Coaching Youth Basketball
Preparing for the Season

Flames Youth Basketball E-Zine, Issue #001 -- Preparing for the Season

In this issue...

- Let's get a MASTER PLAN together that will allow us to TEACH the whole season.

- What primary YOUTH BASKETBALL FUNDAMENTALS should we teach the kids, and how should we teach them?

- What OFFENSE should we run?

Special Note:

Thank you for subscribing to our Flames Youth Basketball E-Zine. We hope this information is helpful as you prepare for the basketball season. We plan to send this E-Zine each month during the basketball season. Please let us know how we can help!

Bruce Nixon
Flames Basketball


We think it is helpful to start the basketball season with a CHECKLIST that will allow us to plan over the course of the basketball season. It is easy for all coaches to plan the first couple weeks of practice and focus on teaching fundamentals to the kids. However, the game schedule comes out and there is always the pressure of preparing for that upcoming game. As coaches, we want the team to be ready for that first game and have the Offense down and our Defense ready, and what to do if we get pressed-both man and zone press, and if you get double teamed what to do, and be ready to execute those 7 inbounds plays we worked on once in practice, and we can't forget about our fast break and secondary options, and if our Motion Offense is not working remember to read that and go to our modified Flex with Dribble Drive options.

WOW, you get the idea, the kids, and parents, and coaches, will not be ready for any of this stuff with 1-2 hours of practice per week.

AND, that's OK - it's only early December - we need to be teaching them how to pass and catch, pivot, shoot, dribble, guard, and deny. And, you know what, that may be all we get to this season, but by February, each kid and the team will be more ready to learn the advanced stuff.

Each kid and the team will improve each week both physically and mentally and the whole basketball experience will be positive as everyone learns and improves from December to March.

BUT, this is easy to write about, and very hard to do as a coach. It takes patience and discipline and a willingness to get clobbered by teams that press the first game of the year.

We have prepared a COACHES CHECKLIST that we hope is helpful in looking at the whole season and planning your teaching schedule and methods. Please click here for our checklist ....

Youth Basketball Coaching Checklist

What primary YOUTH BASKETBALL FUNDAMENTALS should we teach the kids, and how should we teach them?

It is encouraging to walk in a gym and see many youth basketball teams working on fundamental basketball skills. As most youth basketball teams have a limited amount of practice time during the week, it is a challenge to devote most of your practice time to individual skill development. One of the most complimentary things a youth coach can hear is that your kids are fundamentally sound, they handle the ball well, and can really shoot it.

In watching youth basketball, we all know the game has a tendency to be dominated by one or two players on each team. This is just a natural thing, and even at higher levels, is part of the game. But at the youth level, there should not really be the role player position. In other words, the rebounder, the ball handler, the shooter, the defender. We should all have the goal of making all our kids ball players - well rounded with the ability to fundmanentally play the game. Our best players can help us with giving other players the opportunity to learn and develop and we should encourage, expect, and show them how to do that.

So the question is:

What fundamentals should we TEACH?
HOW do we best TEACH those fundamentals?

We have developed a Youth Basketball Fundamentals Instructional DVD to answer these two questions. Our goal was to develop a DVD that contained Menu's for Ball Handling, Offense, and Defense that the coach and parent can use as a guide for teaching basketball fundamentals. Although the DVD content contains over 2 hours of instruction, the Menu's allow for direct navigation to each basketball skill. So, if tonight's practice or this afternoon's workout in the driveway is to work on pivoting with the basketball, the coach or parent can navigate directly to the Pivoting Chapter and watch the 15 minute segment on how to teach pivoting. Our DVD includes 27 Chapters of fundamental basketball skill instruction.

Information on our Individual Basketball Fundamentals DVD can be found here...

Youth Basketball Instructional DVD

What OFFENSE should we run?

By far, this is the most common question we get from youth basketball coaches. This is a great question and one that we have invested a lot of research in trying to answer in a helpful way. The great thing about basketball is there not only one right way to play the game. The best coaches and teams in the world sometimes teach completely opposite of each other, but have very good success.

We try to step back and look at the overall goal of teaching kids how to play. We feel that most basketball OFFENSES are made up of a small number of basic 2 and 3 player combinations. These combinations, along with spacing, balance, timing, and communication, form the foundation that is so important for the youth players to develop as they grow up to higher levels of play.

The 2 and 3 Player Combinations we teach are:

- Screen and Roll
- Screen Away from the Ball
- Backdoor Cut
- Give and Go
- Dribble Hand-Off
- Shallow Cut
- 3D - Drive, Draw, Dish
- Play Away from Support

Click here for a detailed explanation of each Combination

2 and 3 Player Combinations

If we do a good job teaching these 2 and 3 player combinations to the kids at a young age, they will be well prepared to learn and do well within any Basketball Offense in the future.

One concept we use as a guide is "teach the kids HOW TO PLAY, before teaching them HOW TO RUN PLAYS".

Kids can become robotic and have a tendency to go here and pick here, independent of the game situation. It is good for the kids to develop playing instincts based on the game situation. This is not to say that a structured Offense is wrong for youth basketball teams. Many youth coaches do a fantastic job of teaching both a structured Offense AND teaching the kids the basic team fundamentals for Screen and Roll, Backdoor Cut, and Give and Go.

We have worked hard over many years developing an Instructional DVD to teach these basic team fundamentals. Please click here to view our DVD product details...

Team Fundamentals DVD

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? We'd like to hear from you. Just reply to this e-zine and tell us what you think!

See you next time!

Bruce Nixon
Flames Basketball