The Jr. NBA is the official youth basketball
participation program of the NBA. The Jr. NBA
includes a free, membership-based program for
existing youth basketball leagues/organizations.
The membership is to help encourage and support
youth basketball participation and improve the
overall youth basketball experience. The Jr. NBA
aims to develop a lifelong passion for the game of
basketball in boys and girls by teaching them the
fundamentals of the sport while instilling core values
including teamwork, respect and sportsmanship.
The Jr. NBA Philosophy is to share the game of basketball with youth across the world by teaching skills, values, and wellness in a positive and fun environment. The Jr. NBA’s holistic approach is intended to strengthen the culture of youth basketball, teach life lessons, and empower youth to live a full and healthy life. The Jr. NBA believes this philosophy leads to developing complete and well-rounded basketball players and individuals.
The Jr. NBA philosophy manifests itself in our training through the ABCD’s of the Jr. NBA. The ABCD’s of the Jr. NBA are the foundation of the training and define what the Jr. NBA stands for. Each element of the ABCD’s of the Jr. NBA is equally important and works with the other components to develop well-rounded basketball players and people. Please see below for the ABCD’s of the Jr. NBA.
We love the game of basketball because at its core, it’s FUN! Basketball should be fun at every level, and as Jr. NBA players make progress in their development, their understanding of fun also evolves. So whether it’s encouraging a firsttime player as she learns to dribble, or helping a young boy set goals, the game should always be oriented around fun. Fun is always a part of the Jr. NBA training.
Building basketball skills is an essential part of learning the game. The Jr. NBA recognizes that skill development is a process that is especially important to youth players. The Jr. NBA uses a skill progression checklist that helps players advance through developmental levels.
As Jr. NBA players master skills and advance in the training, skill categories grow more advanced. This approach helps Jr. NBA players to continually develop and enjoy the positive reinforcement of mastering new skills!
The game of basketball provides everyone involved the opportunity to learn countless life lessons. The lessons learned in the Jr. NBA training will be with our players for a lifetime. Therefore, the Jr. NBA makes it a priority to cultivate these core values throughout all programming.
A key tenet of the Jr. NBA philosophy is to incorporate a character-building messages into every practice. Values are also taught in unscripted situations, and we encourage our coaches to embrace those opportunities as well. The Jr. NBA character lessons will undoubtedly go beyond the court and help youth players in other areas of their lives.
One of the best parts of the game of basketball is that it promotes wellness across many dimensions of life. The Jr. NBA wants to address, educate, and encourage young players to be healthy in each of these areas.
The Jr. NBA believes that developing as a complete person is more important than developing just as a basketball player. Whether it is understanding more about nutrition or learning time management skills, themes of wellness will be applied throughout the training.
Jr. NBA Pathway
The Jr. NBA Pathway has been developed to help players, parents, coaches, and organizations better understand the process of improvement.
The Jr. NBA pathway is a developmentally-based progression that depends on players mastering new skills before advancing to the next level. The Jr. NBA Development Pathway is not based on a player’s age, but rather his or her proficiency at key skills.
The Jr. NBA Pathway is divided into four levels.
The Jr. NBA Pathway consists of four levels. At each level, there will be unique methods, messages, skills, and drills that incorporate and teach the ABCD’s of the Jr. NBA.
Coaching The Jr. NBA Pathway
HOW IT WORKS
he Jr. NBA training comes to life in the pathway via a series of
12 practice plans at each of the four levels. The pathway has been
developed so that players and coaches learn and teach the game
in a natural, long-term progression. Each level will have a skill
checklist that identifies specific skills that players must learn and
develop before advancing to more challenging skills and drills in
the next level. The skills are taught at particular levels not only
based on physical ability, but also where the players are cognitively.
WHAT LEVEL IS APPROPRIATE?
If you aren’t sure where a player/team fits in the pathway, you must
first assess them to understand their strengths and weaknesses.
After assessing the players you can identify how to help each
player/team, determine where in the pathway (via the skill
checklist) the player/team fits, and develop a plan and a goal for
the player’s/team’s development.
Understand that it could take years to see players/teams
comfortably progress through skills at each level. Challenge the
player/team while maintaining patience when deciding to introduce
new skills, drills, and concepts from the next level of the pathway.
Note that the practice plans in this training serve as sample
progressions. Based on your player’s/team’s strengths and
weaknesses, number of practices, frequency of practice, and the
length of the season, your practice plans may progress differently.
One very important part of practice for coaches is the transition
from drill to drill. Many drills should flow seamlessly from one
to the next, however if you need time to prepare for the next
drill, there are numerous transitions that can be executed.
One example we encourage coaches to utilize is having
the players take 1 walking lap around the court. Upon their
return, the players and coaches are ready for the next drill.
We do not specify where in practice you should take water breaks. We
feel that coaches can best understand the player’s needs in the moment
and can fully determine when to allow water. At the same time,
we encourage regular water breaks to ensure players stay hydrated.
Our practice plans rarely dictate when a player/team should shoot
free throws. Again, we feel that coaches can assume the role of
decision-maker and add free throws when they feel it is appropriate.
NBA PLAYERS STILL PRACTICE
Remember, coaching a player/team in the MVP level does not
mean you shouldn’t work on the skills taught in the Rookie level.
Our model allows you to teach advanced skills, drills, and concepts
when appropriate while never overlooking the fundamentals of
the game that must be maintained. For example, form shooting
is introduced in the Rookie level, but it is also a drill that more
advanced players (including NBA players) continue to perform.
NBA & USA BASKETBALL YOUTH GUIDELINES
The NBA and USA Basketball have partnered to develop
guidelines designed to promote a positive and healthy youth
basketball experience. These guidelines prioritize the health
and well-being of young athletes while enhancing enjoyment,
participation, and development in the game. Please see the
guidelines that follow.
RECOMMENDED PARTICIPATION GUIDELINES
||GAME PER WEEK
||# OF PRACTICES|
||1 to 2
||2 to 4
||2 to 3
||3 to 4
MAXIMUM PARTICIPATION GUIDELINES
||# OF GAMES/DAY
||# OF HOURS PER WEEK IN |
The maximum participation guidelines outlined above are
intended to serve as limits on a young athlete’s participation
in organized basketball. It is possible that participation in
organized basketball within the maximum limits but in excess
of the recommendations is also not advisable from a health and
wellness standpoint; however, this issue requires further study.
* Youth basketball players, parents and coaches should
demonstrate caution in scheduling or participating in more
than one game per day, especially on consecutive days. If
young athletes participate in an event or tournament in
which more than one game is played per day on consecutive
days, players should have additional time off from sports
activities following the event to allow for recovery.
** It is recommended that young athletes in these age
ranges who are approaching these maximum hour limits
not participate in another organized sport concurrently.
||MIN. # OF REST DAYS PER WEEK
||MAX. MONTHS PER YEAR IN ORGANIZED BASKETBALL
||RECOMMENDED HOURS OF SLEEP PER NIGHT
* For 12 year olds, 9-12 hours of sleep is recommended
THE NBA RECOMMENDS
Playing multiple sports helps kids make new friends and develop
new skills. Medical and scientific experts recommend early
sports sampling and delaying single-sport specialization until
mid to late adolescence. Playing multiple sports should not be
viewed as falling behind, but rather as building the foundation
for future success. Research shows that early sport specialization
is NOT necessary to produce elite-level performance.
Sports sampling, which is characterized by participation in
multiple sports during childhood, provides a young athlete the
chance to find a sport that may ultimately fit him or her best.
There are several demonstrated benefits of sports sampling:
- Prolonged engagement in sports
- More enjoyable and positive early sports experiences
- Healthy physical, psychological, and social development
- Transfer of skill acquired from multiple sports to primary sport if specialization occurs
Current research does not support the view that early singlesport
specialization is either necessary or sufficient to produce
elite performance at advanced levels of competition. In fact,
early single-sport specialization in basketball and other team
sports may be detrimental to long-term elite performance.
Athletes that reach the highest level of achievement have been shown
to be more likely to have played multiple sports at a young age compared
to athletes that reach relatively lower levels of achievement.
With respect to basketball and other similar ball sports, world-class
athletes often delayed single-sport specialization until age 16 or later.