Teaching Your Kids Basketball Skills – Everything You Should Know!

Basketball is a great sport for your child to play; it encourages hand-eye coordination, fitness, teamwork, and most importantly, it is lots of fun! But there are some important basketball skills your child will need to know before they can become the next Lebron James. Read on to learn some of the essential basketball skills and drills for kids to master. 

Ball Control Skills

Ball control skills are an integral part of youth basketball skill development; all players need to feel comfortable with the ball when playing basketball and this can be achieved by handling the ball as much as possible by practicing the following ball control skills:

Catching and Passing

Catching and passing are the most essential skills to learn and perfect when playing basketball.  While catching is a basic motor skill typically developed by children at an early age,  practice and repetition is advised and this skill can be incorporated into other drills and games to help players improve their skills.

Passing the ball is also integral to playing basketball and there are a variety of different passing techniques, including chest pass, push pass, bounce pass, and overhead pass.

  • CHEST PASS 

The chest pass is often the default pass, best used when you are a reasonable distance from your pass target, by passing the ball from your chest with two hands, aiming for your teammate’s chest.

  • PUSH PASS 

This pass is similar to the chest pass, except you push with one hand while taking a step to create space from your defender.

  • BOUNCE PASS

The bounce pass is frequently used when your on-ball defender has their hands high, or when they are taller than you and you still need to make a pass. Aim for the bounce to occur at the ¾ mark of the distance between yourself and your target, so the ball arrives at their chest.

  • OVERHEAD PASS

You can use the overhead pass to quickly move the ball from one side of the court to the other. 

Drill:

If training in a team, have two lines of players set up at one end of the court in pairs, about 3 metres away from each other, and facing their partner.  Players both start running down the court parallel while passing the ball back and forth. It’s important that players mix up their pass types, (chest, bounce etc) and move quickly. This can also be done with yourself and your child, and to make it competitive, each time a pass is missed or dropped, both players have to do one burpee to encourage accurate passing and catching. 

Dribbling

Dribbling is another important skill when playing basketball; essentially bouncing the ball repeatedly with control. The purpose of dribbling is to move the ball around the basketball court when a pass is not possible or to improve a player’s position before passing or shooting. A player may dribble the ball with either hand and can change hands but cannot dribble with both hands at the same time. Once a player stops dribbling, they must pass the ball or shoot; they cannot dribble again. It is important to be able to dribble while not looking at the ball; you need your focus to watch for other players and obstacle.

Drill:

Set up five chairs or cones down  the basketball court in a row, about a metre apart. One at a time, dribble as fast as possible up the court while weaving around the obstacles. This drill forces players to use both hands while keeping their eyes off the ball to watch for the obstacles. Make it more competitive by timing players to see who can compete for the best time, or if training alone, have your child try to beat their own best time. 

Shooting

Shooting is the most significant basic basketball skill which all players need to practice, after all, scoring points helps teams to win! Practice where possible with a standard basketball hoop and backboard, the rectangle on the backboard provides a helpful guide of where to aim when you are shooting within the key area; if the player is standing directly in front of the hoop, then the player should aim to hit the centre of the rectangle on the backboard. If the player is standing on the left of the key, then they should aim for the left-hand top corner of the backboard, and vice-versa for the right hand side. With enough practice, shooting hoops should become easier. 

Drill:

HORSE is a very fun and simple game you can play with a whole team, or just two players. The rules are relatively simple, whichever player was chosen to go first will choose a spot to shoot from. If their shot makes it in the net, all of the remaining participants must attempt the exact same shot. If any of the players fail to make the shot, they will receive a letter of the word “horse,” starting with “H.” When a player misses five shots, acquiring each letter of HORSE, they are eliminated. The winner is determined when there is only one player left standing. This game is fun to play and encourages healthy competition between players, while also encouraging players to practice shooting from different and more challenging positions.

Rebounds

Players should always “follow the shot” when shooting in case the ball does not go in so that they can be in a good position to contend for a rebound. Rebounding is all about positioning; as soon as a shot goes up, the defensive player should turn, facing the basket to watch where the ball goes, while being aware of the offense player, aiming to keep them away from the ball.

Drill: Three players, one on the left corner of the free-throw line, one in the middle of the free-throw line and the other at the right corner set up a defensive position, while three other players take an offensive position, opposite the defenders. The coach shoots the ball and the defensive players practice blocking the offensive players while all six go for the rebound. This can also be done to some extent one on one, where your child can practice defending the rebound from different positions, while you shoot, and your child can block you from taking the rebound while aiming to secure it for themselves.

Defence and strategy skills

There are two basic defensive strategies in basketball: man-to-man, and zone. Each has different advantages and drawbacks.

Man-to-man defence

In this defense strategy, each player is assigned to guard a player on the other team. 

When playing, the defensive player simply follows wherever his or her offensive player goes, limiting their opportunities to shoot, rebound, and pass to teammates.

The easiest way to teach players to keep track of who they are guarding is by memorising the opposing player’s jersey number. 

The advantage of this defence strategy is that it is easy for players to ensure the other team is covered and enables the defensive team to put effective pressure on the offensive. The disadvantage mainly lies where players are mismatched, and slower or weaker defenders may have trouble keeping up with their offensive opponents. 

Zone defence

Zone defense is a strategy in which each player covers a specific area of the court, and the defender begins to guard an opponent when the opponent enters the defender’s designated zone. Once the offensive player leaves the defender’s zone, the defender continues guarding their zone instead of following the offensive player as they would in a man-to-man defense.

There are many in the basketball world who believe zone defense can be detrimental to young players, and indeed some leagues have even banned using this defense tactic for younger age groups, because it can limit the development of individual and team skills. That being said, once teams have mastered their fundamental skills and have man-to-man defence down pat, zone defence can be a useful tactic to have up your sleeve. 

The main advantages of zone defense are that it requires less endurance, so your team should have more energy throughout the game, plus this defensive strategy makes it harder for the offense to exploit a team’s weaker defenders since their teammates can step in to help them.

Drill:

The best drills for learning these two defence types, are simply to play the game! Organise some friendly games with another team, or if your child’s team is big enough, they can play 3-on-3 or 4-on-4 games to practice the different defence strategies.

By practicing these basic basketball drills for kids, your child’s confidence playing basketball will grow. Now that you have the basic skills for basketball, your child will need the proper sporting equipment as well! 

And1 is all about supporting players from their very first game, up to their 3-pointer that will decide the grand final game. And1 specialise in basketball shoes Australian players love and offer an extensive range of basketball footwear, apparel, and accessories to turn your junior player into the next superstar. 

Top 10 Best Team Sports For Kids To Play & Benefits

One of the best ways to mould social skills in kids is having them engaged in a sport or two. Getting them involved in team sports is a great way to ensure a holistic child development. With lots of sports available for kids these days, you may find it challenging to tell the best for your child.

Here are the top ten team sports for your child and why they are important:

1. Basketball

Basketball has a long history, but a simple sport when it comes to set up and equipment. The primary requirements include the basketball and hoop, and a large enough recreation centre, and good basketball shoes. Basketball is one of the few no-contact sports that pose minimal risk to your child. Its simple moves, like passing, dribbling and spilling, build character, dexterity and teamwork.

2. Soccer

Whether you choose to call it football or soccer, it’s safe to say that this sport is among the most popular team sports in the world. It is played in virtually every country around the globe, regardless of the name. Soccer helps kids with balance and improves foot dexterity. It also teaches kids teamwork, discipline, fairness, and builds muscle strength, coordination, flexibility, weight distribution, lung capacity, and cardiovascular endurance. It can be played by kids who are 4 years old and above.

3. Swimming

Swimming is an effective way to address your kids’ fear of heights and water. This valuable life skill can never be forgotten once learnt. Swimming classes give your child the benefit of one-on-one instruction from the coach while enjoying social interaction with teammates. It helps your child focus on skill development without the pressure of comparison. Swimming is a great way to keep your child physically engaged and entertained.

4. Cycling

The bicycle holds fond childhood memories for most people around the world. Every child loves the freedom of riding around on two wheels. Cycling teaches children balance and weight distribution. It is advisable to start your child on a tricycle from 2 to 5 years, then switch to training wheels. For health reasons, it’s important to keep multispeed and multi-gear bikes at bay until your child hits 9 years of age.

5. Inline skating

Inline skating is one of the most popular sports among kids of all ages these days. Children can begin inline skating from the age of 4, provided they have good motor skills. As your kids start learning, it is important for you to get a professional instructor to guide them and teach them safety precautions. You should also get your child a helmet, knee and elbow pads. Skating helps children develop patience, proper weight balance, reflex coordination, agility, increases muscle strength, and improves cardiovascular endurance.

6. Hockey

Whether field or ice hockey, this sport builds endurance, leg strength, dexterity, and vision. Children will learn how to move around the rink at 10 miles per hour while keeping their eyes on the puck. Hockey has a longstanding fighting history and while it has gone down, it’s still a likely possibility. You can keep your child safe by getting them the appropriate protective equipment, but I may not keep your child totally injury-free.

7. Baseball and Softball

Many kids have grown up admiring star baseball players. Baseball is a beloved sport that improves hand-eye coordination, arm strength, and balance. It will also help them learn teamwork, discipline and social skills. Children as young as six years old can play baseball. They should start out with softball and graduate to hardball once they grow older.

8. Cricket

Although cricket is a difficult game at first, once your child gets the hang of it, they’ll never forget it. There are lots of other sporting activities your child can do with cricket equipment without going into the full game. Cricket helps build arm strength and physical endurance.

9. Running

This is probably the easiest and most cost-effective sporting activity in the world. Running comes naturally once a child starts walking and develops proper balance. It’s not only fun, it instils a sense of confidence, builds endurance and leg strength. It improves focus, concentration, and cardiovascular fitness. Running regularly builds child immunity, lung capacity and reduces the occurrence of common colds and the flu.

10. Tennis

Tennis is one of the sports that allows your child to become a good celebrity as a role model. It has gained a lot of clout among kids and builds a healthy competitive spirit. It gives your child the ability to think quickly, develop agile feet, build arm strength, proper hand-eye coordination, and visual accuracy. It also improves muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.

Why are team sports important?

Sports are essential in a child’s development for the following reasons:

  • Fitness

The most obvious advantage of team sports is physical fitness. Sports build cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, agility, hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes, build lung capacity and improve immunity. They also fight childhood obesity, boredom and keep your kids physically and mentally engaged.

  • Confidence

Playing in a team allows your child to discover hidden abilities and know that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. This allows the child to feel good about themselves and instil a sense of achievement once they see their abilities applied in a team. It also actively battles shyness and prevents anxiety and depression.

  • Discipline

Team sports need the discipline to develop teamwork. Following the rules of a particular sport will build discipline and avoid unruly behaviour. This discipline will serve them well as adults since it can be extrapolated to the workplace, handling finances, and conflict resolution. On top of these, the discipline gained helps in anger management, since most sports have strict rules about lashing out in anger or physical altercations.

  • Social skills

Playing as a team teaches children important social skills and how to live with people of different backgrounds, races, religions and cultures.

Why your child should play basketball

Your child can play lots of sports to enhance their discipline, physical fitness, and teamwork. But many of these sports don’t come close to basketball when it comes to an all-round well-developed child. It’s also a career sport, and your child may just be a future NBA legend. If you are looking to inspire your child into playing basketball, and hopefully becoming a star, you need to get good basketball shoes for them.

Please contact us today for more information on basketball, and all basketball equipment and accessories.

Basketball Equipment For Kids: Shoes, Uniforms, Gear & More!

It’s the start of a new basketball season and you’re just as anxious as your child.  There’s always a push to do better than last season. If anything, your child has been thinking about the shots they missed, that time they should have passed the ball earlier, and so on. 

If you’ve been around the basketball court for some time now, you may have heard your child’s coach tell them that they’ll only play as well as they have practiced, no more no less. That is a hundred percent true! But it’s hard to train right without the right equipment. Moreover, you can’t just forego some equipment and hope it works.

Here’s a list of basketball essential equipment for your child.

1. The Correct Basketball Size

What is the right basketball size? Is the basket always the same size? Until 2018, there were never any standard guidelines to answer these questions – each basketball organization played by its own rules.  A child had to deal with a different set of circumstances in each league. 

However, basketballs are like shoes. They are not a one-size-fits-all affair. An age-appropriate basketball helps a child to take control of the ball which boosts their skill development.

According to the official FIBA basketball rules (International Basketball Federation), the size and weight of the ball is different across different age groups. Check out this list.

  • Men & boys aged 15 years and up use an official size 7 basketball, measuring 29.5” and weighing 22oz. 
  • Boys aged 12-14 and girls/women ages 12 & up use an official size 6 basketball, measuring 28.5” and weighing 20oz. 
  • Children aged 9-11 years should use the standard youth basketball. This is the official size 5, measuring 27.5” and weighing 17oz.
  • Children aged 5-8 years should use a size 4 basketball measuring 25.5 inches and weighing 14oz
  • Children aged 4-8 years old should use a size 3 basketball (known as a mini-basketball), measuring 22 inches and weighing 10oz
  • Children aged 2-4 years – micro-mini basketball- should use a size 1 basketball measuring 16 inches and weighing 8oz.
  • Toddlers between 0-4 years old should use a toy basketball size measuring 9-20 inches and weighing 1 to 5oz.

2. A Hoop 

The standard rim size is 10 feet. If children had to work with this height, they’d only be working to throw the ball hard enough and not necessarily aiming to make a shot. That’s why coaches and basketball regulators agreed on reducing this height to help kids enjoy the game and develop their skills.

The basket should be 8 ft. off the ground for kids between 7-8 years and 9 ft. for ages 9-11 from the ground. This helps them shoot better and increases the opportunities to make better shots.

The basket in basketball can refer to the hoop or the act of shooting. According to Basketball Victoria, the basketball ring should be made of solid steel and have a minimum inside diameter of 450mm and a maximum of 459 mm. 

To help players see and aim more precisely, an open net is attached to each ring in 12 places with gaps smaller than 8mm. Depending on the design, the basket is fixed on one or several legs, and the hoop can include a jack system to fold during dunks.

To accommodate the needs of younger kids and toddlers, manufacturers have adopted adjustable hoops and baskets to use outdoors or indoors. Some rims can be adjusted up to 2.5 ft. and are portable 

3. The Right Shoes

It can be tempting to buy bigger shoes to accommodate the fast growth of children’s feet. But this works against them on the court. Bigger shoes invite sliding while small shoes can prevent foot growth.  Running shoes are not designed for quick side movements and therefore don’t work. 

The right basketball shoes are specifically designed to provide enough ankle support and great traction on the court.  The midsoles of the shoes take on the most pressure and lose their ability to cushion your child’s feet fast. 

The right treading supports fast side-to-side movements even in slippery indoor courts.  The treat should be about an inch thick.  Ensure you always buy fitting shoes even if it means buying a pair more often than you wish. 

If your child plays 5 to 6 times per week, purchasing new shoes every 2-3 months is ideal. Buy replacement shoes every 4 to 6 months for those who play 2 to 3 times per week.

Experts say wearing shoes for an extended period of time puts a strain on the foot, leg, and related soft tissue and bone structures. The stress will eventually cause a fatigue injury, rendering the player unable to participate in his or her sport. You can significantly reduce overuse injuries by making regular shoe replacements.

4. A Team Uniform

A uniform is just more than a requirement. It builds a team spirit -a way of saying ‘we’re a team and we’re in this together’. It also helps to teach children discipline because they can’t just get on the court in whatever they like. 

A basic basketball uniform features a loose sleeveless jersey, loose knee-length shorts and well-fitting shoes. When it comes to safety, the basketball uniform serves in the following ways.

The loose fit jersey and shorts make it easier to move unhindered. The right shoe size supports ankle movement, makes the player agile and prevents injuries. 

A uniform gets the player’s mind off of what they’re wearing to the game.  Additionally, the uniform helps in identifying the teams and offering support by wearing team jerseys. You can wear your child’s jersey to encourage them on the court.

5. A Quality Gear Bag

A basketball bag is essential for more than just carrying the ball. Most bags will have different compartments to allow your kid to carry their basketball,shoes, a change of clothes, their water bottle, phone and snacks.

With all these purposes, the last thing you need is a poor quality material or one that adds unnecessary weight to the bag. It should also be water-resistant and have quality zips and stitching.

Go for a comfortable bag. The straps should be padded, and help in distributing weight evenly across the body. A sternum strap which runs between the shoulder straps helps in providing extra comfort.

6. Protective Gear

You can’t promise your child a hundred percent injury-free basketball games but you can ensure they wear protective gear to prevent it. Apart from teaching them how to wear them correctly, you need to get the right gear including:

  • Knee and elbow pads: These are designed to withstand falls.  The exterior is typically hard and strong, almost always made of premium plastic. The interior is filled with padding made of impact-absorbing foam or the chemical called polyurethane.
  • Mouth guard: A mouth guard is meant to protect against breaking or losing teeth in case of a fall.
  • Braces. If your child has a history of accidents on the court, you can get bracing for protecting the ankles, knees and elbows.
  • Eyewear: Sometimes the ball ends up hitting the face. Glasses or glass guards prevent injury to the eyes and cheeks.


If you’re after quality, functional and stylish equipment for your basketball and we have them at And1. Shop now or contact us today!

5 Reasons Basketball Is The Right Sport For Your Kids

It has been widely acknowledged that sport can have a positive effect on a kid’s development. As the popularity of basketball surges worldwide, we have provided the five most significant reasons as to why basketball, in particular, is the right sport for your kids.

1. The mental health perspective

In a world where mental health issues are becoming more widely acknowledged and discussed, basketball could be one of the best sports for your kids to try out. Unlike traditional solitary sports such as golf or tennis, basketball is a very social sport and could help your child develop their self-confidence. This can also occur in a more gradual manner than in sports such as Australian football, which have large teams and can often be overwhelming. Some kids aren’t comfortable in large groups, so basketball could be a great starting point as there are only 5 players from each team on the court at one time.

Basketball is also a universally fun game to play, which means it may offer mental health benefits for your kid – it has been proven that there is a link between taking part in sport and the production of endorphins, the happy hormone. Basketball can also help to reduce stress by acting as an outlet or a distraction for pent up emotions.

2. Social Growth, Respect and Communication

In addition to this, another reason why basketball is the right sport for your kids is that these increased levels of social interactivity can greatly improve their communication. For example, when participating in a game, it is expected for players to come together as one, therefore providing your kids with the opportunity to learn appropriate ways of communicating with their peers. They will also develop a sense of teamwork, recognising the role they play within a group, which again is a great transferable skill. This will prove useful throughout their life and will help your kids understand how to better communicate their emotions and how to respond in a more appropriate way when others are upset or hurt, developing empathy.

3. Practical development

As well as the previous psychological reasons as to why your kids should play basketball, more practical developments must of course be taken into account. Basketball can be very strategic, so your children will have the opportunity to develop proficient critical thinking skills, learning how to use tactics to their advantage. This is another major benefit of playing basketball – its cognitive nature allows for the development of problem-solving skills that will be greatly beneficial throughout your kid’s life.

4. Physical development

As basketball is a physically demanding sport, it proffers all sorts of physical benefits for your kids. For example, the significance of hand-eye coordination in basketball is immense. In general terms, basketball greatly relies upon hand-eye coordination to ensure safe passes of the ball between players and when shooting at the hoop. This can have profound benefits for your kid’s developing eyesight and more general athletic practice, eventually leading to greater overall health.

5. Health benefits

Last but not least is the benefits basketball has in terms of health. It is a fast-paced sport, and there are various situations where a player may have to out-run another player. This means that stamina and agility – among other skills – are crucial. Stamina is built up through regular but balanced examples of prolonged physical activity, therefore, it can be developed in your kids through regular games. This will lead to great physical and health benefits, allowing them to build up muscular and cardiovascular strength, for example.

Stamina, in specific relation to basketball, however, would be greatly aided by the type of shoe that your children will wear to play. This is because different types of shoes are created for different types of feet, for example, wide shoes. Ultimately, the right shoe will positively impact your kid’s sporting performance. At AND1, we recognise this, which is why we stock a wide range of shoes for every foot type. We have created guides to greater aid your selection, and have dedicated members of staff on hand to help you with any further queries. For quality basketball shoes Australia wide, contact us at AND1 today.