough to have one of these special players who can score at will, enjoy your season!
  2. Consistent scorers (3): Players in this category can score consistently in each game. As 5th graders it might only be a few points, but these are the players who can make layups, hit open jump shots, make solid one-on-one moves, and can get the the free throw line.
  3. Inconsistent scorers (3): Players in this category show flashes of being able to score, but are just as likely to go “0 for” in a game. These players often need a little more practice and confidence, but might be able to be a consistent scorer over the course of a season.
  4. Developing scorers (3): All youth teams have these players. They may work hard and play defense, but they just cannot put the ball in the basket. Focus on teaching a few simple layup moves. Develop confidence using these basic moves and the players might be able to score a few points during the season.

Coaching Focus (preseason and 1s few weeks):

  1. Individual Fundamental Skill Development: ALL the players need to develop individual skills. At least 50% of practice time will focus on developing skills that will help the players become better players who can score in a team setting. It is important to develop “Scoring Moves” for all the players. Once a scoring move is mastered, we will teach more advanced moves. Players will be grouped according to skill levels.

  2. TEAM DEFENSIVE Fundamentals: All defense starts with “on the ball” defense. A player needs to cover, contain, and force the opposing player to use his WEAK hand. PRESSURE THE BALL is critical as is PACK THE PAINT.  In all our ½ court and full court games, these concepts must be coached and reinforced. Drills are great, but I think with this generation, they have never really played 1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2 or 3 vs. 3 very much. They more the “play” the better they will become.

  3. TEAM OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: Develop basic individual fundamental team concepts. The foundation for TEAM offense is individual fundamental skills. We need to teach the players how to move without the ball (v-cuts, backdoor cuts, flashing to the ball), play 2-man basketball (screen & score, give & go, screen & score, pick & roll, pick and pop). Like the individual skills, players will be at different levels of understanding. We will teach to all levels, but as players advance we will teach the next level skill.

  4. 3-Man Out of Bounds Plays: Scoring on OBU plays is an important part of basketball. We need to put the players in positions where they can succeed. Each practice we will go over “out of bound drills” that will work on passing, screening, and scoring. We will run a few SIMPLE plays. Hopefully we can also be able to run “SAME PLAY DIFFERENT FORMATION.” Flag football and football players should be able to understand this concept. Plays “3” X (4 across, 2 stack, 4 stack, line).

Strong hand & Strong Hand Reverse Layups (off dribble & catch)

Individual Layups Drills: Individual layups are CRITICAL to developing players who can score consistently. It is especially important for to help our post players develop the ability to score. Time will be spent at each practice working on these drills. Being able to make layups is so important at this age.

1. Mini-Mikans (Current level: Mastered): At the 1st practice all 8 players made at least 10. Two players made 15. This is a good range. The goal and expectation is that players should be able to miss only 1-2 shots. It is important to complete this drill as often as possible. Frequency: Every practice

2. Mikan Layups (Current level: NOT READY): This is a great drill once players have mastered the 2-hand stationary weak hand lay-up. Being able to master this skill would be GREAT for this age.

3. Mikan Layup Drill (Current level: NOT READY): If ONE player could learn this drill in the 5th grade it would be incredible.

Weak Hand Layups Drills: This is a very challenging skill for 10 – 11 year olds. Few, if any player, will be able to take and make a weak hand layupin a game BUT it is basic fundamental that is worth developing to because we want the players to prepare for the long journey to becoming better player and a better team. When 1st teaching layups DO NOT USE THE GUIDE HAND. Young players will almost always use the strong hand (some coaches recommend holding a ball in the strong hand). Why is this important? If a player can score using his weak hand, he has twice as many options. (It is important to allow for success and not rush players to the next drill until they have mastered the previous drill.)

Weak Hand Layup Prep

1. Weak hand 1-hand streak (stationary 2 feet on the ground): This is the 1st step to learning how to take a left hand lay-up. Footwork is the most important part of consistently making layups. Praise the correct footwork.

Great drill when we have a gym with more than 3 baskets. Frequency: Every practice until mastered

2. Weak hand 1-hand left foot back & DRIVE THE KNEE (stationary): This is the “next step” to learning how to drive the knee up to the basket. The left foot will be behind the right foot. This 1st drill to learn the correct footwork.

3. Weak hand 1-hand 2 feet together, one step, no dribble lay-up (DRIVE THE KNEE): This is the “next step” to learning how to drive the knee up to the basket. This drill adds a step, but no dribble. The left foot will be behind the right foot. This 1st drill to learn the correct footwork. “ELBOW AND KNEE ON A STRING.”