Tips for Beginners: Basketball
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There is something special about bouncing a basketball for the first time, feeling the ball hit the blacktop and spring back up or the satisfaction of wrapping your fingers around its circumference and mastering the one-handed grip. Basketball is a game that is played for the swish and televised for the ball movement, hops, and incredible athleticism. When a young athlete is first getting started playing basketball, there are three things they should focus on, Peter Panousopoulos founder of Parkway Hoops a youth basketball program in Brooklyn, New York, told TeamSnap.
“Dribble with both hands consecutively,” Peter said. “Count how many times you can keep your dribble and alternate hands and go for as long as possible.” Peter works with kids as young as 3-years-old and understands the excitement, but also how overwhelming bouncing a ball can be especially when it springs up fast and is bigger than some of the kids heads! “Once they learn the fundamentals of dribbling, like using your fingertips, they can start dribbling to music. Dribbling to a beat and rhythm can help you by dribbling to different cadences.”
Catching is another skill that can help you master the game. It doesn’t take much, “just throw the ball against the wall catch it. Start throwing it as fast as you can against the wall and graduate into catching with maybe one hand, left and right. Bounce it to the wall and try and practice also catching it over your head.” Don’t be afraid to get creative with it even that means going with making a catch with “one hand over your head, throwing the ball sideways, between your legs, just have fun.”
“When you are beginning, the only thing that matters is making the shot,” Peter said. “Form will come later.” When a young athlete makes the first shot, that’s a milestone. It’s not easy for a small kid to find the power to throw the ball up in the air, over his or her head and make it in a basket. Peter talked to TeamSnap about some of the basic ways to make the shot. ” The basic things that go into making the shot are getting your hands under the ball, and shooting straight up. Follow through to the rim and make sure that your index and middle fingers go up. Once you make your first shot, how many in a row can you make? Pick multiple spots that you know you can make in a row.”
Future basketball players, take the time to practice consecutive dribbling, catching, and shooting. But, above everything else, find what it is about the sport that you enjoy. “I always ask a new player that I’m coaching, what do you like about basketball? Some of the responses have been making shots, being on a team, being with friends, dribbling, making a great pass, blocking shots,” Peter said. For any players just getting started, gravitate towards those things that you like. And for the parents of future basketball players, finding a well run program is crucial. Peter suggest to “Look for an environment that not only will teach the kid well, but has high-quality educators.”
“When someone is starting out, you need a coach who is going to teach the kid, not necessarily teach them to win a game yet. You want the kid to be empowered and inspired to continue playing.”
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