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Coaching Youth Basketball

BasketballCoaching Basketball to Children Aged 5 11

Coaching Tips

  • Create a positive atmosphere

  • Provide a safe experience

  • Provide an enjoyable experience

  • Teach basic skills

  • Teach sportsmanship

  • Make court smaller/lower basketball goals

  • Should substitute child with a disability every 3-4 minutes


Rules for a Game of Basketball 1 child in a wheelchair

  • In order for team balance in this game, the opposing team is required to position one individual in a wheelchair

  • Those players in the wheelchairs can only go down a selected side of the court and cannot get within 10 ft of the basket (tape the floor at the 10-ft mark). This is to insure the safety of the other children

  • The 2 children in the wheelchairs are not guarded by anyone else

  • The 2 children in the wheelchairs are responsible for taking the ball out of bounds

  • Dribble rule for wheelchair athletes 1 dribble per 2 pushes of the wheelchair

  • Once children in wheelchair are substituted out, the game is played regularly

This type of game gets those children that are in a wheelchair the opportunity to play basketball with their peers. It also forces those children without a disability to be placed in a situation where they must learn about disabilities and about teamwork. They will not get to shoot the ball much, but they will get to touch it, make passes, and be a part of a team.


Drills for Wheelchair Bound Athlete (Ages 5-11)

  • It is important, at these young ages, to feel comfortable maneuvering the wheelchair. To practice this, just let the child go down and back on the court. Once the child gets comfortable doing this, put 3 4 cones in a line about 10 ft apart and let the child wheel in and out of the cones.

  • The child can also use the same 3-4 cones and loop completely around each one. This will allow the child to work on turning the wheelchair.

  • A child at this age must also learn how to dribble the basketball while pushing the wheels of the wheelchair. Position the child on the baseline with a basketball. The child practices dribbling once to every two pushes on the wheels. Speed does not matter.

  • Learning to pass and catch the ball are also important skills. Let the child practice passing and catching the ball with a peer who is not in a wheelchair and one that is in a wheelchair. Tell the children to focus on passing the ball into the chest area of their peer.


Web Sites

Special Olympics


Content created by Bambi Ferguson

Edited by Gary Christopher, MS, ATC, August 2004

page last updated 1/2/2013 4:34 PM