Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. It is not expensive; instead, it is attainable. You only have to secure a ball and a ring. It does not matter, if you do not have a court. As long as you have enough space to place the ring and dribble the ball, you can already play the game. It is also very much accessible. There are lots of basketball courts around the communities. They are, actually, built for individuals who want to play the game. The government took the time to build such courts to draw the youth away from doing bad stuffs like illegal and addictive drugs.
Why is there a need to teach young children about basketball? It is because children love to play. And basketball is a fun and easy to learn for children’s level of cognition. In basketball, you run, jump, dribble, and shoot. These are the activities that children usually do in their play. Why not try to convert their energy by playing the sport? This is exactly what this teaching is all about.
In order to teach the young minds, you must try to analyze and understand how they think. In this way, you can assess their ability to absorb new information, and convert those information into actions.
Sally L. Lagerquist, a registered nurse and former instructor in Nursing Education, simplified Piaget’s theory of the cognitive development of individuals in the early years.
- Infancy – 2 years: Preverbal; uses all senses; coordinates simple motor actions.
- 2 – 4 years: Pre-conceptual; can use language; egocentric; imitation in play, parallel play.
- 4 – 7 years: asks questions, can use symbols and associate subjects and concepts.
- 7 – 11 years: see relationships, aware of view points, understand cause and effect, and can make conclusions; solves concrete problems.
- 11 years and older: abstract and conceptual thinking; can check ideas, thoughts and beliefs; lives in present and non-present; can use formal logic and scientific reasoning.
You must try to look over these age-specific cognitive abilities to develop an effective approach of teaching young children.
Teaching Basketball Skills
Before you start to teach the sport, you must first establish rapport with the young ones. Study how to draw their interest to the sport. You can let them watch a basketball game. It will be more effective if they see you play the game.
Knowing the different levels of mental abilities of the children, it is best to teach them the BASIC SKILLS of basketball. Here are some of them:
Demonstrate the proper basketball stance that will enable the young players to maintain their balance. Teach them to spread their feet apart, flex the legs on their knees, maintain their upper body in an upright position, with head facing in front and parallel to the ground, and flex their arms on their sides. Balance prevents the young children from falling down easily.
Teach them how to dribble the ball. First, demonstrate the proper way of dribbling the ball:
- Do the basketball stance as described above (in maintaining balance). Hold the ball in both hands. Fingertips should be spread on each side of the ball to prevent it from slipping off the hands.
- Using your dominant hand, push the ball into the ground in an area anterior (in front) to your dominant feet. Normally, if your dominant hand is right, your dominant foot is also right.
- The ball tends to rebound off the floor. Catch the ball with your dominant hand and simultaneously push it back into the floor. When you catch the ball, spread your fingertips. It is like grasping the ball in your hands. This will ensure proper attachment of your hand to the ball.
- Repeat the procedure in letter C over and over again. This is the basic process of dribbling the ball. Do not take too much time in catching the ball. Once the ball rebounds off the floor and touches your palm, directly push it back into the floor.
- Do the same thing in your non-dominant hand. Take time to repeat the procedure until you get used to it. Master dribbling in both hands. It is a must in playing basketball game.
You can make use of the above procedures in teaching basic dribbling. Just focus on the basic process of dribbling. Avoid teaching fancy dribbling skills. This may confuse the young players. Take learning one step at a time. Let the young players dribble over and over again, until they establish as sense of coordination between the movement of the ball and their hands.
Once they learn how to dribble, level their learning up by teaching them how to dribble without looking the ball.
Let the young players observe how you shoot the ball. And let them throw the ball in into the basket. Observe the positioning of their hands. Make necessary adjustments. Create drills that will allow the players to throw the ball into the air. Pair the players so that someone can catch the ball, throw it back to the other player, and vice versa. Point out the difference between a simple shot and a jump shot. A simple shot requires the upper body strength. You shoot the ball without jumping. On the other hand, a jump shot uses both upper and lower body strength. A player, usually, shoot the ball while jumping. This adds sufficient force in landing the ball into the basket, specifically during long distance perimeter shooting.
Try to demonstrate the appropriate passing of the ball. You can help modify their way of passing. Create drills wherein the players will pair up, and repetitively pass the ball against each other. Repetitions can help them master this skill.
5. Basic Footwork
Footwork plays a vital role in basketball. Teach your young players about movement and positioning of the foot. It is important that they know how to coordinate their dribbling with their foot to avoid violations such as travelling.
It is pleasurable to teach basketball among young children. Their minds are still very much fresh and open to information. Children have the tendency to listen whatever their teacher tells them. They put their confidence to the one who teaches them. Seeing children play good basketball is a great achievement.