Starting your kids out in basketball is a terrific way to help them embrace physical fitness, build hand-eye coordination, and learn to enjoy teamwork. Basketball also teaches kids to play both offense and defense and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Here’s how to prepare your kids to start playing basketball.
Figure out what about basketball appeals to your child. For kids who are likely to be small and quick, a guard position is the best place to start out. Not everyone who is a successful basketball player is tall, but kids who are likely to be guards should get plenty of time handling the ball so that dribbling can become second nature to them. Kindergartners starting basketball will likely enjoy dashing about the court and should be encouraged so that they associate the game with fun. Bouncing the ball back and forth with a playmate or adult is a terrific way to build dribbling and passing abilities.
Getting the Gear
As kids get older and work to get on a school team, they're going to need more equipment. This will include the items they need to shower and clean up after practice and games. Middle-school kids may be self-conscious about the necessary supplies, so be sure to monitor whether they need deodorant vs antiperspirant and encourage them to purchase what makes them comfortable. Figure out what needs to be packed into their gym bags; whether they need to bring their hygiene supplies, training gear or uniforms, and whatever else they might need. Now is also a great time to get your kid started on doing their own laundry to avoid dealing with dirty uniforms on game day or the dreaded mildewed gym bag.
Watch Their Form
Kids pick up habits watching professionals and may come into the game with some personal quirks. If your child wears glasses and they're struggling to keep them from sliding around as they sweat, invest in a strap or goggles to keep the glasses in place. If your child bites down as they work hard, talk to your dentist about a mouthguard. Your kid may complain that their knees or ankles hurt in the morning or after a game or practice. This can be a sign of muscle development, but it can also indicate poor form. Basketball should be played with knees bent to avoid jarring or damaging the knee joint when running or jumping. Keep an eye on their form to protect them from later pain.
One of the best things that basketball teaches children is to keep working. If your kid is struggling to land their shots, they can still play hard defense and throw the ball to a kid with a hot hand. Basketball teaches camaraderie and flexibility that can benefit you child both on and off the court.