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Youth Dev.-1 on 1-Protecting the Ball

Do your young players get the basketball taken away from them by more aggressive defenders?  The Active Ball Drills are simple drills to help address this common problem in youth basketball.

In this clip, SuperConference presenter, Jeremy Russotti, has SFU's Katie Lowen, move the ball, imagining there is a ball being held directly in front of her. In the drill the player must move their ball so it would not touch the basketball held in front. The ball should be moved up and down outside the knees, and then when the player changes side of their body with the ball, it should be moved over top or below (sweep) the imaginary ball.  As Russotti says the ball should be moved clockwise and counterclockwise.

Another critical point is the player must never leave the good athletic stance.  Notice how Lowen always has her chest, over her knees and her butt behind her heels.  

To progress a defender will hold a basketball near the stomach of the offensive player. The offensive player must move their ball and not touch the defender's basketball.  This is done by sweeping the ball below or over top of the defender's basketball. Also listen to Jeremy telling the players to 'make sure your pivoting'; young players often do not pivot.

Error detection and correction is an important part of coaching.  Watch the slow motion clip of Lowen pivoting.  On the first and third pivots she does a good job of maintaining her athletic stance, getting perpendicular to the defender and protecting the ball off her back hip, and as result she is on balance.  But on the second pivot she does not get her hips perpendicular to the defender, stands up and, as result, is off balance; a poor pivot.