Maurizio Cremonini, the Federal Coach of the Minibasket Department of the Italian Basketball Federation, received the Tricerri Award as the best Minibasket Instructor in Italy in 1996.
This article, dedicated to mini-basketball fundamentals, focuses on passing, probably not the most pleasurable fundamental for children (who likes giving the ball so someone else can play?) and surely a fundamental in which, within our lessons, is not given all that much attention. The teaching of how to pass must be included into your schedule; only after confidence with the ball has been developed, we can start to stimulate cooperation among teammates. For starters, in order to learn how to pass, it is necessary to become "friends" with the ball! Usually, in our lessons, we consider four aspects, two that are dedicated to the children, and two dedicated to the instructors:
FOR THE CHILDREN
- What is the fundamental proposed.
- What is it designed for.
FOR THE INSTRUCTORS
- How to teach it.
- The plays used to teach it.
WHAT IS THE PASS
- Throwing the ball to a friend.
- Playing with teammates.
WHAT IS THE PASS FOR
- To make a basket with the help of teammates.
- To discover the pleasure of playing with teammates.
HOW TO TEACH IT
When players are very young:
- With simple plays, relying on cooperation: the pass is not yet a relevant goal.
WHEN PLAYERS GROW UP
- With appropriate teaching proposals: from simple to elaborate plays.
- With contests and games in pairs and/or little groups: stimulating the idea of cooperation and creating game situations.
- In game situations: rewarding the right decisions.
SOME PROPOSALS FOR TEACHING THE PASS
Pleasant and unpleasant (developing the idea of cooperation)
- Children dribble around the court, when they meet a teammate, they can exchange the ball, and go on. However, the teammate can choose to accept the exchange (pleasant) or else refuse it (unpleasant).
- Children dribble around the entire court and, at the signal of the instructor, they leave the ball and quickly run to find another ball to continue their dribbling.
Crazy passes (stimulating cooperation)
- Children are in pairs and everyone has a ball, exchange the balls, being closed and without making it fall on the floor.
- In pairs, with two balls, one of them makes a good pass (twohand pass without making the ball rebound), and the other one makes a bad pass (with a foot).
- Again in pairs, with two balls, one of them puts the ball on the court, between their feet, receives the ball from the teammate, passes it again, takes his ball from between his feet and passes it to the teammate, who then does the same thing.
- Again in pairs, with two balls, one player leaves the ball on the court and they exchange only one ball; at the whistle of the instructor, the ball must be exchanged;
- Only one ball for every two players; passes on place, at the whistle of the instructor, who has the ball keep it, and who has not the ball must find a new teammate.
- The same as the previous drill, but this time, whoever has the ball dribbles while waiting for a new teammate.
Fullcourt challenge (creating a real game situation)
- Children are divided into two teams, aligned as showed in diagram 1; every team has a player without the ball on the half court; the team goal is to make the teammate score before the opponent does; players on the half court are not forced to stay still as they wait for the ball; when they receive it, they quickly dribble and shoot; after making the basket (one point to the team that scores for first), whoever passed the ball place himself on the half court, waiting for the new starting signal.
Challenges from different positions (modify situation of receipt)
- Drill is the same as the previous one, changing the starting position and the basket;
- Drill with the players without the ball. They start, run around a cone, receive the ball D.1 from a teammate, and shoot (diagr. 2);
- As in the previous drill, the players run to the cone placed at the corner on the opposite side of the team (in this case, you have to make the children think about the need to "see" the pass, avoid hitting another ball, or an opponent, who is crossing the court.