Basketball Bucket List: Great Basketball Experiences

Youthbasketball123 is a website designed to provide ideas, drills, books, teaching tools, guest blogs and so much more for basketball coaches, players, and parents.

Many people create a bucket list of important things they hope to accomplish. Lou Holtz had an impressive list of 107 items. He accomplished so many of them including meeting the Pope, coaching at Notre Dame, and winning a National Championship.

Like any bucket list, items can be revised, added and completed at any time.

  1. Create a Basketball Library: We are old school. We feel books are the best way to process and understand basketball. There are so many great ones out there. Ask your fellow coaches for recommendations.
  2. Attend a Dave Hopla Shooting Lecture or a Dave Hopla Shooting Camp (HoopGroup): (@DaveHopla) Seeing an expert in his / her field is impressive. Coach Hopla often makes over 98% of his shots. in our humble opinion he is the World’s Best Shooting Instructor. It is truly amazing to see shot after shot hit the bottom of the net. His instruction has been perfected after decades of studying the art of shooting. His shooting tips are easy to understand and remember. Players and coaches of all ages and skills levels can benefit IMMENSELY from learning from the best!
  3. Have a Hoop at Home: Every parent and player should have a basket in the driveway, on a garage, or out front. It is an absolute must – NO EXCUSE.
  4. Attend an Overnight Basketball Camp.
  5. Attend a Harlem GlobeTrotters Game: AMAZING family experience. So much fun. Great player – crowd interaction.
  6. Play Recreation or In-Town Basketball
  7. Attend a Summer Recreation Basketball Clinic
  8. Attend a High School Basketball Game.
  9. Attend a College Basketball Game
  10. Attend a ProCamps camp – Amazing experience!
  11. Play Travel Basketball
  12. Play AAU Basketball
  13. CoachUp @CoachUp

Coaching Youth Basketball: ONE, TWO, THREE

Youthbasketball123 is a website designed to provide ideas, drills, books, teaching tools, guest blogs and so much more for basketball coaches, players, and parents.

We spent several years trying to choose a great name for a youth basketball website. We finally decided on the name youthbasketball123. Below are some of the top reasons for our choice:

  1. It was available at Go Daddy and hopefully will be easy for youth basketball players, parents, and coaches to find.
  2. There is no website that seemed to focus on coaching basketball in 1st grade, 2nd grade, or 3rd grade. This website will have resources to help coaches and players in this age group.
  3. The teaching progression of ONE Player drills, TWO player drills, and THREE player drills.

When coaching youth sports it is best to follow the KISS Method of instruction: “KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID.” (There is no better author than me to write about this method.)

Using the KISS method, this website will use a “1, 2, 3” teaching progression to teach the basic fundamentals of basketball. Equally as important as the 1-2-3 teaching progression, is the need to use age-appropriate drills that will be fun and allow the player to achieve some level of success.

With all drills we will try to put the “FUN” in FUNdamentals. Younger players are so young and will have so few basic skills, that coaching can be an overwhelming challenge. This website is designed to simplify youth basketball coaching in a fun and positive way.  Along the way, the players will learn the skills that help them reach the next level in their very young basketball careers. 

1, 2, 3 Teaching Philosophy

For each fundamental skill, we will provide 1, 2, and 3 player drills. 

ONE: 1 = individual skills. Before playing TEAM basketball, a player needs to learn basic individual fundamental skills. These drills introduce a basketball fundamental in a simple way. These drills can be practiced individually with the goal of of improvement in the early years, and mastery with age. 

TWO: Once the individual skills have been mastered individually, a 2nd player may be added. Introducing 2-man basketball will keep it simple (KISS) and should not overwhelm the players. 

THREE: Later in a season, and with age and experience, it will be appropriate to add a 3rd player to a drill or game. Three man basketball is a great teaching tool. Players can use all the individual skills and apply them in a small-sided game. 3 players is great for teaching younger players. Require each player to touch the ball before a shot is taken. Players should try to use all the different cuts.

Thanks for reading!

The Idea of “Youth Basketball 1, 2, 3”

Youthbasketball123 is a website designed to provide ideas, drills, books, teaching tools, guest blogs and so much more for basketball coaches, players, and parents.

The idea for this website came in early December 2012. I was a volunteer coach for 1st and 2nd grade boys. I had played basketball since attending my 1st camp in 2nd grade (1978). I  played high school and college basketball and coached high school basketball for 19 years. A lifetime of playing and coaching basketball COULD NOT prepare me for my 1st youth practice with 1st and 2nd graders…. 

It was an eye-opening introduction to the world of youth sports. 

I entered this 1st practice armed with a whistle, a few balls, some cones and my own personal basketball background. The league provided no curriculum, no age-appropriate drills, and no recommendations for the season.  

As a teacher, I found this lack of guidance by the league a little shocking. But I had many years of coaching a variety of sports at a variety of levels. I felt confident in my practice plan and was prepared to run a practice that kept the players moving and taught the most basic fundamental skills.

After supervising the most basic of ball-handling drills, I realized simply dribbling a ball was a challenge for most players this age. I could not imagine what a full court game would look like. 

The majority of the players were participating in organized basketball for the first time in their lives. After a brief introduction, I started with a few dribbling drills to evaluate the skill level of the players. 10 minutes into the practice, the opposing coach interrupted the drill to ask “Are you ready to scrimmage 5 on 5?” 

“Are you ready to scrimmage 5 on 5?” 

This question caught me completely off guard. Looking back 9 years later, I realized it may have been one of the dumbest questions I have ever been asked in basketball. Since most of my team had never be in on organized basketball team, it would make sense to have MORE practice time instead of less.

The one thing the league did provide was a format for the league. Each session was one hour. (Very appropriate for this age group.) The first thirty minutes was for team practice and the final 30 minutes would be a 5 vs. 5 scrimmage. Since the format was the one set of guidelines provided by the league, I was able to buy myself another 20 minutes of practice time, until the full court scrimmage. 

As expected, the full court session was some of the ugliest, violation filled basketball in history. It was painful to watch as one player dribbled, and more often simply RAN without dribbling, the length of the court to heave a field goal attempt at the basket. 

At that moment, I realized that there was no set curriculum for teaching basketball to this age group. Unlike most of the the other parent / volunteer coaches, I have read dozens of books on coaching basketball, attended clinics with world class lecturers, coached varsity high school basketball, and directed youth camps

Despite my basketball coaching experience and knowledge, I was not prepared, in anyway, to coach a team of 5 and 6 year olds. It was going to be a challenging season with very little guidance.

This website is my attempt to provide youth coaches with practical, age-appropriate drills and instruction that will help lay the groundwork for a positive season for the coaches and youngest players in organized basketball. There will be detailed drills, practice plans and skills that are specific to this age

Thanks for reading! Good luck this season!

Teaching Lay-ups: Aim for “The Top Corner of the Square”

Youthbasketball123 is a website designed to provide ideas, drills, books, teaching tools, guest blogs and so much more for basketball coaches, players, and parents.

Whenever possible we try to “Keep It Simple, Stupid!” Our 1st step in teaching lay-ups tries to do this too. Good Luck to you and your players.

Teaching Lay-ups

Once a player has learned how to dribble a basketball, the next natural progression is to attempt to score. This is challenging for most youth (and high school) players. A player who can “score the basketball” will be a valuable member of any team. 

As a coach, there are so many valuable aspects of basketball other than scoring, but scoring is the most recognized and for a player, the most enjoyable. Players who can score have confidence, get more shots, and will likely practice more than a player who has difficulty scoring. 

Identify the Target

The Target: “The Top Corner of the Square”

Basketball IQ is a term used to determine a player’s understanding of basketball. Since lay-ups are the most fundamental shot in basketball and probably the most used shot, players should have a complete understanding of how to successfully make this shot. 

Players should understand the 1st time they shoot a ball what the aiming point is. If a player can understand the importance of identifying the correct aiming point when taking a lay-up, the player will be much more successful when attempting the shot. 

To gauge a player’s basketball IQ regarding lay-ups, ask one simple question, “What is the aiming point for taking a lay-up?” This is a little bit of a loaded question, because some players will know the correct spot, but will not be able to articulate it. Many also will have no idea of what the correct answer is.  

Below are the typical inaccurate responses (with explanations of why they are wrong):

“THE BACKBOARD”: This is the most common response. A coach can have some fun, hitting the backboard in a variety of places and missing many different ways. A coach could shoot the ball all over the backboard and miss. A coach can look at the player who said the target is the backboard and say “I hit the backboard, what is wrong? I am doing what you told me to do. I hit the my target, the backboard. Why won’t the ball go in?”  

It is true a player should ALWAYS use the backboard when taking a lay-up, however there is a very specific point that should be the target. 

“THE SQUARE”: This is a better response, and players are getting closer to the correct answer, but the answer is still flawed. A coach can have some more fun by hitting the square, yet still missing the spot. Shoot the ball all over “the square” and miss. A coach can look at the player who responded the target was “the square” and say “I hit the square, what is wrong. I am doing what you told me to do. Why isn’t it going in?”  

Most players who miss a lay-up will hit the square, but not the correct point. Often players who hit the bottom of the square will miss the shot. 

The correct answer is… 

“THE TOP CORNER OF THE SQUARE CLOSEST TO YOU”: This is the most accurate and exact answer. Once a coach has explained the target in detail at the 1st practice, EACH player should know the correct target the rest of the season and his playing career. This is perhaps the most important step in consistently making lay-ups

Once the players understand the target for shooting a lay-up, it is time to see if they can actually hit the target and make a lay-up. 

“Players want to be good, they just don’t know how.”

Most parents, players, and coaches rarely have a skill specific, age appropriate development plan on how to improve. We will sharing a simple teaching progression to help a player develop a practice routine that will improve his /her ability to score. 

Thanks for reading. Check back soon for more youth basketball tips.

Coaching Kindergarten Basketball

Kindergarten Youth Basketball Fundamentals

Youthbasketball123 is a website designed to provide ideas, drills, books, teaching tools, guest blogs and so much more for basketball coaches, players, and parents.

Google Search “Kindergarten Basketball”…

Coaching 5 and 6 year-olds is a challenging task. Many coaches might feel this is too young of an age to teach basketball, but if you keep the instruction fun and focus on age-appropriate skills, it can be an enjoyable experience for coaches, parents, and players.

We will add additional posts about this age group in the future, but to get started we wanted to present some focus areas for this age group.

Click here for a complete list of tips for coaching kindergarten basketball.

Effort and Enjoyment

Each kindergarten basketball player can:

  • Have FUN! Remember this is more of an semi-organized / complete chaos playdate!
  • Develop age-appropriate skills
  • Be a good teammate
  • Be LOUD and enthusiastic

Kindergarten Dribbling

Each kindergarten basketball player can complete:

Kindergarten Lay-ups

Each kindergarten basketball player can:

Kindergarten Shooting

Each kindergarten basketball player can:

Kindergarten Passing

Each kindergarten basketball player can:

  • Stationary chest pass: Able to make a decent chest pass
  • Stationary bounce pass: Able to make a poor bounce pass, unable to select the proper point to have the ball bounce (3/4ths the distance). Bounce passes are very inconsistent.

Kindergarten Catching

Each kindergarten basketball player can:

  • Have hands up in receiving position.
  • Complete a stationary chest pass: Has difficulty catching a chest pass consistently
  • Complete a stationary bounce pass: Able to catch a bounce pass MORE consistently than a chest pass.

Kindergarten Defense

Each kindergarten basketball player can:

  • Able to get into a defensive stance

Top Youth Basketball Websites

Youthbasketball123 is a website designed to provide ideas, drills, books, teaching tools, guest blogs and so much more for basketball coaches, players, and parents.

Google Search “Top Youth Basketball Websites”

  1. USA Basketball: This is AMAZING! There are so many great resources for players and coaches. Start by clicking on the tab “Youth Development.” If you plan on coaching for a few year, consider getting a USA Basketball Coaching License. The Youth Guidebook will provide many ideas and answers for rookie and veteran coaches.
  2. Breakthrough Basketball: A great resources for players and coaches. “The Internet’s #1 Website for Basketball Camps, Resources and Learning Products” It has Free EBooks, an online store, drills, plays, and individual workouts. Guest Blog: TOP 6 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A BASKETBALL CAMP
  3. Positive Coaching Alliance: Positive Coaching alliance is not exclusive for basketball coaches. It has AMAZING resources for players, parents and coaches. The philosophy ideas are exceptional and this group often connects with coaches at the high school, college, and professional levels.
  4. YouthBasketball123: This is a website that was launched in October 2021. The posts focus on youth basketball skills, teaching progressions, and over ideas. The author has coached ALL levels of youth – recreation, travel, AAU, and camps. One post sums up the philosophy. What is the KISS Philosophy for Coaching Youth Basketball?

We will be adding more resources in the future, so please check back for updates.

Thanks for reading!

Youth Basketball: Top 10 Reasons to Teach Dribbling 1st

Youthbasketball123 is a website designed to provide ideas, drills by gradebooks, teaching tools, basketball jokesguest blogsbasketball quotes, and so much.

Dribbling is the 1st skill a youth basketball players should learn. Here are 10 reasons why:

  1. It is easy to coach! Dribbling is probably the most basic offense skill in basketball. It is much easier to execute correctly than shooting, passing, catching, or even taking a lay-up. Put players in a position where they can succeed.
  2. Young players love to dribble! If you ever give a ball to a young child for the 1st time, the majority of them will try to dribble it immediately. So why not start off with what they like?
  3. All the players can do it at the same time. If each player has a ball, there is no waiting in line for the players. All the players can be completing the drill at the same time guaranteeing maximum repetitions and learning
  4. There are so many stationary dribbling drills. There are quite a few stationary drills that are great for players of all ages and skills levels. The better players can attempt to complete the drills quicker or the coach can add a more challenging part to the drill.
  5. Inability to dribble well is the #1 reasons for violations in youth basketball games in the early grades. When playing a basketball game for the 1st time, players often travel or double dribble. If you have ever watched a 1st or 2nd grade game, there is almost never an entire possession where there is not a violation. Often at this age coaches and referees do not enforce these rules.
  6. There are so many dribbling drills that involve moving. After a very short time, players will be able to walk, jog, and even sprint while dribbling. Parents want children to get exercise for many reasons. Having players work up a sweat while dribbling is awesome!
  7. Advanced one ball drills can be practiced and mastered very easily. Once players see how quickly and easily they can improve their dribbling skills, many will work hard to master the dribble march or dribble walk.
  8. Players as young as ages 5 can learn to dribble 2 balls successfully. How proud is a basketball player (at an age) who can dribble 2 balls. It is actually pretty easy to master dribbling 2 balls. These drills are twice as good because players are developing the ability to dribble with both hands AT THE SAME TIME
  9. Many other drills involve dribbling, so in order to move to other skills dribbling must be mastered. To run a fast break or an offense, players need to dribble the ball, so have them learn right from the start.
  10. There are many fun games that reinforce this skill. Dribble tag is a great way to have players learn to dribble in chaos. Give 1 (or more) player a ball that is different. This is the tag ball. All players dribble around, avoiding being tagged. It a player is tagged, he switches balls with the player who tagged him and is not “IT.”

The final and most important reason is that many of the other basketball skills are too advanced to learn at young ages, so why bother wasting your time?

Youth Basketball Year

Youthbasketball123 is a website designed to provide ideas, drills, books, teaching tools, guest blogs and so much more for basketball coaches, players, and parents.

Top Youth Basketball Twitter Accounts


  1. Youth Basketball Tryout #1: Identify the Best & Worst Players


  1. Visit USA Basketball Website for drills, playing time guidelines and so much more.
  2. Christmas Basketball Jokes: Start off each December practice with a Christmas Basketball Joke.
  3. Compose a Pre-Season Email: This initial email should be sent out at least a week before the 1st practice. It is a great way to start the season on the right foot!


Read a Basketball Book

Enjoy the Final Weeks of Summer

Play a Fall Sports

Tryout for AAU


Coach a Fall Sport: It is always good to be exposed to different opportunities to develop coaching skills. Coaching soccer, flag football, football, volleyball, cross-country, etc. will improve how you interact with players during basketball season.

Play a Fall Sport: Playing additional sports, especially BEFORE the age is 14 is so valuable. Youth guidelines produced by the NBA and USA basketball STRONGLY discourages specializing in basketball too early. Playing a variety of sports helps to avoid burnout.

Plan Tryouts:

Establish Team and Player Goals.


Compose a Pre-Season Email: This initial email should be sent out at least a week before the 1st practice. It is a great way to start the season on the right foot!