5 steps to teaching new basketball skills

Here is the step-by-step process we use when teaching a new skill in basketball. It’s an I.D.E.A.L way to teach, process, and incorporate a skill into any youth player’s skill book.


 STEP 1: Introduce the skill

When introducing youth to a new skill, let them know what the skill is called and how/why it should be used when playing in the game.

STEP 2: Demonstrate the skill

Once you have introduced the skill, demonstrate it using visual aids or hands-on demonstration and point out the critical teaching points. Teaching points are the elements to remember when learning any skill. Emphasize the teaching points so each player can visualize the correct mechanics.

STEP 3: Explore the skill

Let the player begin exploring and processing the skill at their own pace. When working with an individual give them praise and descriptive feedback to emphasize the important teaching points. During the exploration step mistakes are going to happen. Don’t stop them after every mistake, but if a mistake is repeated multiple times then allow the skill to be reintroduced and demonstrate again.

STEP 4: Ask Questions 

To further develop your player’s comprehension of the skill, be to sure to ask them leading questions. For example, a coach can ask an individual player or a group of players “What did you see?” or “Describe what happened?.” When coaches do this they are helping the player express their experience and interpret the situation so they ultimately understand why a decision was made. Don’t forget, asking questions is a two way street.

STEP 5: Live Situations

By the time a player reaches the live situation step, they can begin actively using the skill they’ve learned. The coach can recreate “game situations” to incorporate the skill, giving the player a sense of what the skill will feel like during a game.