Best High-Performance Youth Basketball Training Drills

Whether you're coaching year-round basketball clinics, summer youth camps, AAU teams, or private training sessions, youth basketball training drills are designed to develop the fundamental skills necessary to excel physically and mentally on the court.

Whether you're coaching year-round basketball clinics, summer youth camps, AAU teams, or private training sessions, youth basketball training drills are designed to develop the fundamental skills necessary to excel physically and mentally on the court.

While there's no magic formula to produce top athletes, with a little bit of hard work, determination, and consistency, these basketball training drills can drastically improve individual youth performance and skill.

Form Shooting Basketball Training Drills

Form shooting is perhaps one of the most critical basketball training drills young players can master. When done properly and with consistency, form shooting drills promote muscle memory. This muscle memory is needed to develop excellent shooting form, which translates to great game-speed shooting. Additionally, this basketball training drill is designed to turn individual youth athletes into the best 3-point shooters they can be.

Basketball Drill: There are two ways to form shoot; one-hand or two-hands. Form shooting is performed close to the basket, about as far away as a layup.

  • Each player needs to grab a basketball and find a basket, standing about 2 feet from the basket. For right-handed shooters, their right foot should be centered with the basket and pointing directly towards the middle of the basket (opposite for left-handed shooters).
  • Proceed to bend knees at a comfortable angle (about 45 degrees). Hold the ball in your hand, palm facing up. Next, slowly bring the ball in and hold is as if you were shooting with one hand (arm should form a 90-degree angle).
  • Look at the front of the rim. Proceed to shoot with one hand, leaving your off hand to the side. Players should use their legs on every shot. At the end of the shot, the player should be up on their toes, to allow the player to leverage their strength from their legs to shoot the ball to the basket.
  • Retrieve the ball after your shot. Take your time with the next shot. Each player should take a minimum of 20 shots. However, for more advanced players, we recommend 50 or 100 repetitions.

Remember, this is a slow, methodical drill. Every rep should be carefully executed and consistent. In fact, players should attempt to complete each shot in exactly the same manner as the previous shot - following a sit, lift, dip pattern.

VertiMax Figure 8 Crossover Drills

Although commonly used in basketball training, Figure 8 Crossover drills are one of the best agility training exercises to improve hand-eye coordination.

  • Set up four to six cones in a straight line, leaving about one meter between each cone (adjusting length based on the height of your athlete’s stride).
  • Proceed to dribble the basketball, weaving in a figure 8 between the cones.
  • Be sure the athlete keeps their head up, maintaining a low stance while dribbling the ball.
  • Repeat 6-8 times.

For an additional challenge, complete the Figure 8 Crossover agility training exercise with a VertiMax loaded at the waist.

Run Shuffle Speed Drills for Basketball

The ability to transition in and out of a lateral shuffle is essential in sports such as baseball, basketball, tennis, and football. This agility training exercise is designed to develop the muscles needed to open the hips from a sprint into a lateral slide. While particularly important for football linebackers, this skill is essential for all sports.

  • Set up four cones in a straight line, 5 yards apart from each other, with the middle two cones 4 yards apart to mark the shuffle zone (i.e. a spacing of 5 yards between each set of end cones, and 4 yards between the middle cones).
  • Start at the first cone and sprint to the second cone (5 yards).
  • Laterally shuffle from the second to third cone (4 yards).
  • Sprint between the third and fourth cone (5 yards).
  • Immediately repeat in the opposite direction, in the same pattern (i.e. run-shuffle-run).

3 Man Weave, 5 Pass Drill

This drill is perfect to do after stretching and having a brief meeting with the players to try to create a mood.

Three players stay together in the drill. They’re going to run down the court and figure eight, pass, and go behind. The goal of this basketball training drill is to throw five passes. As players run up the court, they should call out the player’s name as they pass the ball. On the fifth pass, the player with the ball should take their shot. After the shot is made, the next group of players proceeds with the drill.

For the second and third round, progress to four and five passes. This additional pass pushes players to work a harder, gradually improving endurance. For the final rounds, scale back to three passes, closing out with two passes.

This basketball training drill is ideal for beginners and high-performance youth athletes alike. This drill is designed to improve speed, endurance, agility, and hand-eye coordination. Additionally, the 3 Man Weave, 5 Man Pass Drill is a great team building drill, as it teaches your players to work together.

Whether you add these basketball training drills to your training sessions at their basic or advanced levels, with consistency (3-5 times per week), you’ll be on your way to building explosive power, and improving agility for your youth basketball players in as little as two weeks!