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Fun Games to Play at Basketball Practice

By Kristin Wood

If you notice your basketball team losing energy, passion and enthusiasm for the sport, it might be time to spice up your practices. Instead of boring repetitive drills, try some fun games that also practice key techniques. The kids you coach will look forward to practice every day, and you will see the difference when it comes to game time.

Red Light, Green Light Basketball

This game will perfect your players' dribbling technique and control. Have all your players line up at one end of the court with a basketball, while you stand on the other end. When you say green light they will dribble the ball while walking towards you. When you say red light they must stop where they are and dribble in place. Send any player back to the start if they lose control of their dribbling. Whoever reaches you first wins. You can reward her by allowing her to call out red and green lights next.

Red Rover Basketball

Play this challenging game to practice both dribbling and guarding the ball. Separate your players into two teams, each on one end of the court . Have a person from Team One call out “red rover, red rover, send (insert name) right over,” naming someone on Team Two. That person will take a basketball and try to dribble it to the other side of the court. Meanwhile, the opposing teammate who called out the name will try to steal the ball. This continues until either the player from Team Two touches the opposite court side wall, the player from Team One steals the ball, or a certain amount of time has passed. If the ball is stolen, the player from Team Two will join Team One. If Team Two's player succeeds in keeping the ball, he brings over a member from Team One. The winning team will get everyone but one player on their team.

Around The World

This common school yard game is perfect for shooting practice. There are five different shots: under the basket to the right, the right-side square, the free throw line, the left-side square and under the basket to the left. The first player steps up to the first shot. If she makes it she immediately moves on the second shot. If she misses, she has two options: she can hold her place and wait for her next turn, or she can “chance it,” take another shot, and have to start completely over if she misses again. Whichever player makes it through all five shots wins.


Knockout is another game to practice shooting under pressure. Line your team up single-file starting from the free throw line. Give Player 1 and Player 2 a basketball. Player 1 shoots. If he makes it, he simply goes to back of the line and Player 2 is next. However, if he misses, he now needs to grab his ball and try to make a shot as fast as possible, because Player 2 is now in the game. If Player 2 makes the shot first, then Player 1 is out of the game entirely. If Player 1 makes a shot first, he hands off his ball to Player 3 and gets in the back of the line. This continues at a fast pace until only one player, the winner, is left standing.

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