The Best Ways to Teach Kids How to Move Without the Ball

If you’re a youth basketball coach, you know that apart from teaching them some basketball shooting drills, you also need to ensure that your players have the fundamentals. And while shooting drills are undoubtedly important, they’re not all that’s required of youth basketball players.

You also need to ensure they understand how to move without the ball and what they should do during a game.

But anyone who’s worked with kids understands that sometimes they’re much more challenging to teach than your average adult. Kids don’t always want to listen, they’re easily distracted, and they often lack the attention span necessary to learn something new.

That’s why it’s vital that you make learning fun for them while teaching them how to move without the ball in basketball.

So, in this article, we’ll talk about how you can do just that. We’ll also discuss why it’s essential for youth basketball players to learn how to move without the ball and how this skill will help them become better overall players.

Why Should Players Move Without the Ball in Basketball?

In the heat of basketball games, when you’re playing against an opponent who’s faster and stronger than you, there are only so many options at your disposal. You could try to force the issue by scoring on every possession, but that’s often a recipe for disaster. Instead, it would help if you focused on helping your team win rather than worrying about individual statistics or personal glory.

So, when it comes time to play a game of basketball with your students, teach them how to move without the ball in basketball. Moving without the ball in basketball is a great way to help your team win games. Here are some reasons why you should teach players how to move without the ball in basketball:

Moving without the ball makes it difficult for the defense.

The opposition defense is your greatest opponent in basketball, so it makes sense that you do everything possible to make it difficult for them. One way to do this is by teaching players how to move without the ball in basketball.

By moving without the ball, players can confuse and disorient their opponents’ defense, making it much easier for them to score on every possession. Moving without the ball also creates opportunities for open shots.


Moving without the ball in basketball allows players on offense to get open shots from behind the three-point line or at least some space between themselves and defenders.

Movement without the ball improves communication between teammates. 

Communication is one of the most important aspects of being a successful basketball team. By practicing movement without the ball, players will learn how to communicate effectively with each other to make plays on offense and defense.

Moving without the ball allows players to improve their conditioning level. Players who can move without the ball are often faster and more agile than their counterparts because they have worked on developing their foot speed and quickness through drills that teach them how to move without the ball in basketball.

How to Move Without the Ball and Get Open Shots

Now, let’s get to the meat of this article. Players need to know how to get open to move without the ball. A player can set up their defender to receive an open shot. The following are some of the most common methods used by basketball players:

Set your man up before using the screen

You must instill this in your players from the very beginning. During practice sessions, players should practice setting up their defenders using screens. They can do this by:

  • Using a screen to get open for a shot (this is most effective when your team has two or more players on the court)
  • Screening off of your teammates’ defender to create an open shot for yourself
  • The best way to do this is to have the player shooting pass the ball to someone else, who then passes it back to them.

Run off screens shoulder to shoulder

This is best practiced with a basketball shooting machine. The player should get into position and then run through the screen. After that, they should stop and shoot the ball at the basket from a different angle.

The player running off screens shoulder to shoulder can be done with a shooting machine or by having another player on your team act as an offensive threat. This will cause defenders to react differently than if you were trying to create space by using a screen.

Read the defense!

We can never overemphasize the importance of reading the defense. In basketball, the offense always tries to create space and get an excellent shot. The best way to do this is through screens, cuts, and passes that force defenders into making mistakes.

The player running off screens shoulder-to-shoulder should watch how their defender reacts when they cut through a screen set by another teammate. If they don’t react or try to fight over it, then it’s time for you to take advantage of them!

When cutting, vary your speed.

Speed variation does many things for you. First, it forces the defense to react. If you constantly run through screens and cuts at full speed, your defender will see them coming and know exactly how to defend them.

However, if you vary your pace from cut to cut or screen to screen, it becomes much harder for your defender. Second, changing your speed allows you to create space without using a lot of energy by simply stepping towards or away from the ball handler when they make their move.

This way, when the defender goes to close the gap between you and the ball handler, they are forced to take a step back. This allows you to be open for an instant as long as you keep moving with your defender.

Know where your teammates are at

Proper knowledge of the position of your teammates is vital for creating space. You should know where they are on the court at all times, and if you don’t have a good sense of where they are, this will limit your ability to create space to get open for a pass or shot.

For example, let’s say you are lined up low on the left side of the court with two other players positioned at different spots along that same side. The ball is on the right side of the court. Your teammates are all in position for a pick-and-roll play, so you will want to be open so that one of them can pass the ball to you.

However, if your defender has you covered, he can help with any defense on the other side of the court when they need him since he knows where everyone else is.


Besides learning the best basketball shooting drills, your kids should also learn how to move without the ball. This is an essential skill that will make them much better. It’s also crucial for them to learn how to read the defense and know when it’s safe to cut through the lanes or set up a screen to open up some space for themselves. They learn this quickly with a basketball machine that will give them a lot of shooting practice and help them improve their skills.

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