Who doesn’t love basketball? It’s one of the most popular sports in the country, as well as in schools.
It’s a game that prioritizes teamwork, planning, and endurance, all skills that are valuable on and off the court.
When kids first start bouncing a ball around, it’s unlikely that they’ll have the coordination to work through a game of basketball.
So, how do you start to improve your kids’ focus and knowledge of proper basketball fundamentals? Well, you can always start with drills.
Basketball drills can strengthen your class’ knowledge of all kinds of aspects of the game, like shooting, passing, defense, and court vision, as well as others.
Practice makes perfect; even if your middle school kids are already pretty good at basketball drills, going over their fundamentals every chance you get is going to result in confident and competent players.
You might be wondering what kinds of drills you should run through with your middle school children, but wonder no more!
Here, we have compiled some of the best basketball drills for middle school kids to try to improve their understanding of basketball fundamentals.
These drills have been grouped together in the different skill sets that they work on to make it easier to create a drill session that covers all of the important points.
So, without further ado, let’s get stuck in!
Shooting And Layup
1. Elbow Shooting Drill
These drills not only help your students establish solid shot stances and how to shoot from their elbows, but they can also help them learn a format for their rotations whilst practicing shooting drills.
2. Shooting Line Drill
You can bring in some healthy competition by using a shooting line drill as a fun game.
Stand your students up in a line and get them to shoot for the hoop one after the other, allowing them to count how many times they get it in.
This fast-paced drill gets your kids moving and improving their shooting skills all at once.
3. Multipurpose Offense And Shooting Drill
For this drill, you will split your class into two lines. This is a fantastic warm-up for any skill level so that your kids can work on their layups.
This game might take a little bit of explanation the first time that you play it; however, once your students get the hang of it, you’ll find that it’s a fantastic way to get their minds and bodies working first thing in class.
4. 2 On 1 Fast Break Drill With Trailer
The 2 on 1 fast break drill shows the players how to successfully finish if they get stuck in a 2 on 1 situation out of the fast break.
They also get a trailer, meaning that if the offensive team takes too long to finish, they’ll lose their advantage. We like this drill because it instills the importance of teamwork and fundamentals.
5. Quick Draw Shooting Drill
If you’re looking for a drill that will get your players thinking on their feet and working on their reaction time, then this Quick Draw Shooting Drill is perfect for your kids.
Practice their shooting clutch shots whilst challenging their brains into overdrive.
This is a great counterpart to the multipurpose offense drill and should be incorporated at the end of the practice.
Dribbling And Handling
6. Dribble Relays
For a simple drill that will get your kids working on their dribbling and general ball handling, this is a great place to start.
Though it might be considered basic if your kids have played a lot of basketball, it’s always important for them to work on the fundamentals.
And for students who maybe haven’t had a chance to play very much, this could greatly improve their confidence.
7. Pirate Dribbling
If you want to inject some fun into your gym class, then definitely consider introducing your students to pirate dribbling.
This game is kind of like tag but with basketballs. It’s a great drill for working on fundamentals while also prioritizing fun.
8. Beat’em To The Left
As important as it is to improve your dribbling skills with your dominant hand, it is equally important to build strength and coordination with your non-dominant hand as well.
This drill does just that and encourages students to improve their dribbling and finishing with a weak hand.
9. Random Traps
The aim of this drill is to get your kids used to thinking on their feet and reacting quickly to events around them.
By having your students practice a drill like this, they get the opportunity to play as both the offensive and defensive players, ensuring that they get a balanced practice of both.
10. Dribbling With Traffic
The last of our dribbling drills involves players practicing their dribbling, as well as simulating the chaos that they can expect to find in an actual game of basketball.
Your kids will need to keep their heads about them so they don’t run into each other and focus on where they’re going.
11. Steve Nash Passing Series Drill
This drill has it all— ball handling, hand-eye coordination, catching, ambidexterity, and passing.
It’d be best to incorporate this drill into the bulk of your class, as it establishes a lot of different skills that you’ll want to build throughout your practices.
12. “Hero” Drill
The “hero” passing drill is a really good way to improve your students’ reaction time, as well as their chest passes. It is a fast-paced and continuous drill that can help your kids speed up their basketball ability.
13. Defensive Drift Drill
For a drill that gets your kids practicing their passing, defense, and shooting, then this is a great option that you’ll want to implement in all of your classes.
The defensive drift drill could wind up being a winning move if you can start to incorporate it into your games as well as your practice.
14. Wall Passing Drills
If you want your kids to be able to work on their individual skills, then you might want to get them working on some wall-passing drills.
Not only do these maximize the amount of repetitions that your kids can do, but the different styles of wall pass will work different parts of their coordination.
15. No Dribble Passing And Decision-Making Drill
We like this next drill because it feels a lot more like a game and makes it easier for kids to enjoy themselves during practice.
The distance, angle, and context of each pass will change constantly and require your students to make better decisions and consider the defense before they pass the ball.
16. Go, Go, Go!
Go, Go, Go! is a fantastically fun game that teaches several fundamental skills in a way that is fun for your students. This could be a great way to either start or finish your lessons, or both!
17. Pivot 21
Footwork can be something that a lot of middle school children struggle with, and getting them to practice it can be difficult.
So, instead, try encouraging them to work on their footwork by playing this fast-paced game.
18. Dribble Tag (Everyone’s It)
If you want to build some healthy competition that also works on your players’ abilities in dribbling with your head up and ball handling, then dribble tag is the perfect game.
19. Dribble Knockout
Take a classic game of knockout and add some variations on typical dribbling to create a great game that can be a real skill builder for your middle school kids.
20. Chaser Drill
Demonstrate to your kids how to stay low, fake, and hip turn effectively in a game setting. It’s a lot of fun and great for kids of all ages.
Working on this kind of footwork improves mobility and strength training, which can result in a lot fewer sprained ankles.
Next time you’re leading basketball practice for a class of middle schoolers, give some of these drills a try to build on their fundamental skills.
All of these drills should be accessible to middle schoolers, regardless of skill level.
However, there are ways that you can increase or decrease the skill level depending on the ability level of your students.
Now, take a look at these volleyball drill ideas.