The practice of incorporating a dynamic warm-up routine for youth basketball players for ages 9 and up has become common practice. However, there is wide variance in what is actually performed. As coaches we want our dynamic warm-up routine to be simple and efficient. Below, based on our literature review, are common concepts to incorporate in a dynamic warm-up along with two sample routines. These routines could be done in a hallway or commons area prior to the assigned start of practice to allow greater efficiency of valuable gym time.
What to include for a 5-10 minute basketball dynamic warm-up:
After performance of a dynamic routine we recommend at the start of your practice plan performing non-live basketball specific drills at increasing intensity to further engage the basketball specific musculature and nervous system. Such drills could include ball handling, pivoting/footwork, finishing at the rim, passing, shooting, or progressive transition work up and down the floor with no defense involved (on air).
Example of an evidenced based dynamic warm-up routine:
The most extensive and researched dynamic warm-up out there currently:
If you are a youth coach or organization that is looking for what is currently considered the best researched and evidence based practice for a dynamic warm-up routine then we recommend the FIFA 11+Kids (link to manual). This program, performed two times per week, has been shown to significantly reduce injuries in football (soccer) players as well as improve physical performance. One drawback is the program takes 20 minutes to perform and for basketball we recommend not doing exercise 7 (roll over) based on the hardness of a gym or hallway floor compared to a grass surface.
Written by Katie Larson, PT, SCS, CSCS
When teaching shooting mechanics to ages 5-8 we keep it simple and emphasize just three things. See the video below.
“Do Simple Better.” -Joe Maddon, Manager Chicago Cubs
“No matter the level, It’s all about basic. There’s no magic bullet. Even in the NBA, especially in the NBA, it’s all about fundamentals”. -Gregg Popovich, Head Coach San Antonio Spurs
“More NBA players need to work on the same things 4th graders are”. -Erik Spoelstra, Head Coach Miami Heat
“Kobe, you are the best player in the world. Why would you spend two hours on some of the most fundamental drills in the game and do them over and over again?” Kobe’s answer: “Why do you think I am the best player in the world?” -Alan Stein after observing a Kobe Bryant workout.
Before becoming advanced, elite, or select, we should master the basics. Fundamentals that are quickly executed in the correct manner with attention to detail. Do the simple things better than anyone else and you’ll develop the ability to be competitive and creative.
Before working on dribble combinations, hip swivels and floats, etc., I’d get great at the following:
1. The ability to go full speed with your off hand and finish.
2. Changing speeds.
3. Get great at one change of direction, either cross over or between the legs. We prefer between the legs. You are balanced, the ball is well protected, and you can still go by people.
4. Never fight pressure, be able to back the ball up and create space, get a new angle and attack.
Do you have a plan to master the above? I’d start building a ball handling program with one and two ball stationary drills. The younger the player the more time you need to spend on these drills. Constantly work to develop the ability to pound and become ball quick. Once you can do a drill ten times in a row, start to take thirty second timings. How quick can you cross the ball over? Get it between your legs? Behind the back? Stationary drills are crucial in building a base that allows you to start moving with the basketball.
I’ve always liked this teaching sequence I got from John Miller, the highly successful coach from Blackhawk High School in Pennsylvania. The offensive skills program he developed led to Blackhawk winning multiple state championships. He would teach a dribble move stationary first, then add one step, then attack on the move. He’d teach inside out by doing it stationary, first teaching players to circle the ball in the correct manner. He’d then add one step, teaching players to step hard with their left foot, selling left as they circled the ball with their right hand.
This allowed players to develop a great feel for the timing of the move. He would then have players work full speed for example, executing the commando drill for thirty seconds.
To become advanced, elite, or select-master the basics first. Do simple better.
Written by Forrest Larson, Take it to the Rim.
As a player you cannot just be a “drill guy”. This is a player who looks really good in the drills but then when starts playing struggles to make plays. At Youth Basketball Development we believe there has to be a balance between “drilling”/technique training and playing the game (1 on 1, 2 on 2, 5 on 5 etc… ). This is why at the end of all our downloadable workouts we recommend putting into a game situation what we just practiced (example: after our pivoting/footwork/finishing workout we recommend playing 1 on 1 off the pivot foot with 3-4 dribbles maximum for the offense). It is important that your players or child try and get a workout buddy/teammate to join them or enlist a family member to play against following their at home workout as available for optimal skill carry over. By finishing with a game like drill we end the training on a fun note as well.
For youth coaches when developing your team practice plans, under the guidance of your high school staff, Bob Hurley, Sr, one of the most successful high school coaches in the history of the United States, recommended a 2/3 skill work to 1/3 team play ratio. Skill work would not have to be solely 1-0 skill development work but would include competitive breakdown drills or small sided games.
We recommend for “team offensive and defensive team concepts” that your youth association works with your program’s head coach or coaching staff to develop a progressive simplified system. This encourages a similar terminology or language throughout your program and an appropriate progression of their system of play. There are a lot of great ways to play this game but if our players cannot dribble, pass, or shoot our offensive team concepts will not be successful.