Beginners Guide for Players, Coaches and Parents

Beginners Guide for Players, Coaches and Parents
Guide for
Coaches and
Whilst care has been taken to trace and acknowledge copyright where it was known to exist, the
publishers tender their apologies for any accidental infringement where original copyright has proved
untraceable. This free publication is designed as an information source for people new to the sport
of basketball to gain some basic insight into how the game is designed, played and taught.
Basketball ACT hopes that it assists people new to the sport to develop a clearer understanding and
develops a desire for greater involvement.
Basketball ACT expresses its sincere appreciation to the following people and organisations who
contributed in various ways to the final production of this publication
FIBA and Basketball Australia for diagrams and rule definitions
Basketball NSW
Published by Basketball ACT
Originally edited by Stuart Jones & Andrew Coulter
Printed by Basketball ACT
First edition June 2004
Basketball ACT
PO Box 3268
ACT 2617
Phone: (02) 6253 3066
Fax: (02) 6253 3060
Web site:
1.1 Court Dimensions
1.2 Backboards & Baskets
1.3 Ball
2.1 Definition
2.2 The Modified Game
3.1 The Referees
4.1 Teams
4.2 Coaches
4.3 Uniforms
5.1 Playing Time
5.2 Beginning of Game
5.3 Jump Ball
5.4 A Field Goal
5.5 A Player in the Act of
5.6 Foul Shots
6.1 How a Free Throw is
Unsportsmanlike Fouls
Double Foul
Technical Foul
Team Fouls
8.7 Five Second Rule
8.8 Back court
8.9 Officials’ Signals
9.1 Body Movement and Control
9.2 Ball Handling
9.3 Dribbling
9.4 Passing & Receiving
Individual Offence
7.1 Personal Fouls
7.2 Five Fouls by a Player
8.1 Out of Bounds
8.2 Inbounding the Ball
8.3 Pivot
8.4 Travelling
8.5 Dribbling
8.6 Three Second Rule
10.1 What is Coaching?
10.2 The Key to Successful
10.3 Demonstration Format
11.1 Organisation and Planning
11.2 Goal Setting
11.3 How to Plan a Training
This booklet has been formulated by Basketball ACT’s development program. The primary aim is to
introduce novice basketball coaches to the game of basketball and create a basic guide for coaches
to teach. Rules, individual fundamentals, team structure, basic coaching techniques and a guide for
planning training sessions are also included in this booklet.
Every coach and teacher of basketball should recognise, understand and respect the principles and
spirit of basketball.
Coaches should make a commitment to developing an expertise of working with children. It is a big
responsibility, but can be very rewarding and enjoyable experience.
By putting the children first, and thinking positively, you can bring satisfaction and achievement into
their lives. By actively working with other adults you can create the right environment for continuing
enjoyment. By putting effort, progress and team spirit before winning, you can encourage discipline,
fair-mindedness, and sportsmanlike behaviour. And by adapting rules and equipment to suit
children’s needs, you can introduce them to a world of exciting possibilities.
Basketball ACT strongly urges club organisers, schools, managers and parents to use their best
endeavours to encourage good attitudes and behaviour from coaches. Coaches should be very good
examples to their teams and must refrain from criticisms of game officials and administrators and
making out-of-place comments.
Each referee has a major responsibility to be a friend not a severe judge.
Mini-basketball is theoretically a non-contact game, it is important to call the fouls that have a direct
bearing on the play. Children will make greater progress if they acquire good fundamentals and
understanding of the rules of basketball in the early stages of development.
He/she should show tolerance concerning violations which are of no consequence and which do not
give too much advantage to the offending player. A greater amount of tolerance is always needed
for beginners.
The playing court should be a rectangular flat hard surface free from obstructions.
The dimensions shall be: 28 meters in length by 15 meters in width.
Other dimensions may be used, providing the variations are proportional to each other, such as:
26 x 14m., 24 x 13m., 22 x 12m., and 20 x 11m
At each end of the court is a flat surface made of hard wood or a suitable transparent material, with
dimensions of 1.20 m horizontally and 1.05 m. vertically. The basket shall be 3.05 metres from the
playing surface to the top of the ring and mounted as shown in the diagram.
1.3 BALL
The ball shall be spherical, with an outer surface of leather, rubber or synthetic material. Size 5 ball
is used for 8 to 11 years olds, size 6 ball is used for 12 to 13 years olds and size 7 ball is used for 14
year olds to open age.
The purpose of the game is for each team is to throw the ball into the opponents’ basket and
prevent the other team from securing the ball or scoring, within the rules of the game.
Mini-Basketball is a game based on basketball for boys and girls who are eleven years or less in the
year the competition begins. The difference between Mini-basketball and Regulation basketball is in
the size of the ball and the level of contact allowed in the course of the game.
Two referees shall officiate the game in accordance with the rules. Both are responsible for calling
fouls and violations, to award or cancel field goals and free throws, and to administer penalties
according to the rules.
Each team consists of a maximum of 10 players.
5 players on the court and 5 substitutes.
A member of a team is a player when he/she is on the
court and is entitled to play. Otherwise he/she is a
The coach is the leader of the team.
He/she gives advice to the players, in a quiet, helpful and friendly manner, from the court side and is
responsible for the substitution of players.
He is assisted by the Court Captain, who shall be one of the players.
All players on a team shall wear the same coloured uniforms and shall be numbered on the front and
back of shirt.
Teams shall use only numbers from 4 to 15. Domestic competitions may also allow 20 to 25, 30 to
35, 40 to 45, and 50 to 55.
The game shall consist of two halves of twenty minutes each, with an interval of ten minutes
between them. Each half is divided into two periods of ten minutes each, with a mandatory interval
of two minutes between them.
The timekeeper controls the playing time, stopping the clock only:
1) on a foul
2) on a jump ball
3) at the end of a period
4) when a player commits five personal fouls or is disqualified
5) when a player is injured
6) when the Referee instructs the Timekeeper to do so
7) Clock does not stop after a basket only the last 2 minutes in last quarter.
After the game clock has been stopped, the Timekeeper will restart it when the ball is first touched
by a player on the court:
a) during a jump ball when it is tapped by one of the jumpers
b) following a throw-in from the side or end line
c) following an unsuccessful last free throw, when the ball is first touched by a player on the
The game is initially started by a jump ball in the centre circle.
The official shall make the toss between any two opponents.
For the second half the teams shall change baskets.
The clock is started when the ball is first tapped by one of the jumpers.
A jump ball is held at the start of the game at the centre line, at the
end of all subsequent quarters possession will then be determined
by the possession arrow. The umpire may also call a jump ball
during the game if two players from opposing teams are locked in
possession of the ball. The possession arrow will then determine
who gets the ball with that team taking it from out of bounds.
A field goal is scored by a player throwing the ball through their opponent’s basket. That players
team score is increased by two points If outside three point line, three points will be awarded. After
a field goal the opposing team must inbounds the ball from behind the baseline.
A player is in the act of shooting, when in the judgement of the Referee, he starts an attempt to
score and it continues until both feet of the player have returned to the floor.
A player who is fouled whilst trying to shoot a field goal is awarded 2 foul shots from the foul line.
Each foul shot is worth 1 point. If the last foul shot is missed the game goes on as if it were a normal
shot, if it is made the other team passes the ball inbounds from behind the baseline.
The shot for goal shall be made within five seconds.
Whilst the player is attempting the free throw, the player must not
touch the free - throw line or the court beyond.
When a player is attempting a free throw, a maximum of five other
players shall occupy the free throw lane spaces and
a) Two players from the defending team may occupy the two
places nearest to the basket.
b) Players who occupy lane places shall take up alternate
a) Shall not occupy lane places to which they are not entitled.
b) Shall not enter the restricted area, the neutral zone or leave the lane place until the ball has
left the hand(s) of the free throw shooter.
c) Shall not touch the ball while it is on its way to the basket until it touches the ring or it is
evident that it will not touch it.
All players who are not in the free throw lane places shall be behind the free-throw line extended
until such time as the ball strikes the ring or the free throw ends.
If the last free throw does not touch the ring and is unsuccessful, the ball is awarded to the
opponents for a throw-in from the sideline.
No player from either team may touch the ball until it touches the ring.
A personal foul is a player foul which involves contact with an opponent. A player shall not block,
hold, push, trip, or impede the progress of an opponent by extending his arm, shoulder, hip or knee,
or charge into an opponent by bending his body into anything other than a normal position to make
space, nor use any rough tactics.
(Hacking on the dribble)
If the foul is committed on a player not shooting, then the ball is awarded back to their team and
inbounded from behind the boundary line of the court nearest to where the foul occurred.
If a foul is committed on a player in the act of shooting the ball, they will be awarded two free
throws, if the shot misses. If the shot is successful then the player will only be awarded one free
throw. Each free throw is worth only 1 point.
A player who commits five personal and/or technical fouls must automatically leave the game.
He/she may be replaced by a substitute.
An unsportsmanlike foul is a personal foul which in the opinion of the Referee was deliberately
committed by a player. A player who repeatedly commits unsportsmanlike fouls may be disqualified.
Two free throws are awarded to the player who was fouled by an unsportsmanlike foul, unless this
player was shooting and succeeded in scoring.
After the successful shot or free throws, whether or not the last free throw was successful, the ball
shall be thrown in by any player of the free thrower’s team from out-of-bounds at mid-point of the
A double foul is a situation in which two opponents commit fouls against each other at approximately
the same time.
A personal foul shall be charged against each offending player. No free throws shall be awarded.
The game shall be resumed as follows:
If a valid field goal is scored at the same time, the ball shall be awarded to the opponent’s
team who scored for a throw-in from the end line.
If a team had control of the ball or was entitled to the ball, the ball shall be awarded to this
team for a throw-in from out-of-bounds.
If neither team had control of the ball, the game shall be resumed with a jump ball.
In basketball all players should always show the best spirit of co-operation and sportsmanship.
A player shall be warned if he/she disregards admonitions by the Referee or uses inappropriate
behaviour without involving contact.
After a warning the player shall receive a technical foul if the unsportsmanlike behaviour is repeated.
Penalty: A foul shall be charged and one free throws and possession of the ball for a throw-in
awarded to the opponents.
After 5 team fouls in a quarter all additional fouls shall be penalised by two bonus free throws, unless
it is an offensive foul (no team control)
The ball is considered out of bounds once it hits something or someone on or outside the boundary
lines (sidelines and baselines). A player is out-of-bounds when he/she touches the floor on or outside
the boundary lines.
After a violation or foul the team getting the ball throws the ball inbounds from behind the sideline or
baseline off the court nearest to where the violation happened.
A player who receives the ball when standing still or comes to a legal stop after catching it IS
A pivot takes place when a player who is holding the ball steps
once or more than once in any direction with the same foot. The
other foot, called the pivot foot, must be kept at its point of
contact with the floor. The player;
• may lift the pivot foot or jump, when he/she shoots for
goal, or passes, but the ball must leave his hands before
one or both feet touch the floor again
• may not lift the pivot foot in starting a dribble before the
ball leaves his/her hands.
To progress with the ball in excess of these limits is a violation,
and the ball is awarded to the opponents for a throw-in.
A player holding the ball must always keep one of his/her feet on a spot on the floor, unless he
passes, dribbles or shoots, the player may pivot on this foot. If a player moves this foot off the spot
without dribbling, passing or shooting he/she has committed a travelling violation and the other team
gets the ball from the sideline or baseline.
If a player wishes to progress with the ball he may dribble, that is, bounce the ball with one hand
onto the ground.
The player is not allowed to:
• dribble the ball with two hands at the same time
• let the ball come to rest in the hand(s) and then continue to dribble.
A player shall not remain for more than three seconds in the opponents’ restricted area (key) whilst
his team is in control of the ball.
An infraction of this rule is a violation and the ball is awarded to the opponents from the sideline or
A closely guarded player (within one normal step) who is holding the ball must pass, shoot, or
dribble the ball within five seconds.
A player whose team is in control of the ball in the front court may not cause the ball to go into
his/her backcourt. If this occurs the ball is awarded to the opponents from the sideline in their front
The centre line is part of the backcourt.
- Body weight slightly forward
- Run on balls of feet
- Head always in centre of body
- Eyes up
Change of Direction
- Plant foot in the direction that running (right foot running right)
- Knees bent & pivot to face new direction
- Inside foot up (ready to step into new direction)
- Push off pivot foot & step into new direction with inside foot
- Transfer body weight forward
- Run into new direction
Change of Direction with Reverse Pivot
- Turn away from opposition
- Thrust off pivot foot
- Knees bent
Stopping with a Jump Stop
Upon gaining possession of the ball either by receiving a pass or picking up a dribble the player must
establish a pivot foot. The first foot to touch the ground after gaining possession is the pivot foot, a
jump stop enables the player to use either foot as his/her pivot foot.
Both feet land simultaneously
Knees bent to absorb shock
Head in centre of body
Feet shoulder width apart
Stopping with a Stride Stop
- First foot to land is pivot foot
- Second foot is stopping foot
- Second foot restores body balance
back for
One foot plants
(pivot foot)
Stride to stop
with balance
- Pivot foot remains on floor
- Stepping foot may move in any direction
- Knees bent
- Pivot on ball of foot
The following drills are designed to give the players better confidence when handling the ball. Each
drill should be done for 30 seconds.
1. Body Wrap
- Push ball around body as fast as possible
- Control ball with fingers
- Feet shoulder width apart
- Keep middle of body still
2. Figure 8 Speed Dribble
- Feet wider than shoulder width apart
- Weave ball around legs in fig. 8
- Keep ball close to ground
- Tap ball with finger tip
3. Straddle Flip
- Hold ball at waist height
- Bounce ball between legs
- Catch with two hands behind back
- Bounce forward from behind back
To legally commence dribbling the player must release the ball from his/her hands before his pivot
foot leaves the ground
Speed Dribble
- Control ball with fingers
- Keep ball in front & to the side of body
- Eyes up
- Keep below waist height
Control Dribble
- Push ball down using fingers
- Ease ball back into hand
- Keep ball low (below waist height)
- Eyes forward (not looking at ball)
- Knees bent with balance
Cross-Over Dribble
- Body movement same as change of direction
- Dribble in same hand as the direction heading in
- Pull the ball back across body (below knee)
- Trap ball with other hand
- Keep ball low
- Control ball with fingers
Behind the Back Dribble
- Body movement same as change of direction & cross over dribble except its done behind back
- “Push under tush” (below bottom)
- Trap ball with other hand
- Control ball with fingers into new direction
Alley Dribbling
Players dribble from end-lines to half court and back zig zagging so as to work on crossover dribble,
behind the back, and through the legs.
Dribble Tag
Two or more players have a basketball and must dribble around attempting to tag the other players
without a ball. Players must keep dribbling the ball as they try and tag. Players without the ball try
to avoid being tagged by using change of direction, speed, forwards, backwards, jump stops, &
stride stops, once tagged move to the side of the court.
Passing the ball is the quickest method of advancing the ball in the game. Five basic rules should be
followed when teaching passing and receiving concepts.
Five Golden Rules of Passing and Receiving
1. Passer always “pass to the same colour” (put a name on the pass)
2. Receiver always “show ten fingers” (call for the ball)
3. Passer & Receiver always “step to shorten the distance”
4. Passer always “pass away from the defence”
5. Receiver always “catch it” no mater how bad the pass
Athletes who never break these rules will be great players. Coaches who are able to teach athletes
these skills will always have great teams.
Two hand chest pass
This pass is used most when running the ball down the
court. Not used often in the half court or if defensive
pressure (push pass required).
- Hold the ball in finger tips, not palms
- Fingers on the side of the ball (thumbs up)
- Step in the direction of the receiver when passing the ball
- Snap wrist & drag thumbs down the back of the ball
- Finish with arms straight & palms out
- Thumbs pointing to the ground.
Two handed over head pass
This pass is often used when feeding the post or passing in the key post to post.
- Hold the ball in fingers tips, not palms
- Ball held up above & in front of head
- With arms straight flick wrist to pass the ball
- Finish with palms out & fingers pointing to receiver.
One Hand Push pass
This pass is used when pressured by defence and must pass around the defender. It is the most
used pass in the half court game.
- Hold the ball in fingers tips, not palms (ready position)
- Push hand behind the ball (forearm parallel to the ground)
- Ball held in front & on the side of the body
- Push the ball by locking the elbow
- Snap the wrist (fingers point to the receiver)
Baseball Pass
This pass is used to throw the ball the greatest distance.
Often used when out of bounds to throw the ball in.
- Hold the ball in finger tips, not palm
- Throwing hand behind & under the ball
- Ball at ear
- Weight on back foot
- As thrown step onto front foot & through
- Straighten arm as shoulder rotates through the pass
Three Line Pepper Passing
Players in the line under the basket have balls. As the three lines run down the court passes are
made from the middle line to the outside line & back. The player in the middle passes & catches
from to one side line & then passes & catches to the other side line.
X Man Dribble, Pivot, Pass
Each player at the front of the four lines has a basketball. They dribble towards each other in the
middle of the court, coming to a jump stop when they reach the top of the key. Then using a
reverse or forward pivot turn to face the line they came from, step to pass to the next player in the
line. They follow their pass and join the end of the line. Receivers repeat dribble, pivot, pass, move
to the end of the line.
Holding the Ball to Shoot
- Hold the ball in finger tips not palm
- Fingers comfortably spread
- Shooting hand behind & under the ball
- Non shooting (guide) hand on the side of the ball
- Keep the ball on shooting hand side of the body
Foot Position through the Shot
- Feet under shoulders
- Shooting hand foot slightly in front of non shooting
hand foot
- Weight evenly distributed on both feet
- Knees flexed
- Push up to straighten legs when shooting
- Finish up on toes
Arm Position through the Shot
- Shooting hand elbow in front of hip
- Forearm parallel to floor
- Shooting hand behind the ball (wrinkle in wrist)
- Shooting hand fingers pointing up
- Non shooting hand fingers pointing away from body
- Ball lifted in front & on shooting hand side of body
- Shooting hand elbow under the ball (at shooting pocket)
- “C” shape created between hand, elbow, shoulder
- Drive ball by locking the elbow and wrist falls (“snapping”)
- Fingers drag down the back of the ball (creating back spin on the ball)
- Fingers finish pointing to the basket or ground
- Summarised by “Lift, lock and snap”
Lay up
The lay up is a shot executed on the move and close to the basket. There are a variety of lay-ups
over hand, under hand, finger roll, reverse, and power. Commonly the ball is shot off the backboard
before it falls through the basket.
Holding the Ball to Shoot a Lay-up
- Hold the ball in finger tips not palm
- Fingers comfortably spread
- Protect the ball on outside of the body
Lay-up Footwork
The foot on the ground when gaining possession is classified as the
pivot foot, you are allowed to take one step and lift the pivot foot as
long as that foot does not touch the ground before the shot is taken
it is legal. Therefore you are allowed one and a half steps when
shooting a lay-up.
Teaching the lay-up
Stage 1
- Stand on 45 degree angle to the backboard (on the side of the basket) one metre back
- Hold the ball in fingers on the side of body closest to the baseline
- Target area for the ball to hit is the top of the small square on the backboard (same side)
- Lift, lock and snap (shoot the ball)
Stage 2
- Stand on 45 degree angle to the backboard (on the side of the basket) one metre back
- Lift knee of the leg closest to the base line (standing on one leg)
- Hold the ball in fingers on the side of body closest to the baseline
- Target area for the ball to hit is the top of the small square on the backboard (same side)
- Lift, lock and snap (shoot the ball)
Stage 3
- Starting position at the block on the edge of the key
- Hold the ball in fingers on the side of body closest to the baseline
- Step with the leg closest to the baseline first
- Take another step with the leg closest to the free throw line
- Lift the knee up on the leg closest to the baseline and push off the other leg (jump)
- Reach up as you shoot the ball
- Ball to hit the backboard at the top corner of the small square (on the side shooting from)
Stage 4
- Starting at the block lift knee of the leg
closest to the base line (standing on one leg)
- Now bounce the ball twice with the hand
closest to the baseline (while standing on one
- Still standing on one leg grab the ball (with
two hands) and step with the raised leg at the
- Take the second step with the leg closest to
the free throw line
- Lift the knee up on the leg closest to the baseline as you push off the other leg (jump)
- Reach up as you shoot the ball
- Ball to hit the backboard at the top corner of the small square (on the side shooting from).
Stage 5
- Starting at the three point line 45 degree angle to backboard (straight line between basket, block
and three point line)
- Now dribble at the basket in hand closest to the baseline
- Pick up the ball on the edge of the key with leg closest to the baseline in the air with the pick up
- Land on the baseline foot take one step with leg closest to the free throw line
- Lift the knee up on the leg closest to the baseline as push of the other leg (jump)
- Reach up as shoot the ball
- Ball to hit the backboard at the top corner of the square (on the side shooting from)
2 Man Lay-ups
Two lines at half court one with balls (lay-up line) and one with no balls
(rebounding line). The first player in the lay-up line dribbles in and shoots a
lay-up as first player in the rebounding line runs in and rebounds the ball
after the shot and passes to the next player in the lay-up line. The lay-up line
runs to the end of the rebound line and the rebound line runs to the end of
the lay-up line.
Russian Lay-ups
Require 3 basketballs and minimum 5 players. Players who start with balls are 1, 2 & 4.
1 pass to 3 and cuts to the basket looking to get the ball from 2. 2 passes to 1 to shoot the lay-up &
2 runs down the court to receive the pass from 3 (diagram 1). 3 replaces 2 in the corner. 1 passes
to 3 & replaces 3 at the elbow. 2 passes to 5 and cuts to the basket looking to get the ball from 4.
4 passes the ball to 2 and shoots the lay-up.4 runs down the court receiving a pass from 5 & passes
to 1.
Horse (shooting game)
Can be played by 2 or more players. One player will shoot the ball from any position on the court.
If the shot is made they control the game, and the next player in order must make the same shot
from the same position on the court. If they miss they take a letter “H” . After all players have done
this the player in control of the game will shoot again from any position on the court. If made,
follow the procedure outlined above. Any missed shots result in that player gaining another letter.
The game continues till one player is labelled “HORSE”. To gain control of the game the player in
control must first miss their shot. The next player in order must make a shot from their chosen
position. The procedure is repeated until someone makes a shot.
“21” Spot Shooting
Players break into two or more groups (3 or 4 players in a group is ideal). Each group will have one
ball and will score as a group against the other groups to reach “21”. As a coach you want players
to get lots of shots up, so keep groups small and have several groups shooting at the same basket
just adds to the fun of this game as player balls will get knocked in or out by other groups as they
shoot. Coach picks a spot on the court where the contest will be conducted from e.g. the elbow,
block, etc. The first player in each group has a ball, if the first shot scores their group gets 2 points,
make or miss if they rebound the ball and catch it before it bounces they can get a bonus shot worth
1 point, make or miss they rebound and pass the ball back to the next player in their group and
move to the end of the line. The winning group is the first to accumulate “21 points”.
This is an individual contest within a group of players, containing two balls and 3 or more players.
The object of the game is for an individual player to score before their “killer” (player shooting next
in line) scores. First shot must be taken from the designated spot; shoot - rebound – shoot again if
first shot missed – repeat until a shot is made - rebound and return the ball to the next player in line,
move to the end of the line. If their killer scores before them, they are eliminated from the game,
they then rebound the ball pass to the next person in line and take no further part in the game.
Triple Threat, Ready Position, or Athlete Stance
All these term mean the same thing: a position where the athlete in control of the
ball can either dribble, pass or shoot. This position has the ball held in fingers, in
front and on the side of the body, knees flexed, (knees in front of toes not toes in
front of knees) feet apart (roughly shoulder width apart), back straight and head
over feet (nose behind toes).
In order for a player to create a shot for themself when defended they must be
able to get past the defender guarding them. Therefore athletes must be skilled in
moving the ball safely from one side of their body to the other ie over the head, or below the knees.
Never pulled across the body, in front of their chest or stomach. The most effective method in
achieving this is through “faking first”. By faking the offensive player is attempting to shift the
defenders head into a position where they are off balance. When this occurs the offence (who stays
in athletic stance as they are faking) should then quickly take advantage to get the shot away. The
efficient ways of doing this are through “ball fakes”, “body fakes” or a combination of both:
Shot fake
- From “stance” the offensive player quickly lifts the ball to above the head into the “shooting
pocket” ensuring that knees stay flexed, stay in stance (“ball up body down”).
- If this brings the defensive player out of their “stance” by reaching up to cover the shot fake
(straighten their legs) then the offence should quickly drive or dribble past the out of position
Pass fake
- From “stance” the offensive player quickly moves the ball away
from their body (simulating a passing action) or moving the ball
quickly from one side of their body to the other (again simulating a
passing action)
- If this moves the defender off balance (out of their stance) the
offence should take advantage to either shoot or drive.
“Drive fake” or “Jab step” and go
- Quickly step at the defender with a small step. ie lift foot and put
heel where toe was.
- Defence does not react to cover the step
- Offence lifts the same foot and goes.
“Drive fake” or “Jab step” and crossover
- Quickly step at the defender with a small step. ie lift foot and put
heel where toe was.
- Defence reacts to cover the step
- Offence lifts the same foot and steps across the body.
- Move in opposite direction to first step “drive fake” and go.
Rebounding, or gaining possession of a missed shot, is both an
offensive and defensive skill. Rebounding is about positioning not
about athletes’ height or jumping ability (these are small advantages)
positioning, desire, anticipation and reaction are what make the best
Tips to assist rebounding
• Shots taken from the side usually rebound long (opposite side from
the shooter) therefore get position in that area.
• The further out the shot is taken the longer the ball will rebound off
the ring when missed.
• It is easier to move forward to get a rebound than move backwards
if it rebounds higher or longer. ie don’t take up position too close
under the basket (the only rebound gained here is a score)
• Jump straight up and rebound with two hands (either side of the
• Time the jump so that athlete catches the ball fully outstretched at the height of there jump.
• Pull the ball to a position under chin with elbows out and up (squeeze the ball in fingers)
• Land with feet apart, knees bent, back straight, and head up (balanced) stance but with ball
under chin.
Defensive rebounding
- Want the ball to come to you
- Always get inside position on opposition (EARLY)
- Make and maintain contact with rear of body on the front of oppositions
body (block out) with any potential offensive rebounders (while the ball is in
- Stay in stance (with a straight back) to absorb any bumps and hold position
- Carry hands up fingers spread and pointing up ready to grab the ball
- Squash shoulder blades together with arms positioned parallel with the
floor and elbows bent (assist in keeping the block out and inside position)
- Sight the ball early and anticipate where the ball will land, how far and how
high the ball will rebound
- Time jump and aggressively “go get the ball”
- Never ball watch (forget to block a opposition rebounder out)
Offensive rebounding
- Want the ball to come to you
- Anticipate where the ball will rebound
- Move quickly to occupy that position on the court (while the ball is in flight)
- Always get inside position on opposition (EARLY)
- Never submit or accept a “block out” fight to gain or keep inside position
- Carry hands up fingers spread and pointing up ready to grab the ball
Rebound & outlet
This drill can be done on both sides of the basket at the same time. Coach or
athlete positioned for “outlet” (outside the “3 point line” and free throw line or
lower) Note: can move this position further up the court (stay close to sideline
and move closer to halfway line) if you wish to practice a longer out let pass
(baseball pass needed). Coach or athlete tosses the ball against the backboard
and the athlete “goes and gets the ball” (rebounds). Lands in “stance” with
ball held under chin (elbows up and out) pivot to move closer to the “outlet”
and pass, then sprint to half court and return to end of the line.
These drills are designed to teach athletes to time their jump to reach the ball at the height of their
jump and fully outstretched. In a line to the side of the basket the first athlete tosses the ball up
against the backboard (so as not to hit the ring) and moves to the end of the line. The second
athlete times their jump to catch the ball in the air and before landing gently tosses the ball back
against the backboard, lands and moves to the end of the line, repeat to continue the drill. Can
make the drill competitive by having teams compete, first to get to certain number of tips, must keep
the ball up for a certain time (no errors) etc.
Block out and play
Coach has a ball, three players on the edge of the key (defence) facing three
players matched up (offence). The coach shoots the ball. With the ball in
“flight” players move to get best rebounding position. Defence should
establish contact early on their offence player and establish and maintain
contact to block out. The offensive players should “fight” to gain inside
position (not allow themselves to be blocked out) so they can rebound.
Which ever player rebounds the ball “play”. If the defensive players
effectively block out and gain possession outlet the ball to one of the two
outlet receivers (pass to the side of the court rebounded on) and sprit to half
court. If the offensive team rebound the ball they look to score (play game
situation). If the offensive team rebounds and score reset the drill i.e. defence stays on defence till
they block out, effect an outlet and run to half court, when this happens the offensive team moves to
defence. With the offensive team now on defence a new group of three players move onto the court
on offence, repeat the drill.
“Animal or Gorilla drill” Rebound and score
Three players stand inside the key area, coach shoots the ball, which ever players rebounds the ball
they then try and score, with the other two players trying to stop them. If the player who rebounds,
shoots and misses who ever rebounds the ball next tries to score. Who ever scores first rotates out
and a new player replaces them. As the athletes become better at quickly scoring increase the
number of baskets required before they can rotate out i.e. must make 3 baskets. Keys: don’t allow
athletes to dribble at the start, all shots must be taken inside the key, can progress the drill and
allow dribble (1 or 2 max) encourage athletes to use shot fakes and pivots to open up shots. Coach
doesn’t need to shoot when player rotates in (especially when athletes require multiple scores).
Teams can play 2 types of defence, these being either man to man or a zone defence. However it is
strongly encouraged that all coaches teach man to man concepts first (especially for beginners).
Zone concepts require good man to man fundamentals to be effective, but more importantly, zone
defence stunts young players development long term. When skill levels are low, zones can be
effective however as skills of the offensive team improves e.g. strength increases with age so does
shooting range and consistency. Teams will struggle if they try and now attempt to play man to
Man to man
It is also easy for novice coaches to teach “man to man” as there are few grey areas i.e. “who is
responsible for that man scoring” every player should be matched up on an opposition player (use
shirt numbers to achieve this). The simple keys for coaches to help athletes learn are;
- Each player must guard one player always
- Players must always be closer to the basket and the ball than the player they are guarding.
- Players must keep their back to the basket and their player in front of them at all times, staying in
stance whether their player has the ball or not (will assist quicker movement by the defender).
- Players must always be able to see their player of responsibility and the player with the ball.
- Players must always be in “stance” when playing defence.
- Players should shift closer to the middle of the court (move off their player off responsibility) as
the ball moves further away e.g. ball on opposite side of the court from the man responsible for
(sag off to “help position”)
Zone defence
- Each player must guard players in their area.
- Players must be in athletic stance with hands carried high and out (look big and take up space).
- Players should move in the direction of every pass.
- Players must find opponent to block out when the ball is shot.
Alley drill
One ball between two players. The player with the ball attempts
to dribble past the defender. The defender playing in “stance”
moves their feet quickly and positions their body in front of the
ball carrier to force a change of direction. This process is
repeated down the court. On the way back reverse positions
offence to defence, defence to offence.
Close out and play
This is the most difficult skill defensively to master. It is the skill of moving forward quickly to close
down the space the offence has to operate so as not to allow a shooting opportunity with out
defensive pressure. Teach “closing out” from a position of “stance” athlete runs to quickly close
down the space between them and the offensive player while caring hands up (to restrict the catch
and shoot opportunity first) and maintaining a position of stance. The use of short steps (stutter
steps) while carrying straight arms up and throwing the head back as getting close will assist in
being able to move laterally if the offence decides to drive.
This can be done from various positions on the court. Athletes need to practice both short and long
close out techniques. Defence starts with the ball tosses the ball to the offensive player (in stance)
and moves forward to close the distance and establish good spacing (close enough to touch the ball
from a position of stance). The offensive player uses individual fakes to bring the defender out of
stance and open scoring opportunities. The defence after the “close out” positions there “nose on
the ball”, the goal is to maintain this position by quickly moving feet (laterally). The offensive player
will find it difficult to drive with the defenders body in line with the ball.
“Flat triangle” concept
This can be done from any position on the floor and a “flat triangle”
concept is the key teaching point. The “Flat triangle” is used when ever
the player being guarded does not have the ball. It is an imaginary line
drawn between the player with the ball, the player being defended, the
defender and back to the player with the ball. How “flat” the “flat triangle”
becomes is influenced by many variables involving physical attributes of the
athletes involved and team defensive philosophies (set by the coach).
Defending the lead
This can be done at any position on the court, but about 3 to 4 meters
spacing between the passer and the receiver should be maintained.
Setting up in the half court (see diagram 3 for choices). Following the
basic rules that the defender is always closer to the player with the ball but
between their defensive responsibility and the basket. The coach can
teach “in the lane, up the lane” or the flat triangle rules by simply pairing
up two players and asking one player to get open “creating a lead”. The
defender (using a flat triangle in stance) to be disruptive in allowing the
offensive player to catch the ball from the coach. Encourage the defender
to carry an arm in the passing lane (arm across the defender) while staying
in stance “low and wide”.
Shell drill
This is a great drill to teach man to man team defensive principles. Players play half court with
offence trying to score. Coach should ensure that defence follows the basic rules that the defender
is always closer to the player with the ball but between their defensive responsibility and the basket.
Everyone on defence stays in “stance”. With every pass the defence should adjust their position
(everyone jumps to the ball). Player guarding the ball with “nose on the ball” players away from the
ball “flat triangle” principles. Coaches should encourage talk between players. In this drill “key
terms” are; “BALL” player guarding the ball. “DENY” first obvious pass to the left and right of the ball
(one pass away from the ball). “HELP” or “SPLIT” the player guarding the offensive player furthest
removed from the ball. In early teaching the coach should control the speed with which passes are
made, eg coach to call pass.
Many people wrongly believe that the only qualification needed to coach is to have played the game.
While it is helpful to have played, it is not necessary to have ever played or even watched a game of
basketball to be able learn how to coach basketball successfully.
Coaching is a job that can encompass a broad array of feelings and emotions. Therefore, we should
consider some points, which could enhance our performance in this position as a teacher, and a role
Coaching is not simply about planning and understanding the technical aspects of the sport, neither
is it simply about communicating and dealing with individuals from different upbringing, maturity
levels, temperament, and personality, with different hopes, goals and ambitions. Neither
Coaching involves helping athletes to achieve their full potential by mastering all of the above
challenges and together with many more not suggested here, resulting in a great deal of satisfaction
seldom found in other challenges.
Therefore, coaching offers opportunities to learn how to become better at
¾ communicating,
¾ teaching, observing, and evaluating
¾ planning and organising
¾ leading, inspiring, and encouraging
¾ respecting individuals
¾ moulding individuals to work as a team.
♦ Coaching is teaching and teaching is communication and knowledge
♦ Communication is the most important process in being an effective coach/teacher
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that communication simply involves instructing athletes to do
something. Verbal commands should only encompass part of the communication process, when
coaching use demonstrations.
“Actions speak louder than words”
Remember communication involves transmission of messages, which need to be interpreted by the
receiver in the same way that they were sent. Therefore, use of verbal communication to assist in
the explanation of “how” to execute the skill should also include “why” it is done and “when” to use
the skill in a “game situation”. However, players need to see the skill being executed. This is of
extreme importance.
“We learn best by doing, not being told how to do it”
If you as the coach are unable to perform the skill correctly, use an assistant coach, one of the
players, or someone able to demonstrate the skill. Remember the following tips:
♦ Use correct technique
♦ Demonstrate the skill several times
♦ Slow down the action if possible, to highlight the teaching points in some of the demonstrations
so that the players can see every movement required to execute the skill correctly.
♦ Show the skill from different positions (change your position or move the athletes position to
observe the skill from a different angle) so that they gain a full perspective of it.
♦ Demonstrate using both hands or on either side of the court. Some skills require different body
movements, eg teaching a lay-up right left footwork and shoot with right hand or left right
footwork and shoot with left hand.
There are seven helpful steps that should be remembered and used when coaching. Adoption of this
process will assist in transfer of learning and acquisition of the “skills”
Gain attention
Use a whistle or a loud voice.
Name the skill
Give the skill or the drill a name.
Perform the skill while demonstrating and
highlighting the important teaching points
such as, position of the feet, hands etc
while executing the skill.
Athletes try
Direct the athletes into appropriate drill and
formation to practice the skill.
Coach observes carefully the skill, the
execution and technique and allows the
athlete to attempt the skill before stopping
the drill.
Re - group
Stop the drill and discuss with the athletes
their performance. Highlight their strengths
and reinforce the correct technique
Practice again
Allow the athletes to try again. If drill
allows, discuss the individual problems while
others keep practicing. Don’t stop the drill
for one athlete ie coach on the move.
Many novice coaches arrive at their first practice session with no plan of what to do. The result is
often that players realise that the coach is unorganised and unprepared and become unattentive,
frustrated and often disrespectful. Therefore the amount of quality teaching and skill transfer is
Planning is ESSENTIAL for successful teaching and coaching. The greater the time spent planning
and thinking the more efficient you will become and the more effective you will be in utilising your
training time. Better coaching will lead to faster transfer of learning by the athletes involved and
greater sense of satisfaction for the coach.
Planning is not just required in individual practice sessions. Effective coaches will plan or focus in
several different areas. Before the season starts there is much to consider in making the season
more enjoyable, successful, safe and a positive experience for all involved. Parents and guardians
will want to know; details of where and when games and practices will be, how much will it cost,
what is expected from them. They will also want to know about you; who are you (the coach) what
is your experience, philosophies, priorities regarding the team and individuals (their children are the
most important thing in the world). You as the coach need to be prepared for this. The use of a
check list will ensure that many potential disasters never eventuate. The list should cover some of
the following.
♦ Know all requirements of the organisation and the competition entering into, especially its
philosophy, goals, aims on and for youth participation.
♦ Registration of players and team. Does this include insurance coverage for the participants and
yourself? If not, get some.
♦ Facilities, equipment, instructional aides and any other materials needed for practice or games.
♦ Who and how will this be funded, taxes on the participants or fund-raising exercises.
♦ Team travel, permission, clearance forms, supervision, transport, equipment, parent contact
details and safety.
♦ Establish coaching priorities on having FUN, DEVELOPMENT of players’ skills, participation with
court time, and winning.
♦ Identify, select and meet with support staff, assistant coach/es and manager to discuss team
goals, philosophy, rules and plans for the season.
♦ Outline communication process between all involved.
Coaches don’t need to physically do all of this but they need to be across all areas. Enlisting the
support of a quality, organised manager to deal with many of these issues is an important step, but
you as the coach will need to tell them (the manager) what you expect from them.
The next step in the planning process is goal setting. What do you want your team to be known for
or be able to execute by the end of the season? Consider the maturity and skill levels of the athletes
that you will be coaching. Include individual skills or fundamentals, team concepts and tactics. This
may look some thing like this;
♦ Players will understand the rules of the game
♦ Players will understand the importance of and be able to execute and maintain stance both
offensively and defensively
♦ Players will be able to execute a left and right hand lay-up
♦ Players will be able to demonstrate basic shooting technique
♦ Players will be able to dribble with either hand and execute crossover moves
♦ Players will be able to gain possession of the ball with out travelling
♦ Players will execute accurate passing while stationary and on the move
♦ Players will be able to catch passes both stationary and on the move
♦ Players will understand how to position themselves and the body movements needed to keep an
opposing dribbler in front them
♦ Players will understand how to guard opposition players without the ball incorporating basic team
defence concepts
♦ Players will demonstrate a knowledge of court spacing
Taking a process which focuses on what you want athletes executing by season end will lead the
coach in the selection of the drills to teach the skills needed to achieve these goals.
All practice sessions should include:
♦ Warm up & stretching
♦ Reinforce and practice previously taught skills (progressively increase speed & intensity)
♦ Teach introduce and practice new skills break down drills
♦ Competitive games bring it all together
♦ Cool down
♦ Evaluate
When designing a practice plan, remember the six practice components listed above. Using a logical
progression whilst also incorporating your goals as a guide will assist in selecting the skills that your
players need to work on. The following is an example of the process.
Component Time
Warm up &
5 mins
1 min
7 mins
Cool down
Stretch &
1 min
6 mins
4 mins
6 mins
4 mins
4 mins
4 mins
7 mins
9 mins
8 mins
Activity or drill
Body movement fundamentals
Dribbling, protection, protection with retreat,
crossover, behind the back, through the legs,
wave, hesitation
1 on 0 forward moves
♦ Pull through to 1 dribble lay up
♦ Reverse pivot into a power lay up
♦ Square up shot fake 1 dribble power lay
♦ Square up crossover 1 dribble pull up jump
Box on the key passing
3 line passing 1 and 2 balls
Passing tag
Dribble tag
Pass cut
Pass cut fill and replace
Pass cut fill, replace, and reverse repeat
3 on 3 progress to 5 on 5
♦ Half court progress it full crt & return
♦ Must score of a cut
♦ Must get a ball reversal before a score
4 spot shooting
All team members shoot 2 free throws jog up and
back as a team on all misses
Stretch and provide feedback and evaluate
practice what done well
Alternate Possession – In a situation where both teams have possession of the ball
simultaneously. The rule of alternating possession means that the teams take turns getting the ball
decided by the Directional or possession arrow
Backboard – The rectangular board from which the basket is suspended.
Bank Shot – A shot where the ball is bounced off the backboard before going into the basket
Base Line – Or “End Line” There are 2 base/end lines, one at each end of the basketball court
Baseball Pass – A long 1 handed pass that is thrown with the same motion used to throw a
Basket – The goal. The basket has a hoop (metal ring) with net hanging from it. The hoop is
attached to a backboard and is 2.60m (Mini Ball) or 3.05m above the floor.
Bounce Pass – A pass in which the ball is bounced once between the passer and the receiver
Box Out – When a player turns or pivots into the path of another player attempting to rebound
Centre – A playing position. The centre is usually a taller player who plays close to the basket. The
centre usually starts the game contesting the jump ball.
Centre Circle – The circle in the middle of the basketball court. The centre circle is where the game
starts with a jump ball.
Chest Pass – A 2 handed pass that is thrown from the player’s chest directly to another player.
Coach – The coach is the team’s leader. The coach teaches his/her players how to play the game
and gives advice to the players in a quiet, helpful and friendly manner, from the sideline
Court – The playing area for basketball. The court is usually 28m long by 15m wide. These
dimensions may be varied as long as they are proportional e.g. 26m long by 14m wide etc.
Dead Ball – A dead ball situation occurs whenever the referee blows his/her whistle to stop the
Defence – When the other team has the ball, then your team is playing defence
Defensive Stance – The way you hold your body when you are on defence. Good balance, knees
bent, head up, comfortable, back straight, wide stance, Nose behind toes and head in the middle of
your stance
Directional Arrow – Or possession arrow is a device that sits on the score bench with arrow
pointing each way. The arrow indicates the direction of the team who will receive the next alternate
Dribbling – Bouncing the ball off the floor with 1 hand. You may use either hand to dribble but not
both at the same time. Once you pick up the ball you must pass or shoot the ball
End Line – “Or Base line” There are 2 base/end lines, one at each end of the basketball court
Fake – Using body language and the ball to fool your opponent
Field Goal – All successful shots are field goals except for free throws
Forward – A playing position. There are 2 forwards on the team
Foul – see personal foul
Free Throw – After being fouled by an opponent when shooting, a player gets 1 or more free
throws from the free throw line. Other players must line up around the key and cannot interfere with
this shot
Free throw Line – A line drawn on the court that is 4.2m (Mini Ball) or 5.8m from the baseline.
This can be brought closer depending on the age and the standard of the players
Guard – A playing position. There are 2 guards usually on a team. The guards are usually the
smaller faster players who handle the ball well
Guard – To guard a player means to stay with him/her and make sure he/she can’t get a shot
Inbound Pass –After a basket is made, or after certain fouls and violations, the ball is taken from
out of bounds and must be passed back into court to start the play
Jump Ball – The game begins with a jump ball. The tallest players (or best jumpers) from each
team stand in the centre circle facing the basket they are to score in. The Referee tosses the ball up
between the 2 players who jump and try to tap it to a team-mate
Jump Stop – When a player stops by landing with 2 feet hitting the floor simultaneously in a
balanced and ready position. The advantage of this is the player can then choose which foot to pivot
Jump Shot – When a player jumps in the air to shoot the ball while in the air.
Lay Up – A one handed running shot where the player is allowed to catch the ball and take 1 or 2
steps before shooting.
Team Manager – The person responsible for looking after the players off court requirements and
game day requirements not related to coaching.
Mid Court (1/2 Way) Line – Divides the court into 2 halves.
Offence – When your team has the ball they are playing offence.
Officials – Includes the referees, score table officials and statisticians.
Out of Bounds – Whenever a player touches the floor or any object outside the sidelines or end
lines, he/she is out of bounds
Overhead Pass – A pass thrown from over the head.
Pass – A pass one player throws the ball to another player. Passing the ball is the fastest way to
move the ball up the court.
Personal Foul – Any player who holds, pushes, hits or trips another player commits a personal foul.
When a personal foul is called, the team who has been fouled gets the ball.
Pivot – When a player turns on one foot to change direction. The foot that they turn on is called the
pivot foot. They can pivot in a forward direction (chest leading) or a reverse direction (back leading)
Player to Player Defence (Man to Man) – A defence in which each defender guards a certain
offensive player.
Point Guard – A playing position. The point guard is usually the best ball handler on the team. This
player does a lot of the on court organising.
Possession – When you have the ball in your hands you are in possession of the ball. A team is in
possession when one of its players has the ball in their hands.
Rebound – When a shot hits the hoop or backboard and misses the basket.
Referee – An official who makes sure the rules of the game are followed.
Shoot – To project the ball towards the basketball ring.
Sideline – There are two sidelines, one on each side of the court.
Square Up – When a player turns his body toward the basket before shooting.
Stride Stop – Player lands with a stride action, 1 foot touching the ground before the other. The
foot which lands first becomes the players pivot foot.
Substitution – Interchanging of players from off court (substitute) with those on court (player).
3 Second Rule – When your team has the ball and you are attacking the basket, a player cannot
stand in the keyway longer than 3 seconds. Once a shot is taken the 3 seconds starts again
Travelling – If a player walks or runs with the ball without dribbling, they are travelling and this is a
Triple Threat – A stance that gives the offensive player the option to shoot, pass or dribble the ball.
Throw In – A method of putting the ball back into play from out of bounds.
Turnover – Any error that gives the ball to the other team.
Violation – When a rule is broken.
Zone Defence – A defence where each defender guards a certain area of the court.
Further Reading
Basketball for Young Players, Printed by FIBA and available electronically at
Basketball Coaching Made Easy (5 Part Series). Printed by Basketball Australia
Basketball ACT
PO Box 3268
ACT 2617
Phone: (02) 6253 3066
Fax: (02) 6253 3060
Web site:
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