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Junior Basketball: Get the Kids on the Court!

Junior Basketball: Get the Kids on the Court!

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The great thing about basketball is you can take your game anywhere: a driveway, parks or to the gym. All your child needs to practice dribbling and ball movement is a flat surface.



Summer also means basketball camps for girls and boys, some focusing on the fundamentals and developing an all-around player, while other camps offer specific skills and more challenging levels of competition. Select a camp that’s appropriate and you’ll ensure an enjoyable experience.



Basketball Benefits

Basketball is more than just a competitive team sport. It is a fast-action game with lots of running and jumping, and provides a great physical workout. An hour of basketball can burn between 650 and 750 calories.


The game improves balance and coordination and helps develop concentration and self-discipline. Your child will grow not just muscle and endurance, but confidence. Young children who play basketball improve flexibility and hand-eye coordination that will transfer to other activities of daily life.


Since basketball can be enjoyed with as few as two players, choosing this game helps your child to make new friends and see them regularly, and teaches them about being a good team player. The game can be played by all ages and abilities, and pick-up games are much easier to find during summer months.



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Skills You Can Practice Anywhere

The best basketball players know that repetition is a key to mastering the game. Many of the moves can be practiced alone. Your child can practice their shot laying on a bed or on the floor, setting their hands in a shooting position and shoot the ball directly upward toward the sky or the ceiling.


Improve ball handling without dribbling by holding the basketball and moving it about firmly in circles around the middle of the body, and then around the head, knees and even ankles. Building strength in the fingers will help with ball handling, passing and catching.



Equipment

Apart from a basketball, the game requires very little other equipment to play. With all the running and jumping, make sure to equip your child with basketball or sports shoes that provide good ankle support.


Set aside style and look for fit and comfort in a youth basketball shoe. Stability, support and cushioning require that shoes that feature mid-foot, heel and ankle support, as well as a quality lacing system. You'll also want to consider a lot of padding in the shoe for load distribution and added cushioning.


Durability is important whether you're playing on a hard court in a public park or on the floor of a first-class gymnasium. Shoes are going to get a work out. Look for quality brands and materials that will stand up to all of the up and down the court action. Don’t forget breathability. Look for basketball shoes with uppers made of leather, nylon, mesh or other breathable material.



Safety and Flexibility

Even in warm weather encourage a warm up and stretching of muscles and joints before hitting the court. It won’t come naturally, so remind your child to cool down and stretch after playing.


It is said that great coaches make great teams, but great parents make great players. Just a half hour in the driveway with your child several times a week this summer can make a large impact on their lives. Even if your child chooses to concentrate on another sport later in life, the basic basketball skills you pass on will equip them to approach team sports — and life — with confidence.


Basic Basketball Skills Checklist


  • Ball Handling
  • Dribbling
  • Passing
  • Jump Shots
  • Shooting Free Throws
  • Guarding
  • Shot Blocking
  • Rebounding


For a great selection of basketball gear, visit your local Big 5. Visit our Store Locator to find the store nearest you.


Source: San Francisco Gate, a Hearst Publication