Basketball Shooting Games
The life of a basketball coach is incredibly rewarding. Here you will find basketball shooting games and drills to help you coach your team, players, or PE students up.
Not only do you get a chance to watch new players develop their talent and athleticism, but you also get to pass on your joy and passion for the game.
Teaching the next generation of basketball players about the tradition, the sportsmanship, and this competitive game.
In this article:
- Coaching tips
- Positive Reinforcement
- Keep Things Simple
- Basketball Games for 2 Players
- Basketball Games for PE
- Basketball Relay Games
- Games to Play by Yourself
- Drills for Kids
At the same time, coaches are always going to be under the pressure to win. Tasked with helping children develop faster, new coaches find often find themselves dealing with parents with unrealistic expectations.
On top of that, today’s youth coaches are almost always challenged to lay a foundation for basketball players that can be built on top of later down the line.
The responsibility to get them ready for more competitive basketball leagues and games later in life isn’t something to take lightly.
But that’s why we’ve put together this quick guide.
Below you’ll find tips and tricks to help you run more effective and efficient drills to help build the skills of your young basketball players.
Many of these drills focus on the fundamentals – particularly shooting – but also help to foster a joy and passion for the game, too.
Almost all of them focus on teamwork just as much as shooting form and technique.
Best of all, these drills are pretty simple and straightforward put into play.
You aren’t going to have to relearn the game of basketball from the ground up to make these drills work. Instead, you can start incorporating them directly into your practice schedule straightaway.
Let’s dive right in!
Coaching Tips for Running Smarter and More Effective Drills
Choosing to become a coach is never simple or straightforward. It requires a lot more than just real passion for the game and helping children develop.
All coaches are going to take on a very serious role in the lives of the children that they have on their teams. This is often a mentorship position that can last a lifetime.
There’s a reason why some of the most successful athletes in all of history routinely credit the coaches they had in high school for the success they were able to enjoy later down the line.
Because of this responsibility, there are critical things you want to focus on. These core elements help you get better as a coach and also give the players your teaching the game a better shot at success, too.
Sure, these drills will help to train better shots, better ball skills, and better decision-making. But you’ll also be training better teamwork, sportsmanship, and passion for the game.
The most important thing you can do as a coach is to choose to be deliberate and intentional with each single decision you make in practice and in games.
Structure is necessary whenever you are trying to corral children into learning a new sport.
The intention to not only “run through the motions” but really focus on fundamentals is key.
You want these athletes to get better and to see improvement in ALL of your drills. This will go a long way towards setting your athletes up for success.
Positive reinforcement (try using positive affirmations for your players too) is a big piece of the puzzle, particularly at the youth levels of this sport.
The odds are pretty good that later down the line they are going to get quite a bit of negative reinforcement as they move through their basketball lives.
There’s no reason to add that kind of burden of stress and anxiety to young athletes.
Many of these athletes are just getting started with the basics and haven’t yet hit more serious and more competitive levels.
By all means correct what needs to be corrected with your young athletes. But try to do so in as positive and as encouraging a way as possible.
Let them learn the hard lessons through losses that are inevitable rather than adding more to their plate and potentially discouraging them from the game of basketball altogether.
Keep Things Simple
Legends of the game – Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, etc. – went through some of the most grueling training sessions ever imagined.
They did all of this just to get incrementally better than they already were. There’s no argument there.
At the same time, all of these legends of the game (and the coaches they had at the highest levels) continue to drill down on the fundamentals for a reason.
The basic elements of the game and the mechanics necessary to make shots from anywhere on the floor with confidence are what separates good players from great players.
Kobe is famous for getting to the gym way before anyone else (sometimes staying up late at night to put up 300 shots or more) because he understood how important it was to continue knocking down shots every chance he got. He wanted to keep ingraining the muscle memory of those fundamentals.
There’s nothing wrong with adding complexity to your practice programs, drills, and training protocols when it’s necessary. Just don’t do it for the sake of doing it, though.
Always try to keep things as simple as possible for the best results.
Basketball Games for 2 Players
1. Sharks and Minnows
You can play this game with more than two players, but two players is the absolute baseline you’ll want to get started with.
A little bit of one-on-one at every level is always going to be competitive, fun, and energetic.
Start the “minnow” at the half-court line with the “shark” lined up at the baseline facing them. Give the minnow a basketball but make sure that the sharks don’t have one.
At the whistle, the objective for the minnow is to dribble from one baseline to the next without ever having their ball knocked away or stolen from them.
As soon as they get down the court and back they are to shoot a basket (from anywhere on the floor) until it goes in.
The shark’s job is to try and steal the ball away from the minnow before they are able to successfully shoot a ball into the basket.
If they do, the whistle blows and the shark and minnow switch places until someone’s able to drill two shots from anywhere on the floor.
2. Dribble Knockout
Each player will be given a basketball and will be challenged to dribble from one baseline to the next with one hand (dominant or offhand).
Players will then race back and forth with one another while trying to steal the basketball from the other player.
Have each player face one another without being able to change positions as they go up and down the court.
This will force one player to always be moving backwards and another to be dribbling towards them. It’s a great way to develop ball handling skills, too.
If both players are able to successfully complete a lap to both baselines they then have breakout to half-court as quick as they can.
Then it’s up to them to race to their own basket to try and drain a shot before the other does.
3. Ray Allen Shooting Drill
This drill basically mimics the exact same pregame warm-up drill used by legendary three point sharpshooter and NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen. It’s almost exactly how he got himself ready before every single game.
Start the drill with a single player designated as the “shooter” and another player designated as the “defender”.
Begin by having the shooter take a shot from underneath the basket (just to the left of it) while the other player tries to defend that Shoppe.
Move out from underneath the basket in five incremental stations (only after a basket is sunk) all the way until you hit the three point line. Make sure that there is always a defender trying to block the shot.
After the shot at the three point line has been made start back underneath the basket on the opposite side.
Then start running through the same five incremental stations with the defender trying to block shots every time all over again.
Once the drill has been completed, reverse the roles of these players and then rinse and repeat.
Basketball Games for PE
It’s hard to imagine any gym class on the planet not having played knockout at least once.
This is maybe the most basic of all basketball games designed to help players hone their shot.
Players are going to learn how to move quickly, shoot under duress, and shoot from awkward angles.
Break the teams into two different groups. Have each group lineup single file behind their own baseline.
From there, each team gets a single basketball with a player having to dribble to the opposing baseline (or the half-court line) before they can come back and shoot a shot at their basket.
After shot has been made the next teammate in line gets the ball and their chance to do the exact same thing.
Work all the way down the line until one team has completely gone through every player successfully.
5. Red Light, Green Light
This drill is going to not only help your players develop better shots from pretty much anywhere on the court, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun for your entire team to get in on all the action.
Give a single player a basketball and start them at the opposing baseline. Have them dribble down the court as quickly or as slowly as they like. Whenever the team yells “RED LIGHT” that player then has to stop and shoot the ball.
If they make the basket the rest of the team has to come out and shoot from that same spot.
The last player to make the shot having to dribble all the way down to the opposing baseline and start the process all over again.
6. Around the World
This drill is similar to the way that the NBA runs the three point contest. You essentially have your players run through shooting drills that start them at one end of the three point line on the court.
Players begin shooting baskets from that initial position until they sink a shot. After a basket is made they move down the three point line until they hit a shot from that next position and so on and so forth until they’ve moved across the entire arc.
Players are times from the moment they shoot their first basket until they shoot their last successful one.
The player with the fastest time is crowned the three point around the world champion.
Basketball Relay Games
7. Relay Races
Obviously, this drill is better done with teams of at least 10 players (five on each side).
At its core, though, it’s a race between two individual players. It’s all about what they can do to help their team win when under a little bit of pressure.
Start both teams at one baseline with a basketball apiece. Then ask these players to race down the court dribbling with their dominant hand before hitting the other baseline and coming back dribbling with only their offhand.
As soon as they hit the free-throw stripe on the way back they have to post up and sink a shot before they can give the ball back to their team.
After that, start the relay race all over again. First-team through the entire race from top to bottom wins.
8. All-Star Shootout
As a coach, you’ll want to set up a number of cones all over the basketball court has designated “shooting positions”.
Break your team or your gym class into two different groups, one starting from one baseline and another starting from the other.
As soon as the whistle blows, each team is given a single basketball and a single player from that team will have to run out to a cone (any cone) and shoot their shot.
After a basket is made the player must then make a pass from half-court back to their baseline.
That the next shooter in line runs out to a different cone and must make that shot before they can pass the ball to their next teammate.
It runs on down the line until all players have shot their shot and then a winner is crowned.
Basketball Games to Play by Yourself
Almost everyone has played a game of HORSE with a bunch of different people for fun.
This drill, though will have you playing HORSE against yourself. It’s going to help you learn how to better repeat your shots from all over the court.
The basic gist of the game remains the same. You shoot from anywhere you like on the floor until you drain a shot that you are happy with.
As soon as you do, you have to shoot again from that same spot until you make another basket.
Each time you miss, you get another letter for the word HORSE. The wrinkle here is that you don’t move on after you get your first letter.
You have to keep shooting until you drain that basket and then (and only that) are you able to move on to the next position – keeping all of the same letters every time you move from spot to spot.
With every shot made before you hit HORSE you get a single point. The goal is to get six points total before you spell HORSE with your misses.
10. The Hop and Pop
Instead of having your basketball players shoot from stationary positions on the court instead set up a handful of cones at different spots you want them to focus on.
Don’t have them dribble up to these positions. Instead take a single dribble, a gatherer, and a hop and pop – releasing the shot as quickly as they can, just like they would in a real game.
This is going to help them get into a better shooting rhythm and also help them focus on building improve coordination.
This is especially true if you have them hop and pop from awkward positions on the floor.
Challenge them to hop and pop from awkward positions when they are running this drill all on their own.
11. One Handed Shots
This is anything but a brand-new breakthrough in the world of basketball shooting drills but there’s a reason it’s been around for about as long as the game of basketball has.
It flat out works.
What you want to do is pick a position on the court that you want to practice your shots from.
Mark it out and stand there with your feet shoulder width apart (or just slightly narrower). Then shoot baskets only with your dominant hand ever touching the basketball.
Focus on slowly and consistently building your shot, thinking about every motion you take as you get into the shooting position on through your release.
You want your athletes to really and deliberately consider everything their body is doing to lock and load into this shooting position.
You want them to learn the importance of finger position and keeping the elbow in line with your eyes straight on through the finish.
Basketball Drills for Kids
12. Quick Decisions
This drill is going to require at least three kids per drill, with one kid designated as the shooter and the other two kids either the active defender or the dummy defender.
Start the drill by passing the ball to the active shooter, entering the court with both of these defenders on either side of him but closer to the basket.
Then challenge the shooter to drive to the basket. The player won’t know which of the defenders is going to actually be the “active defender” until that player identifies themselves by making a play on the basket.
This helps new players make better decisions on the fly while dribbling and going into a shot.
They will never know exactly which defender is going to come up and challenge them.
They’ll never know which is going to sag back into his zone or drift off after what would be their own player and their own responsibility.
It also teaches an “attack first” kind of mentality that encourages confidence, decisiveness, and quick thinking. All of these skills are critical for success on the basketball floor today at every level.
13. Basic Pick and Roll Drills
The pick and roll is a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to basketball success at every level.
Every player from the earliest stages all the way up into the NBA knows how important the pick and roll is.
It also requires precise timing, precision passing, and a feeling for the defense and how things are going to unfold on the floor in real time.
You’d be surprised at just how much of this “tactical information” kids can soak up on the fly at young ages.
It’s amazing just how many coaches hold off on these kinds of drills until much later because they don’t want to overwhelm kids.
Trust us, that isn’t going to happen when you focus on something as fundamental as the pick and roll.
Two lines of players will stretch on the floor with a coach sitting on the wing. A player from the first line has a basketball in their hands and stays out on the opposite wing.
A player from the second line cuts off from the top and sets a ball screen for that first player.
The player with the ball will then execute one of the different ball handler options you are teaching off the screen before they pick, pop, and shoot the ball.
Rinse and repeat as you run through the line before switching responsibilities. Make sure you have your players take on the opposite role and going back through the drill.
14. Pressure Free Throws
It’s almost impossible to simulate the same kind of pressure players are going to face when shooting free throws in a real game,.
This fun little trail is going to crank things up to 11 though. It will get players used to the craziness of free throws so that they are knocking them down in real games with ice running through their veins.
You basically set up a shooter at the free-throw line with the rest of the entire team standing just in front of them, hooting, hollering, and generally going crazy.
These players can do anything they want as long as they don’t ever try and interrupt or block the shot itself.
Players get to keep shooting until they miss at which point they join “The Mob”. Another player comes out the line to rinse and repeat the cycle until everyone gets a shot.
If you want to make this more competitive you can even count the amount of made baskets until a mess for each individual player, crowning the one with the most baskets the winner at the end of practice.