As my favorite basketball player LeBron James said after bringing Cleveland the 2016 NBA Championship:
“Nothing is given. Everything is earned.“
When a 5-year-old is beginning to learn basketball, it can be challenging because they are learning how to combine the skills and rules of the game.
How can you make learning basketball fun and straightforward, so your 5-year-old is interested in playing?
Quick Links: 14 Basketball Drills for 5-Year-Olds
Do these THREE things –> Focus on one/two skills each time you play, plan exciting activities to practice those skills, and stay positive with your children!
Luckily, with my experience of teaching elementary physical education to a wide variety of kids ages, I have developed a list of 14 FUN basketball drills YOU can implement today that also help teach valuable skills.
Dribbling/ Ball Handling
Want your kids to be able to make some of these moves one day? Get them started young!
Being able to dribble the ball correctly is one of the most critical skills in basketball that everyone has to know.
This is a list of helpful tips on how to dribble the ball correctly:
a. Use finger pads
b. The ball should bounce to waist height
c. Keep the ball to your side
d. Keep your eyes up on the court
For all of the dribbling drills, you need a small basketball and cones.
Drill #1: Dribbling In Place
When a 5-year-old is first learning how to dribble, they should focus on the cues you provide and stay in one place.
They should practice using their dominant hand and non-dominant hand before moving onto the next step!
Drill #2: Dribbling While Moving
An effortless activity you can do to enhance dribbling skills is to have your child dribble the basketball up and down your driveway or sidewalk.
Is this too easy for your 5-year-old?
Have them practice dribbling with their non-dominant hand or even moving the ball from hand to hand.
Drill #3: Dribbling Through Cones
Have your child dribble around each cone while using their dominant hand, non-dominant hand and if that is too easy for them, have them use one hand then at each cone switch hands!
Drill #4: Basic Ball Handling
Practicing ball handling skills is very important to learn in basketball. The most exposure a 5-year-old has to basketball in most cases is shooting a toy ball into a kid’s basketball hoop.
That’s why ball-handling is crucial to learning the game!
Check out this video to see how I work on ball handling with my daughter.
Drill #5: Rolling Ball Around Cones
You’re probably wondering how does this relate to dribbling the basketball?
This activity works on controlling the basketball, which is the most crucial part of dribbling the ball. If the ball gets away from you, someone can steal it away.
Basketball is a team sport!
Passing is essential to team building and winning games by finding a person who is open to make a shot.
There are 3 main types of passing in basketball:
A. Bounce pass
Tips for teaching the bounce pass
a. Step with one foot towards your target
b. Start with the ball by your chest
c. Keep your thumbs pointed down towards the floor
d. Bounce the ball ¾ of the way between you and your teammate.
e. The ball should only bounce one time before it gets to your teammate.
B. Chest pass
Tips for teaching the chest pass
a. Start with the ball by your chest holding the ball with both hands.
b. Aim for another player’s chest.
c. Step with one foot towards your target
d. Extend your arms when you release the ball
e. Keep your thumbs pointed down.
C. Overhead pass
Tips for teaching the overhead pass
a. Step with one foot towards your target
b. Put both hands over your hand with the ball
c. On the release of the ball, your thumbs point towards the floor and the ball should be thrown to the other player’s chest.
Are you a visual learner? Check out this video to see how each pass is performed so you can see the right way to perform each skill!
Drill #6: Partner Passing
Equipment: kids basketball
This is a very simple but effective activity. Stand about ten steps away from your child and show them each type of basketball pass (bounce, chest, and overhead).
Explain the tips for each of the passes. Practice each pass ten times.
Drill #7: Spiky Ball Pass And Catch
This passing activity makes learning how to pass the ball fun!
One of the best parts about this is that your child can use this to practice even when you are not around!
When you throw a ball at the rebounder, it returns the ball back to you! So this activity works on passing skills and catching skills.
*The ball rebounder net grows with your child whether they play baseball, lacrosse, basketball or soccer this net can help enhance skills when kids are practicing at home!
Drill #8: 5 Pass Scramble
What’s more exciting, passing or shooting?
I think most 5-year-olds would say shooting.
But, since basketball is a team sport, passing is crucial when playing the game! Even Lebron James has 8,662 assists at this point in his career!
Directions for 5 Pass Scramble
Equipment: You need a basketball hoop and 2 basketballs.
# of people: For this activity, you will need at least 4 people.
- Divide teams up evenly (in most cases there will be 2 people in each group).
- Explain that each team has to complete 5 GOOD passes to each other before taking a shot.
- Good passes = caught by the other person and attempted to do the pass correctly
- When 5 passes are made, that team can try to make a shot. The first team to make a shot gets 1 point for their team.
- The first team to get 10 points is the winner!
Kids will LOVE practicing shooting the basketball.
Even my 1-year-old enjoys putting each ball that we have in our garage in the small hoop we have for him.
Basketball is my favorite sport to watch because I love how fast-moving it is and the score can change so quickly. If you feel the same, you and your kids will enjoy watching some of these amazing shots!
Below you will find a list of 3 shooting drills you can do with your 5-year old.
Drill #9: Tennis Ball Shooting
Directions for Tennis Ball Shooting
- Line up cones in a straight line a few inches apart from each other and put your storage bin/basket a few feet away from the first cone.
- Have your child attempt to throw (underhand/overhand) the tennis ball in the storage bin from the first cone 5 times.
- Provide them with positive/corrective feedback if needed!
- After 5 times, if they make the majority of the shots, have them scoot back to the next cone and practice 5 more shots.
- Keep having them move back to see how far away they can make a shot!
This activity works on aiming, underhand and overhand throwing skills!
Drill #10: Hot Spots
a. Teach B.E.E.F method (Balanced, Eyes, Elbow, Follow Through)
Equipment: poly spots, a basketball, and a basketball hoop.
Directions for Hot Spots
- Set up poly spots around your basketball hoop
- Have your child try their luck at each of the different spots!
- Depending on your child’s ability, you can move the poly spots closer or further away from the net!
- This activity can turn into a game of HORSE to add some more competition!
Drill #11: Lay-Up Shooting
a. Keep your head up
b. Eyes on the square!
c. Bring the ball close to your chin, step and push off the foot opposite of the shooting hand
d. Extend arm, reach high, so the ball hits the backboard
e. Release at the peak of the reach
Equipment: basketball, poly spots and basketball hoop
Directions For Lay-Up Shooting
- Set the poly spots up in a curved line heading towards the basket.
- If your child is right-handed, set them up on the right side and vice versa for the left side.
- Have your child dribble the basketball starting at the first spot down to the last spot closest to the basket.
- To practice proper lay-up skills, have them attempt to shoot with one hand (give them the cue to aim for the square of the basket).
- After they can successfully make the shots with one hand, you can add the cue of bringing the opposite leg up from the hand they are shooting with.
- Example: Right-handed lay-ups would bring up the left leg, and left-handed lay-ups would bring up the right leg
- Have them put both of these steps together to complete learning how to do a lay-up shot!
Are you in need of a basketball hoop?
Here are a few choices to choose from
Toddler/Young Child Hoop
Little Tikes Basketball Set
We have this hoop at home for our kids, and they have used it so much over the past few years! This is an excellent option for when kids are little, and they are just learning about the game and working on their aiming skills!
Portable Basketball Hoop
Do you not have enough room in your yard to install a basketball hoop? This hoop is a great alternative!
SKLZ Pro Mini Basketball Hoop System
Installed Basketball Hoop
Have you been thinking about getting a basketball hoop for your house? We have one, and we LOVE it!
This is the basketball hoop that we own. Our neighbor’s kids even come to our house to play basketball because they love our hoop so much!
Gorilla GS54 In-Ground Basketball Hoop
What we love most about our hoop is that it’s adjustable. It’s perfect for both adults and kids who want to play basketball!
Drill # 12: Defensive Stance
Equipment: A basketball
Directions for Defensive Stance
- You can join in on the fun for this activity, or if you have another child learning to play they can play!
- One player will dribble the ball while you have your 5-year-old get in the defensive stance.
- The player dribbling the ball should try to get from one side of your driveway to the other while the other person is defending them by shuffling their feet, keeping their arms out and keeping a defensive stance.
- The defender should not try to steal the ball in this activity; they are just learning how to keep a proper defensive stance!
- When the person who is dribbling the ball gets to the end of the playing area, they will switch roles! This should be done a few times in a row.
Drill # 13: Pirates and Sailors
Equipment: A basketball
# of players: This game can be played with 2 people
Directions for Pirates and Sailors
- Sailors= start with the ball and Pirates= trying to steal the ball.
- Depending on how many people you have playing, try to have an equal amount of pirates and sailors.
- The sailors attempt to keep possession of the ball for as long as they can by using the right dribbling technique. The pirates are trying to steal the ball from the sailors by knocking the ball out of their hands.
- If a pirate steals the ball, they will now become a sailor, and they will work on their dribbling technique while the sailor switches to a pirate!
- STRESS FOUL RULES- There should be no hitting or tripping to get possession of the ball.
Drill # 14:Cone Shuffling Drill
I did this activity in my physical education classes, and my students LOVED it! This is an easy activity for children to do at home to work on moving their feet quickly.
Get them more excited by setting two stations of cones up and race them!
Take a look at the video below for directions for this activity.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Playing basketball is such a fun way for 5-year-olds to get active and enhance their gross motor skills!
Unless you are a basketball coach or a physical education teacher, it could be difficult and time-consuming to come up with activities for your child to learn about basketball.
Thankfully, you won’t have to spend too much time researching drills and activities because my list of 14 age-appropriate basketball activities will teach your child the main skills, rules, and terminology of basketball!
I would love to help your family learn about the exciting game of basketball! Since I am a physical education teacher, I am very knowledgable about activities and skills needed for each age level.
If you decide to do one of these activities at home with your child, I’d love to hear how it went!
What are some of the basketball drills or games that you do at home with your 5-year old that have been successful? Please share them with us by leaving a comment below!