Before any skill work is started, youth basketball coaches must train their players to have great balance in order to become productive players. And, players must worked on balance every day in practice in order for it to become fundamental in their daily routine.
Most kids have never worked on balance but it is essential to building a correct foundation to learn and build basketball skills.
Coaches can start practice by making kids stand on one leg for 30 seconds and alternating legs, progressing to one minute each. They can make it more challenging by incorporating one leg calf raises for 15 seconds progressing to 30 seconds and then one legged jumps.
The next step is for every player to get in triple threat position, initiated by the coach yelling "triple threat!" The players must have their knees AND ankles flexed with the upper body upright and the butt underneath the torso, not sticking out.
To test balance, coaches will tell the players to hold that position while the coach attempts to push the player over. Usually one or two fingers is enough if the players are off-balance.
You can also test players' defensive and rebounding stances. If players' knees and ankles aren't flexed and there is a forward lean, head dip, or the butt is out, they will be out of alignment and in poor balance.
If coaches work on balance training daily, they will see a marked improvement in performance. Balance is the basis for individual and team success.