Princeton Principles

Watch the man in front of you, he tells you what to do!

Sportstrong 3rd Grade Drills

We want to start every practice at every level with fundamentals. 

The word itself means different things to different people particularly in the game of basketball and certainly it is a bit different considering the age and level of play.

 For me, at it’s essence fundamentals mean:


  • Listening
  • Passing
  • Catching (“Hands UP”)
  • Pivoting
  • Dribbling
  • Shooting (Proper technique – “Low on the catch, high on the finish”)
  • Defense (“It all starts in a stance”)

We always “warm-up” with lay-ups and shoot them in varied ways from both sides of the court

At the third grade level we teach proper footwork which means taking off with the foot closest to the basket……………………………………………………………………………………… Left foot for a right handed lay-up/Right foot for a left handed lay-up – We will shoot lay-ups for approx. 8 minutes

Included in our lay-up drill is proper rebounding technique (CHIN THE BALL), pivoting and passing. The focus is ALWAYS on accurate passing to a pair of hands that “you can see”. HANDS READY AT ALL TIMES IS ALWAYS STRESSED

We play a version of  “Monkey-in-the-middle” to teach passing, catching and PIVOTING. The catcher must use his/her pivot foot to create space and then make an accurate pass (bounce, overhead, chest) to a pair of hands they can see.

We teach “on ball defense” with a game that is similar to “tag”. The defender MUST “stay in front of the person he/she is guarding with the goal being to prevent the ball from going in a straight line. (As we progress we will stress balance and other technique but for now it’s strictly the concept of being focused on the “simple” task of staying in front of the ball)

We will progress to “help defense” which is collaborative and the ultimate goal. I have found this is best accomplished using rope to demonstrate how you must remain within a certain distance to the ball regardless of where the person you are guarding is located on the court. (This takes some increased awareness by the kids that does not always develop during the first weeks…. or months)

OFFENSE: This is difficult to teach regardless of age but for our THIRD GRADE group we will teach the basics of cutting and screening and spacing…………….not much more. I require a “CUT” after every pass initially and like to use a “goal” that is placed under the rim as a target for the kids to touch each time.

I’ll be adding more to this blog as we progress and hopefully some things you can do with your child.

Ask them to teach you what they learned and please let me know if they say nothing!

My best always,

Coach Barry (510) 432-0983

1 Comment »

  Stephanie wrote @ March 15th, 2009 at 10:05 pm

This is a great resource! Thanks so much for giving our boys your time and wisdom.
Stephanie (Mason’s Mom)

Your comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.