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Basketball is my favorite sport. I have spent many years playing the game and will now spend many years paying for it as my knees and the rest of my body rebel against the wear and tear!
Kids love this competitive game of passing, dribbling and shooting too, and one of the first skills that they want to master is dribbling. My 5-year-old little guy has it down to a science so I thought I would share the game that we use to practice controlling that bouncy orange ball to be able to dribble on the move!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Sidewalk chalk, a basketball (if you are working with a preschooler, sometimes a playground ball is softer and easier to maneuver with those little fingers. Basketballs come in all sizes – don’t be worried if the “legal” size just doesn’t work for them right now).
WHAT TO DO:
Think about what academic skills your child needs work on right now — letters, numbers, colors, shapes. Whatever you choose, draw them out all over the driveway.
Then, draw a long starting line about 3’ away from where the colors/shapes/letters/numbers begin.
Explain to your child that, when you say go, he will dribble to the letter/color/number/shape that you call out. If he loses control of the ball before he gets there, he has to go back and start again at the starting line.
Once he reaches the requested letter/shape/number/color, he has to dribble on it 5 times.
HOW TO CHANGE IT UP:
-If your child hasn’t quite mastered the dribble yet, start with bouncing and catching!
-When your child gets to the requested letter, have him call that letter out each time he bounces the ball or dribbles on it. OR…have him say one word that starts with that letter for each of the 5 dribbles!
-If dribbling is a breeze for your kiddo and she can spell short words, have her start behind the line and give her a word to spell.
She must then dribble to each letter of the word, stopping and dribbling on that letter 5 times before moving to the next letter in the word. You can make this a race to see who can spell the word the fastest to increase the challenge of controlling that ball!
-If you are working on teaching your child shapes, try giving him a sequence to dribble through (square, triangle, circle). OR, when he gets to the shape, have them dribble a path around its borders.
SKILLS AREAS ADDRESSED: Coordination, motor control, cognitive skills, visual motor integration, proprioception
Looking for more great activities for kids? Try these!
photo credit: Paulgi via photopin cc text added, image modified
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I love basketball as well and coach the kids for 1st and 2nd grade clinics then 3rd grade starts official teams and game play. It is so much fun to teach the children the skills but boy basketball is a difficult sport (lots of rules). I like this drill because you are starting only 3 feet away. One tip from me – work on control versus speed. Once you introduce speed the younger set loses control of the ball. Another variation on this game would be to hang letters written on paper on the wall or a tree. This way the child is looking up as they dribble versus down on the ground. Children have a bad habit of watching the ball and the ground resulting in them not staying straight or avoiding a defender.
Awesome tips, Margaret! Thank you for sharing!