Basketball Shooting Drills for Kids: Training the Next Kobe Bryant

STACK Expert Mo Skelton lays out five drills for teaching young players the fundamentals of how to shoot the rock.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant began playing basketball at the age of three.  As a child, her was notorious for studying NBA game film sent to him by his grandfather. No wonder he became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points.

Just like Kobe did, the next generation is already on the court learning how to play, and the next "Black Mamba" could be among them.

As coaches, we're responsible for training athletes to realize their full potential, from playing four minutes off the bench all the way to All-Star status. Basketball shooting drills for kids should be taught in a stepwise fashion and progress from stationary to moving to drills practiced off the dribble. (Read The Best Basketball Shooting Drills for Kids.) The earlier they learn the fundamentals of proper technique, like how to position themselves to get a shot off, the quicker they can begin developing the strength necessary to perfect a consistent and formidable jump shot.

The following are basic basketball shooting drills for kids who are just learning the game.

Triple Threat

This is the classic position for a shooter, giving him or her the option to dribble, pass or shoot: head up, both hands on the ball and feet staggered, with leading foot on the shooting side.

  • Assume triple threat position facing a wall
  • Alternate between dribbling and returning to triple threat
  • Alternate between throwing the ball against the wall and returning to triple threat
  • Alternate between shooting the ball straight up (not at a goal) and returning to triple threat

Table Top

This teaches the proper ball position and upper body balance for shooting.

  • Hold ball with shooting hand under the ball (palm flat) in the shooting position: ball just above the eye and in front of the forehead
  • Keep hand under the ball and the arm in the same position without losing it or letting the ball fall off the hand
  • To progress: take a "shot" up and out (but not at goal)
  • Let ball fall and bounce; catch it and reset the position
  • Final progression: take one-handed shots at the goal

Snake Bite

This is a drill to teach the follow through on a shot. It can be performed while shooting a free throw or taking a shot after performing the Table Top drill without a goal. The off hand can stay on the ball as it would on a normal jump shot.

  • The "Snake Bite" is simply following through with the shooting hand with a quick snap of the wrist and the fingers pointed forward, as if the hand were mimicking the action of a snake striking and biting
  • It's quick and fluid
  • To progress the drill, focus on the proper rotation of the ball, and hold the hand in the follow through position for a beat to focus on the action

Eyes on the Prize

A common problem for young shooters is taking their eyes off the goal when shooting, especially if they have been dribbling.

  • First lesson: finding the right spot to look at on the goal—i.e., the back of the rim or the right spot on the backboard if shooting a bank shot
  • To progress: get in triple threat, look away, then look back toward the goal and find the spot at the back of the rim
  • Progress to dribbling and walking and stopping where you would shoot from, and find the spot at the back of the rim
  • Finally, progress to running, stopping and finding the spot on the rim

Go to the Bank

Young shooters typically aren't great at geometry or physics. They may not understand the need to use angles to make shots, but teaching them how to use the backboard early can make them better shooters later in life. Go to The Bank is a drill to teach them the value of using bank shots.

  • Set up spots on the floor that are good places to shoot off the backboard and appropriate for the athlete's age
  • Award "money" (points) for making bank shots: the further from the hoop, the more money.
  • Coach decides values or how many shots are needed to earn rewards (like a bag of Skittles or a granola bar)

Check out even more basketball shooting drills for your next practice.

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