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Grade 1


The objectives of 1st grade basketball are to build a solid foundation of fundamental skills and team concepts while encouraging teamwork, competitiveness and sportsmanship.

  • To progress and have fun in short, fast moving sessions.
  • Emphasize and nurture basic skills in fun, fast, game like ways.
  • Teach a man to man, 3V3 format.
  • Maximize contact with the basketball in active games or game like drills.
  • Prepare children for 2nd grade basketball.
  • Have fun!

Practice Sessions:


All sessions will be one hour in length. They will be divided into 3 parts after a 5 minute team warm up, Stations, Team Time and Games. 

5 minute warm up with your team - should involve dribbling and running. Maximize contacts with the ball. Make it fun, fast and varied from week to week. If you do stretching, do it at the very end of the warm up NOT the beginning. Make sure they are warm before they stretch.


1- Station Work - 20 minutes - There will be a station at all 4 baskets. Each station will be coaching a different skill and drill. 5 minutes per station switching on a whistle. These need quick demonstration and right into motion. These are groups of 3-5 per basket. There should be very little standing. Instruct through the drill don’t freeze the activity if at all possible. Weeks 1-3 the stations will be the same. Weeks 4-6 will be a different set of skills/ drills. Weeks 7-9 will be a final set of skills/drills. These will be set by the league and sent to coaches.


2- Team Time - Weeks 1-3 “Pre-season” - team time is 30 minutes. 20 minutes for instruction and drills 10 minutes for freeze scrimmaging and inter squad play. Games against other teams start in week 4.


    Guidelines :

  • Plan your practice time out in advance.
  • Make it fun. Keep it moving.
  • Pick 2-3 basic skills and drills a week and work on them. 
  • Use your Team Time and Game Time to evaluate what you should work on in your next Team session. 
  • Make the last 10-15 minutes games. Freeze the play when you need to teach or change something but do it quickly. For example, “TEAM! FREEZE! Johnny look where you are. Where is your man? Where should you be? Everyone adjust your position. PLAY!” 15-20 seconds and you’re moving again.
  • ASK QUESTIONS - if you have a problem, need ideas, ask us. HHOOPS is here to help. 

    Skills Sets to emphasize :

  • Footwork (stance, pivot foot, triple threat position, squaring to the basket)
  • Dribbling (both hands, head up)
  • Passing (chest, bounce, overhead)
  • Shooting form
  • Short to mid range Shooting
  • Lay Ups from both sides of basket
  • Rebounding (positioning of hand and feet, boxing out, protecting ball)
  • Teamwork (offense and defense)
  • Defensive body positioning (staying between opponent and basket) 
  • 2 Defensive Fundamentals - “eyes on the ball, hand on your man” -  “deny your man the ball. If he can’t get it, he can’t score”


3- Game Time - Starts week 4 - Team time becomes 15 minutes and the last 15 is for 3V3 “man to man” games against the other team in the gym. 


Teams will split into 2 groups and play a game on both courts.

This is INSTRUCTIONAL play. You may stop the action briefly to instruct/correct.

Coaches ref the games and can sub at any stoppage of play.

Game Format And Rules:

  • 3V3 - man to man format
  • POSITIONS - the only “positions” in the beginning of first grade are the point and (2) wings. The “point” brings the ball up the court and the other 2 “wing” players will work the width of the court. The “point” player should be rotated every few times up the court. Introduction of a "post" player is at coaches discression 
  • NO SCORE is kept (until end of season tournament)
  • NO PICKS for first grade - emphasis on movement and passing
  • NO DOUBLE TEAMING - players must stay with their man
  • STEALS - NO steals between the foul lines. Once a team brings the ball into the other teams zone the ball can be stolen. If this occurs too often, stop the game briefly, and reinforce how to protect the ball. This is a big part of the game and kids needs to learn to pass and/or protect the ball. Be strict on stealing cleanly.

FOULS/ BALL OUT OF BOUNDS - All fouls will be treated as a checked ball at the top of the key and play continues. Any ball knocked out of bounds will be passed in from that point on the floor WITHOUT defensive pressure. 
game rules continued...

BLOCKING V/S “STRAIGHT UP” DEFENSE - There is no blocking but there is “straight up” defense. If an offensive player picks up his dribble, the defender can, and should be on him with his hands straight up. We want to discourage the kids from leaving the floor but not discourage defense. Coaches need to create reasonable match ups for the players to have some success. The most skilled child shouldn’t be matched with the least skilled child. If this occurs too often, stop the game briefly, and instruct the children on the proper way to avoid being “blocked”. No offensive player should be shooting into his defender. He should (and probably will) lose the ball at that point. That is where the ball will get blocked. The defender CANNOT leave the ground.

FAST BREAKS - it’s 3V3 there are going to be fast breaks. If it becomes a detriment to the game use your judgement to slow the game down. Coaches - don’t be spectators - you are there to instruct. Don’t let bad, overly aggressive or rough play continue. Stop the game - briefly and correct it or sub.


NO 3 second violations - but keep them moving. No one should camp in the lane. constant motion off the ball should be emphasized.

**PASSING - There are 2 different schools of thought on passing. 
1) 3 passes before a shot. The more they pass, the better they’ll be as a team. 
2) "First shot mentality" - in other words, the player with the first open shot within his/her shooting range, should take the shot. This has several advantages. If they do too much passing at this age, they will eventually throw the ball away or commit a turnover, and you don't get a shot. So shoot early, and crash the offensive boards for second and third chances. It's a little like ice hockey at this age... the team with the most "shots on goal" usually wins.

"First shot mentality" also takes the pressure off the kids (some kids are afraid to shoot, afraid to miss). If you teach the kids that you expect them to shoot when they are open, and that you don't expect them to make all their shots (even Michael Jordan only makes half of 'em) they will play more relaxed and better. Let them know that you don't expect them to make every shot... but that you do expect them to shoot when they are open, and everybody rebounds (maybe one guard back). Teach them that part of being a good "team" player is taking good shots. So nothing fancy on offense... just a simple set, spacing, cutting, an early shot and crash the boards for more shots. If they are quick, fast break for easy lay-ups too.

*The kids should understand the value in both and that “good” shots should always be emphasized. You’re the coach, you decide.

Game Guidelines For Coaches:

  • Control the games - work together with the other coaches. We are trying to give them the basic tools to move to the next level 
  • Movement the ball is critical to their development  without
  • MOTION - use the court
  • MAKE IT FUN - ALWAYS - for the kids and the coaches
  • Keep skill level match ups in mind when in the game.
  • Use the games to see what you need to work on in practice.
  • It’s only 1 hour. Maximize your time. It goes fast.
  • DO NOT keep the kids standing around doing nothing. Take 15-20 seconds, instruct and move on. Sub if you have to and instruct off the court. Keep the games moving. Use your Team Time to correct the skill or conceptual mistakes. Be brief.
  • Coaches need to create reasonable match ups for the players to have some success. The most skilled child shouldn’t be matched with the least skilled child. If this is happening, make adjustments.
  • Coaches - don’t be spectators - you are there to instruct. Don’t let bad, overly aggressive or rough play continue. Stop the game - briefly and correct it or sub.

Finally, enjoy it!! You will make mistakes. We all do. You will have great practices and awful ones. Keep your energy high. The kids will feed off of you. PLAN AHEAD!! The only sure way to have a fantastic, fun filled practice is to walk in prepared.
You’re children will never forget when you coached their team! It lasts a lifetime.

On behalf of HHOOPS and your children, thank you for coaching!

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