2 Essential Skills that Every Youth Basketball Player Needs to Learn
Photo by Production Team

2 Essential Skills that Every Youth Basketball Player Needs to Learn

By Kaitlyn Fedor

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To be good basketball players, athletes need to practice a number of skills. There are drills for shooting, dribbling, passing, and defense. Basketball training camps and clinics can help develop all these skills and more. However, there are two useful skills every youth basketball player needs to learn that are often overlooked. Every player gains an advantage with great court awareness and solid ball control abilities. Keep reading for more about these essential skills that amazing ballers should have down pat.

Court Awareness

Knowing where we are on the court at any given second is important. It gives us an immediate advantage when putting up shots, distributing passes, and picking a direction to dribble drive. Court awareness is also vital for good defense.

The basketball court is full of distinct markings. Of course, there are boundaries surrounding the court, but there is also a three-point line, maybe two, plus a free throw line, lane lines, and the top of the key. Each of these lines represents an aspect of the rules, but are also great in helping to know where you are on the court. However, searching for a court marking on the floor may costa player a split-second.This can be the difference between an open look at the basket, or an opponent gaining a valuable advantage. Players benefit from training drills that help develop this court sense.

Shuffle drills are great for teaching foot movement, but their benefit is enhanced when players are drilled in going from one marking point to another on the court. Advanced drills can also involve putting blindfolds on players. This can be not only challenging, but fun.Players are asked to maneuver themselves from one point on the court to another, then announce where they think they are in relation to a court marking or the basket. All kinds of drills can be used to build other basketball skills, but mixing court awareness into the drills is a great coaching practice strategy.

Ball Control

The game of basketball is full of different types of players. Some are defensive specialists, or fantastic rebounders. However, to be successful as we progress from the youth programs to higher levels, we all must be able to exercise good ball control skills.

Ball control is more than just dribbling or the catch-and-shoot motion. Ball control at its most basic level is a feel for the ball in our hands. The best ballers work for hours on end to become increasingly comfortable with handling a basketball.

Individual drills are great for helping develop good ball control skills. Overhead fingertip drills are hard; they not only help to gain a better feel for the ball, but it also entails a shoulder workout.

We've all seen some remarkable pregame ball control regimes great players go through. Casual fans might wonder what purpose taking the ball around behind our back or between our legs might have in game situations.

The answer is, probably nothing directly, but it helps improve the touch feel of the basketball in our hands. Good ball control is the foundation for perfect shooting, artful dribbling, and pinpoint passing. It's a skill that takes hours of practice.

Wrap it up

These are underlying basics that should be essential to youth basketball training. Getting a better feel for the ball allows you to be a more intentional player. Being aware of your body in space on the court lets you better predict opponent’s moves and plan your next one. A great place to work on these skills is by taking part in a basketball camp, or a summer youth clinic. Players can check out the highly-rated camps by visiting The Hoop Group. This is a basketball dedicated place with tournament schedules, camp schedules and training tips for basketball players of all ages.