The Problem: Players that are fairly new to the game have a LOT of turnovers! There are many causes of turnovers at the youth level, including:
- Unforced errors (travelling, double dribbling, stepping out of bounds, etc)
- Poor passing (slow/high passes to teammates that are far away, “telegraphing” passes when the passer stares at the receiver and makes it obvious he is going to pass to that teammate)
- Dribbling with head down or into traffic, allowing the defense to steal it
- Holding the ball in front of them: letting the defense take it away from you or “tie you up” (a.k.a. Held Ball)
Strategies: Help your players develop more body control with the ball, and help them learn the keys to moving the ball effectively during games
- Teaching what a good pass is (open man, open passing lane, short distance)
- Strong chest passes, passers stepping toward the receiver
- Make passing easier by: using pass fakes in triple threat, and dribble/drives to create space to pass
- Input rules on offense: No standing still when you are well defended, must move after passing (cut to the hoop, go set a screen, etc.), don’t dribble for no reason (and then don’t pull up dribble until you “have a plan”). If you’re seeing lots of turnovers from players attempting long passes during a fast break, you may want to tell players to avoid long passes altogether.
Something to Try: a few good drills to help players learn to start and stop dribbling without travelling include Ballhandling Control I and Freeze and Pivot. Try Scarecrow Passing to teach players the concept of passing “lanes” and how to use ball fakes and pivoting to make passing easier. One of our favorites, No Dribble Half Court Game, can help your team work on moving without the ball to get open. Another way to work on passing effectively is to require a specific number of passes (ex: 5 passes) before anyone can shoot during scrimmages. A more advanced game to try is Basketball Super Bowl – players love this game and it helps them learn how to move the ball up the court with turning it over.