Youth basketball coaches can sometimes have a difficult time coming up with plays that young basketball players can run. A play can’t be so complicated that the players won’t understand it, but it still should require skill and commitment. A good basketball play can get players open and lead to scoring opportunities.

Here are five fundamentals that youth basketball players should learn to help them become better at executing plays.


Athletes with good footwork will be able to score more easily. Proper footwork starts with the ready position. Offensive players should have their feet set and hands up, ready to receive a pass. Defensive players should be down low and also have their feet set with their hands up, ready to defend. Players should stay on their toes, ready to move in any direction.


Screens are an essential part of most basketball plays. Coaches should aim to teach their players how to make a correct screen early in their development. A screen is meant to block the path of a defender, thus opening up another offensive player. Feet should be about shoulder-width apart or a little wider. The hands should be crossed in front for protection. When the screen is set, the player setting it can’t move or the referee will call a defensive foul. The screen setter’s body should be upright and square to the shooter.


Players who can get open have a better chance of scoring. When offensive players get screens set for them, they should be running to the basket or the ball. A good tip for cutting is to keep the inside shoulder and hip between the defender and the basket or between the defender and the ball. The inside is the side that is closest to the basket or ball, depending on where the cut is going.


The timing of a basketball play can be difficult to master, especially for youth basketball players. The players all have jobs to do and must do them at the same time. Players should be aware of where the ball and their teammates are at all times and what their role is in the play. If everyone knows their job, the timing will get better with practice.


Practice is the best way for youth basketball players to get better at successfully running plays. The more times a team runs through the play, the better they will understand it. Practice makes perfect, so repetition is key and can bring a team’s plays to another level.