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Build Your Basketball Team Chemistry With These 5 Activities

Youth Basketball team in their sublimated custom basketball jerseys

Build Your Basketball Team Chemistry With These 5 Activities

Sure, all coaches would agree technical skill and physical prowess are vital for training skilled athletes, but so are “soft skills,” like communication, trust, multitasking, and information processing. Just like perfecting a jump shot, these skills develop through repetition and targeted training.

These team-building activities will help your athletes develop the mental part of their games so your team can play more cohesively and maximize the talents of each player.

1. Two-Ball Dribbling With A Twist

A two-ball dribbling exercise is one of the most popular choices for coaches looking to help improve their team’s camaraderie and ability to process information quickly.

  • Start by dividing your team into pairs and assign a dribbler and a partner (both players will have the chance to be the dribbler). 
  • The dribbler must perform two-ball dribbling moves from one baseline to the opposite side and back. Their partner will help spot loose balls and guide their course as they dribble.
  • Here’s the twist: the ‘spotter’ must also tell the dribbler a story while they navigate the court. 
  • Once the partners reach the opposite baseline, the dribbler must answer a question about the story they just heard.
  • Once completed, the dribbler and partner should switch roles.

By having your players process verbal information while dribbling, they’ll improve their ability to process tons of information quickly during the game. In addition, this exercise can help bring teammates closer to one another through one-on-one interaction.

Pro tip: if you want to make your players multi-task and challenge them further, have them dribble multiple objects like a tennis ball or dodgeball to enhance their coordination and focus.

2. Snake Race

The Snake Race is a team activity designed to improve cooperation, teamwork, and concentration. 

  • First, split your players into teams of 4 or 5 members and instruct the team members to form a ‘snake’ line on the court’s baseline. 
  • Have participants stand close enough to one another to hold a basketball between the back of one player and the chest of the player standing behind them without touching the ball with their hands. (The longer each “snake” team, the more difficult the challenge.)
  • Once each team is set up with a ball between each player, have the teams race to complete a course: Advance to the halfway line and back to the baseline without dropping a basketball or touching one with their hands. 
  • If players drop a ball, they should stop the race and replace it before advancing. For a bigger challenge, have teams start over from the baseline if they drop a ball.

3. Circle Passing Drill

The classic circle passing drill is proven to help improve your team’s communication skills and overall cohesion.

  • Begin by grouping your players into teams of five, giving one player in each group a basketball. 
  • Have each group form a circle with one participant in the middle of the circle. 
  • Make sure that the player passing the ball shouts the name of the player they are passing it to and make it clear that every player should touch the ball at least once every round. 
  • No one should receive the ball unless the passing player calls the receiving player’s name. 
  • Have each player rotate into the middle at least once.

PRO TIP: The team should work on multiple passes like bounce passes, chest passes, and over-the-head passes, to help your team improve their passing skills too.

4. Defensive Rotations

Every great defensive team includes effective communicators and hard workers. A simple half-court drill with five offensive players and four defensive players can show your team the importance of working for each other, taking ownership of your role, and communicating effectively with teammates.

  • To begin, set up an offensive scenario with five offensive players and four defenders.
  • Set up the five offensive players equal length apart from the defensive team.
  • Once set up, have the offensive players swing the ball side to side. 
  • As the ball moves from each offensive player, the defensive team should work on rotations and proper positioning to prevent the offense from scoring.
  • As each offensive player receives the ball, ensure the opposing defender shouts that he is covering the ball handler. For defenders not covering the offensive player with the ball, ensure they shout out what side they are supporting the primary defender from. 
  • Rotate players through offense and defense to ensure everyone practices defensive rotations.
  • This drill teaches players how to react to offensive movements effectively and, even more importantly, how to build trust and communication.

5. Leave A Legacy

This simple exercise offers your team the chance to get to know each other better and set individual and collective goals.

  • To begin, gather all the players in a circle on the court where they can comfortably sit and see each other.
  • Begin by explaining the purpose of the “Leave a Legacy” drill. Let the players know that this activity is an opportunity to express their individual goals and aspirations for the team.
  • Place a small, symbolic object (e.g., a basketball, a team logo, or a small trophy) in the center of the circle. 
  • Choose one player to start. This player picks up the symbolic object from the center and shares their thoughts on what impact they want to make on the team during the season. They can talk about their goals, personal strengths, or any specific contributions they aim to bring. 
  • Continue until every player and coach has had a chance to speak.
  • Discussion and feedback: After everyone has had a chance to share, open the floor for a brief discussion. Invite players to comment on each other’s aspirations, offer encouragement, or discuss how they can work together to achieve these goals as a team.

Other Team Building Activities

There’s no shortage of ways to improve your team spirit. 

  • Who’s My Hero- Have each team member share someone who inspires them and why. 
  • Relay race: Divide your team into smaller groups and have them dribble through an obstacle course, finishing with a layup. See which group finishes first and watch as they communicate with and encourage one another. 
  • Blindfolded shooting- Split your team into pairs and have one player wear a blindfold while the other player instructs them where to shoot.
  • 3-on-3 Mini Tournament: Scrimmage in smaller groups so teammates can get to know one another.

Build Your Team Spirit With Custom Uniforms!

The easiest way you can help your team build spirit is by wearing jerseys that fill every teammate with pride.

Imperial Point makes it easy for you to design your own basketball uniforms and ensure your team is confident,  comfortable, and together each time they take the court.

Contact us today to see how we can work together to design the perfect uniforms for your team!

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