YOUTH BASKETBALL SET PLAYS



by Trevor Sumner



Basketball is one of the most popular youth sports for many reasons, but undoubtedly the creativity involved is a driving force why it's fun and exciting for kids to play, coaches to teach, and fans to watch. There's always an opportunity to surprise the defense or offense either with clever dribbling moves, strategically moving without the ball, deceptively getting your shot off, or executing innovative & trick plays.

Practicing set plays in your youth basketball practice can be tedious and repetitive though so it's important for the coach to find ways to make it interesting and more fun to keep the team engaged, especially with youth basketball players whose attention spans are often short.

Below are some tips to coaching basketball set plays as well as some basketball offensive and defensive plays for youth basketball teams of all ages.

You can also find many good free youth basketball set plays and drills online at websites like Weplay.com.

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Basketball Coaching Tips: Set Plays

* Offensively, the key to executing plays efficiently in games is through tons of repetition in practice so that every player knows exactly what they're doing by muscle memory. It's also important that each player knows the role of every other player in the play. In practice, have each player practice each position of the play to make sure your offense runs without any mistakes no matter the situation. This way if the play breaks down, your team will not panic and players will still be able to execute if they're out of position.

* It's helpful to diagram all the plays in a playbook and give them to each member of the team so they can study them at home or during the day when they have some free time. If you want to be tough in practice, quiz members of the team about the plays, and if they get the answer wrong…time for some suicide sprints! That should only be for the more advance youth basketball teams though; you want to keep practice fun and comfortable for the beginners so they stay with it.

* As a coach it's important to be creative with your offensive & defensive basketball strategies to not only surprise the opponent but also to keep practice fun and engaging for your team. Even if you never plan to use them, the team will appreciate practicing a trick play from time to time to stay loose and keep things interesting.

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* Another way to keep basketball practice fun is to break your team up into two teams and then design separate last second shot plays for each team to practice on opposite sides of the court. After they have mastered their plays, have the teams square off and try to execute them against each other so the element of surprise is still in place. Running scrimmages at the end of practice this way is a good way to end on a fun note.

Youth Basketball Offensive Plays

* Basketball Motion Offense: Ideal for beginner youth basketball teams, the motion offense is a generic term for any offense that uses court movement, cuts to the ball or the basket, and good screen setting. The one thing that separates the Motion offense from others is that it is quite flexible; you don't have to have set plays every time you bring the ball down the court. Instead, the Motion Offense is focused on teaching players to use a basic set of rules for their movements, and then to react to what is being done defensively on the court.

* Out of bounds: For example, the "Stack" Out-of-Bounds Basketball Set Play is a great play for inbounding underneath the offensive basket. Learn to execute this play in practice and use it during basketball games to bring the ball in from out-of-bounds and set your team up for an opportunity to score a basket.

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* Fast Break Basketball Drill: The fast break is a great way to score baskets quickly and is the fastest way to transition from defense to offense, but it takes a lot of practice to execute this basketball drill correctly. This basketball drill shows that the rebounder should pass to the outlet player, who then gets the ball to the middle of the court; his teammates should fill the lanes staying wide while the guard dribbles down the center to the free throw line. The last two players are trailers and cut to the inside looking for a pass from the outside lanes.

Youth Basketball Defensive Plays

* Man-to-Man Denial Defense: In this denial defense basketball strategy, players must be in a good defensive stance using short quick steps and their peripheral vision to stay close to their defender while also knowing where the ball is at all times. This basketball defensive strategy teaches defensive players how to properly cut off the passing lane when he or she is one pass away from the basketball and trying to deny their man from receiving it. Make sure to coach against the common mistake of allowing the opponent to get in for a backdoor basket.

* Zone Defense: There are several types of zone defenses to learn, but the most common and easiest for beginners to learn is the 2-3 zone where two guards protect the top of the key on opposite sides, two forwards defend the opposite block areas and the center protects the middle of the paint. Depending on where the ball is, each player rotates to protect their open area, but never following an individual out of their zone. Communication is key to letting teammates know where the offensive players are and are moving to without the ball. Defenders guard their area, not a particular individual.

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By Trevor Sumner who works for Weplay.com, a youth basketball community dedicated to providing parents coaches and athletes the tools and information to celebrate the love of the game. Weplay.com has one of the most comprehensive, free basketball drill libraries in its active basketball community.



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