As a parent, you need to make sure your kid is fully developed, both mentally and physically.
While activities like studying can boost the mental awareness of kids, nothing beats sports when it comes to getting kids fit and healthy.
If you are thinking about letting kids sweat on the playground, let’s have a look at how you can teach them basketball!
1. Explain the rules of basketball to the children
It is impossible to start taking up a game without knowing its instructions.
However, the actual rules applied in professional basketball matches might be too complicated for small kids to understand.
Hence, what you need is a watered-down, easy-to-understand version of basketball rules made for children.
First, make sure your child knows the definition of all relevant terms and jargon used in this sport.
- Out of bounds. This refers to the fact that both the players and the ball cannot travel outside the lines covering a basketball court.
- Dribble. To dribble is to use one hand, try to bounce a ball and then walk with it. The player is not allowed to let the ball fall out or use both hands to keep it moving.
- Double dribble. If the player somehow misses the ball and bows down to pick it up, or he uses both hands to dribble, then it is called double dribble. In this case, the opposing team will get the ball.
- Shoot. To shoot is to score in basketball. A player can shoot from three different spots to earn different rewards. If the player is behind the three-point line and the ball goes into the basket, then he earns three points.
Other places across the court will account for two points. Each successful free throw can get the team one point.
- Pivot. This is the act when a player keeps one-foot static while moving the other foot around.
- Foul. Whenever you make physical contact with the person holding the ball, then you will be fouled.
- Dribble the ball. If you are dribbling and the ball falls down, there is one way you can pick it up without violating the rules. Use one leg to stand on the ground, and then use the other leg to move only one step away from where you are standing. If you move both feet, you will lose the ball right away.
Your child does not need to know every single basketball term yet.
But it would help a lot if they get a general idea of what basketball is and which things are involved.
2. Invest in suitable basketball gear
Having a proper set of basketball gear can significantly improve the playing experience and the safety of your children.
Shy away from cheaply made balls, and go for something that fits the palm of your kids.
Also, a well-made pair of sneakers will prevent kids from hurting their back and feet. If you want to be extra careful, consider buying some knee wraps for the kids.
3. Guide children through the easiest moves.
Let’s get started slowly with a ball around 5 to 6 inches in diameter. You do not want to overwhelm your kids with a standard basketball right from the beginning.
Now, once your children are ready to practice, you can go through the most basic moves through warm-up exercises.
- Stand upright with your legs spread out. Lower your body and then bounce back with your arms shoot to the front.
- Jog at a fast speed around the court. Remember to keep your back straight up and your body aligned together.
- Stretch downwards and backward to relax the muscles.
Once your child has felt the heat, tell them to stand in front of you, face-to-face.
Then, you take the initiative and toss the ball, asking the kid to catch it.
Repeat this movement for around 5 minutes, then switch the role. Now, the kid gets to throw the ball at you.
To increase the difficulty of this practice, you can gradually move further away from the initial spot.
It is worth remembering that basketball is not all about physical activities. It is also about eye coordination.
If you think your kid is flexible enough on the ground, you can get some eye-training exercises to increase their vision.
- Throw a ball high up into the sky and ask the child to gaze at it throughout its entire movement.
- Ask the kid to focus their eyesight on a single point for around one minute.
4. Introduce more complicated basketball movements once your children have mastered the basics
Once you and your kids have practiced the basic moves for a week or two, it’s time to get the ball rolling with more challenges.
Besides the catching and tossing, your child needs to know how to pivot, shoot and dribble.
At this time, you can invest in a height hoop, so the kids get a better understanding of what they need to do on the basketball court.
Now, instruct the children to position themselves correctly, then try to shoot for the basket.
If you have the adjustable hoop, try lower it down for the first few times so the kids can actually earn a point.
Are you done with shooting? It’s time for dribbling and pivoting!
Dribbling can be difficult, especially if the kids are clumsy with their hands.
You may help them by getting a high-quality ball, something that would bounce easily without drifting away.
The easiest approach to dribbling is to place the palm right on top of the ball, and then continuously move it forward.
Ask your children to dribble for a few meters, then slowly increase the distance to advance their skills.
As far as pivoting is concerned, make sure your child can switch between two legs and be comfortable with using one foot as the stake on the ground.
You can make pivoting easier by asking the kids to jump around on one leg, so their body is better equipped with this posture.
5. Form a small team and help children engage in real play
In essence, basketball is a team sport, so your child cannot practice alone.
After a few weeks of solo training, it’s time to get a bit more serious.
You can gather some of your kids’ friends, get a few teenagers in the neighborhood, and then host a mini basketball game.
Do not try to be ambitious and get 10 people to play on the court like a professional match.
You can start slow, with each team comprising at least 2 kids while you will be the couch and the refugee.
Remember, it is less of a competition and more of having fun together.
You do not need to “force” one side into winning and the other side into losing.
All you have to do is to keep the game safe, fun, and healthy for all the kids involved.
6. Be supportive and teach the right attitude to your children
Many parents are inclined to place too much pressure on their children’s basketball game.
They constantly nag the kids about winning, and whine if they fail to shoot or dribble properly.
However, being bitter about your child’s practice does not help them improve their skills.
Instead, you have to show the children you care more about their physical and mental development, rather than mere trophies on the court.
If your child loses a game or cannot make a certain move, comfort them at first.
Then, you can help by pointing out where they do wrong, and how they can avoid similar mistakes in the future.
If your child is the winner, congratulate them. But do not shower the kid with all the praises.
Tell them to show their sportsmanship to the opposing team by shaking hands, or other tokens of respect.
Teach them to be proud, but still remain humble about their achievements.
7. Be creative towards your children’s practice
At some points, you will feel like you have nothing else to teach your kids about basketball.
But the truth is you can still implement stuff into the game, and improvise the basketball practice.
Have you ever ask your kid to dribble from one court to another then shoot a successful jump shot?
How about the kids have to throw the ball while standing at the left corner, the right corner, or the left-wing and ring-wing?
What about daring them to perform at least 10 layups within 2 minutes?
Sure enough, most children – if not all – cannot perform such a complicated task. It takes years – even for professional basketball players – to master these advanced techniques.
However, the prospect of a challenge will excite your kids, and fuel their competitiveness.
Difficult as these exercises may sound, they are actually useful for the kids if they want to get serious with basketball.
You can reduce the stress and pressure of your kids by offering them sweet treats after each practice session.
Playing basketball is no easy task, and trying to teach it to small kids can be considered an ordeal by impatient parents.
But as long as you stay committed and would like your children to advance – both physically and mentally – then you may realize teaching basketball is not that much of a challenge!