10 Turbo-Charged Basketball Activities


Basketball Tabata

This Tabata-style workout will increase heart rates while strengthening core muscles.  Students will exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10.  My students will complete multiple rounds depending on age and ability.

Recommended age: 3rd-12th Grades

Basketball Tabata in Action

Dynamic Dribbling Lines

Dribbling lines are nothing new to many PE teachers.  After all, they’re an awesome tool for improving ball control while changing speed and direction, using both hands.  Here are three more ideas to add to your line dribbling arsenal.

Recommended ages: 1st-12th Grades

Basketball Stations

Basketball stations can be a great culminating activity for your basketball unit.  They also give you an opportunity to assess your students.  Below are a list of station we recently presented to our classes.  The eight stations focused on passing, shooting, dribbling and fitness with a dash of competition!

Recommended ages: 3rd-12th Grades (with modifications)

Basketball Stations in Action

4-Corner Passing Challenge

4-Corner Passing is one of my favorite drills.  Set up a square of cones.  One defender stands in the center of the square.  The other three players are on offense.  The goal of the offense is to pass the ball around the square without the defender stealing it.  A pass can only be made to an adjacent corner.  Therefore a diagonal pass is NOT allowed.  The offense needs to move quickly by sliding from corner to corner.

Recommended ages: 4th-12th Grades

Dribble Pass Exchange – Level 1

The Dribble Pass Exchange can be modified to fit various ages.  Set up a square of cones.  The size of the square is determined by ability.  Two students stand in diagonal corners.  On the signal, students continuously pass the ball to each other.  Following each pass, each student trades places.  The student who passes the ball sprints to the opposite corner while the student who receives the pass dribbles to the opposite corner.  To differentiate for advanced players, I will have the student without the ball stop in the center of the square in a defensive stance (she will NOT try to steal the ball).  The player dribbling to the opposite corner must do a crossover, spin dribble, or dribble through the legs in order to get around the defender.

Recommended ages: 1st-6th Grades

Dribble Pass Exchange – Level 2

Level 2 has the same set up.  Once each student passes or receives the ball, they each move clockwise to the next corner.  Upon hearing a whistle, students change direction, moving counterclockwise.  Encourage students to use both dominant and non dominant hands.

Recommended ages: 1st-6th Grades

Rainbow Light Basketball

A huge thank you to my colleague, Coach Jedd Austin (@jeddaustin) for this exciting game. Rainbow Light Basketball is derived from the game Red Light, Green Light.  However, this game has countless colors and lights, each determining a specific movement.  It challenges students to think quickly while associating the color of the light to the appropriate movement.  The game includes multiple colors and other lights including Disco Light, Rock and Roll Light, Sunlight, and Super Light.  You can create your own lights and movements.  Be sure to check out some of ours in the link below.

Recommended ages: 1st-5th Grades

Constant Dribble Challenge

One of my goals during the basketball unit is to keep a ball in the hands of my students at all times.  Constant Dribbling Challenge is one of my games that does just that.  Set up a square of cones.  One student dribbles in the center of the square (crossover) while another student dribbles around the square two times, once clockwise using the left hand and a second time counterclockwise using the right hand.  Then each student switches. Sometimes I’ll have a student perform an exercise in the center of the square instead of doing the crossover dribble.  This option may work better if you have a limited number of balls.

Recommended ages: 1st- 3rd Grades

1,2,3 GO!

This is a simple shooting game based on the larger group game called Knockout.  We play this with either partners or in groups of three.  Each person in the group has a ball and stands side by side. At the same time, they each say, “1,2,3, Go!”!  At this point, they each shoot their ball and try to be the first to score a basket.  The first to score, receives a point and gets to choose the next shooting spot.

Recommended ages: 3rd-12th Grades

Poly Spot Relay

In relay fashion, arrange the class in groups of no more than three.  Set up as many poly spots (or anything else, i.e.:  cones, stuffed creatures, etc.)  as possible on the opposite side of the playing area.  The first student in each line dribbles across the playing area and picks up one spot without stopping the dribble (I allow younger students to stop dribbling).  Students then return to the starting line, drop off their spot, and tag the next player.  Play until all spots are picked up.  With my younger classes I play this cooperatively.  I time the whole group to see how long it takes to clear the spots.  We play a second round to see if we can beat the first recorded time.

Recommended ages: 1st-6th Grades

Pivot, Pass, Catch Relay

There are different variations of this relay.  I like to have small groups of no more than four students.  Each player lines up at an equal distance from his teammates.  The first student in line pivots and passes to the next person in line.  When the ball gets to the last students in line, that student dribbles the ball to the front of the line.  Teammates move back one spot so the student dribbling to the front can take over the first position.  Teams score a point each time the last person in line receives the ball.  The relays continues for two minutes.

Recommended ages: 1st-12th Grades

When I have larger teams, players waiting for a pass must perform an exercise such as squats or jumping jacks.

Thank you Paul Ward for the photographs.

Thank you Jedd Austin, Laura English, and Brian Balocki, my colleagues, for sharing ideas for this post.

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4 Comments on “10 Turbo-Charged Basketball Activities

  1. Justin,
    Great post. Thanks for the awesome basketball ideas that focus on skills, cooperative learning and gameplay for all students.

    I wanted to share a few that work really well with my classes.

    ​Basketball Pass Relay- 1 student starts with ball and their teammates stand on a poly spot, after the player with the ball passes the ball to a player and they pass it back they rotate down to the next spot, once the last player passes it back the person with the ball gets on the last poly spot they give the ball to the first person who isn’t on a spot.

    Basketball Flag Grab- every player has a flag belt/scarf tucked in their side and a ball. Students must dribble inside cones area as they try to grab another player’s flag while maintaining control of their own ball. If they get their flag taken (player gives flag back/player picks flag up) or they lose control of their ball they report outside of the playing area to perform basketball related skill before re-entering. Examples- get in push up position and touch their chin to their ball, practice BEEF (balance, eyes on basket, elbow under ball, follow through), wall passes, etc. Can also be played with partners and switching turns when their flag is taken, after they take 2 flags, or if they lose control. Player waiting can be performing wall passes/exercise while they wait.

    Hula Hoop Basketball- players are separated into teams of about 4-5 players. Create as many games depending upon number of baskets. One team is on offense and starts at the top of the key. The other team has a minute to set up their 4-5 hula-hoops in any formation they’d like. That team has to stay inside of the hula hoops as they move from hoop to hoop to play defense (you can allow them to shuffle in hoop as well) Every time the defensive players get the ball while remaining in the hoop they earn 1 point (rebounds, missed shots, stolen passes/stolen dribbles). The offensive team is allowed to work together to try and dribble, pass, and shoot at the basket to score points as well. Every basket made or defensive stop the ball starts back at the top of the key and teams check the ball before restarting. Teams on defense can call one time out to move hoops in any formation they want to make a change. After a few minutes, switch roles and after a few more minutes mix up teams playing. Have teams keep score of points and encourage moving without the ball. Really helps control gameplay and getting offense to spread ball around and defense to communicate and learn how to defend without fouling.

    Congrats on an awesome website and continued success.

    Mr. Clark

    • jcahill – I have been teaching physical education for 27 years. I began my career teaching in Washington, DC before moving to Atlanta, Georgia to teach at Trinity School. I have a passion for keeping kids healthy and moving during each PE lesson, and throughout their lives. I’m a firm believer that recess is a right and NOT a privilege. Please check out and join my Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion. I am happily married and have three beautiful children who are constantly KEEPING ME IN MOTION!

      Wow! Thanks for reading my post AND sending me your ideas. I’ll be sure to try each of them with my students. One of the things I love about writing my blog is receiving feedback such as yours.

  2. Pingback: The PE Playbook – February 2017 Edition – drowningintheshallow

  3. Thanks for the detailed post! I will definitely try these out with my kids! Very informative post. It is so important to keep children active and physically fit in this day and age of video games, computers and smartphones…Thanks again!

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