Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills


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Youth Dynamic Warm-up

Fullcourt, halfcourt, cross-court.

a) Animal walks (with appropriate animal noise)

  • horse - gallop like a horse (skipping)
  • deer - bounding, hold the knee high in the air
  • dog - walk on hands & feet, opposite arm and leg (to get a good hip stretch, occasionally raise a leg to a pretend tree)
  • flamingo - balance on one foot, reach down and touch floor with other hand
  • kangaroo - hopping on two feet
  • frog - squat down and explode out into a two foot jump
  • duck - walk in a crouched position, keep the arms in like wings
  • Frankenstein - with straight legs, walk forward touching opposite arm to toe
  • inchworm start with hands on the floor, walk hands out into push-up position then walk the feet to the hands, continue
  • crab tummy facing up, both hands and feet on the ground
  • bear walk same hand and foot together
  • spider pretend to crawl along a wall, stay close to the floor
  • seal drag feet and pull yourself along with your arms (flippers)

b) ABC jumping (agility, balance, coordination)

  • star jumps, pencil jumps (jump in the air, legs together, while slapping hands together above your head in a point), tuck jumps, spiral jumps (180 turns)

c) Tara VanDerveer

  • toe walks - arms in the air, forward to halfcourt, return backwards
  • heel walks
  • knee pulls (to chest)
  • froggy - knee up then out, alternate (stretch the hips)
  • slow-fast-faster-fastest (acceleration) - forward fullcourt, backwards coming back
  • tin man - left foot up to touch right hand, alternate (Frankenstein)
  • monster - lunge walk, arms out wide
  • run, change directions on a whistle (180 degrees)
  • run forwards then backwards on each whistle (progression - slide, change direction on a whistle)
  • skipping - forward to halfcourt, return backward
  • lean and run - lean forward, jog at the last second
  • jumping (on the baseline)
    • front and back (two feet, each foot), side to side
    • jump and freeze - jump sideways to the right foot and freeze, left foot etc. (like speed skaters)
  • running mirror with partner, sliding mirror

See Dribbling - Change direction, Defending - Duke mirror, Duke speed skate, Duke reaction drills.

d) George Karl

  • quad pulls to halfcourt - grab each ankle behind you
  • high knees
  • jog to halfcourt, return backwards
  • slide to halfcourt and back - coach calls "step, step", progression - coach call "step", players take 3 quick slides and stop
  • knee pulls
  • skipping
  • carioca
  • run to halfcourt, backwards to far baseline, repeat coming back (SNYB - backwards to halfcourt, forwards to the far baseline, repeat coming back, relay race)
  • hopping (sideways hop in the air, bring feet together, like a rabbit)
  • butt kick
  • sprint halfcourt and back
  • arm circles on the baseline
  • leg swings on the baseline - front to back and side to side, each leg
  • side lunges - walk, side lunge, stretch both ways (groin stretch)
  • layup footwork R-L-jump to halfcourt, come back L-R-jump
  • high-knees walk to halfcourt with right-hand dribble, back with the left hand
  • slide to halfcourt left-hand dribbling (escape dribble, the left foot leads), back with the right hand (the right foot leads)
  • dribble right hand to halfcourt, return backwards dribbling with the left hand
  • crossover dribble to halfcourt and back

Dribbling can be combined with many movement drills, e.g. running, skipping, high knees, sliding, starts and stops, change of direction, hopping, see Favourite drills for kids (motor skills).

For other dynamic warm-up options see Conditioning - Early time (basic running), Dynamic basketball warm-up and Line drills for quick feet (pdfs), e.g.

  • run, jog etc. while holding a ball overhead, or just with both hands up in the air
  • v-cuts, stops, pivots
  • crossover step, front step-over, reverse step-over, straight-leg bound
  • X hops over a line, Ali shuffleup


2007-19 Eric Johannsen