How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp

How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp: Running a Youth Basketball Camp can be a lot of work, but even if you have never run a youth basketball camp before, don’t worry, AVCSS Basketball is here to provide all the information to get you started in the right direction. Basketball drills, basketball games, ball handling drills, shooting drills, passing / catching drills, defense / offense, jumping, footwork, triple threat, lay ups, and other basketball skills are only just one aspect of what it takes to run a successful youth basketball camp.

How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp

How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp

How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp

Take a look at the information below and feel free to add or take away to make it fit your style of teaching (coaching). Use the How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp information as a guide, or use it as it is written – it’s up to you…

 Important things to remember to run a successful camp…

  • Be Organized – First and foremost, you need to be organized! (The information on this page will help with this).

  • Planning – Everything should be planned out so there are no “standing around” periods – keep the camp flowing (it is very hard to get control of younger campers, keeping them busy at all times is the key to staying in control).

  • Assistants – Make sure that you have a few assistants helping you, and make sure that you meet with them (in advance) to review what their function and duties will be during the camp.



 First – Pick an age group and gender – just boys, just girls, or both?

Do you want to run a camp for really young players? Elementary school players? Middle school players? or even High School players? If you are running a camp for the local recreation center, you may not have to make this choice – it may already be made for you.

Caution about the really young players. Be careful not to pick age groups that are too young (like 5, 6 and even 7 year olds), you may spend more time babysitting than teaching basketball. Remember you are running this camp to teach basketball to the youth of the community, and you need to be able to do this without the distraction of having to babysit and / or focus most of your attention on one or two unruly campers – remember all the campers need your attention…

Important Note on Insurance: If you are not running a youth basketball camp through a recreation center or basketball club, then you are going to have to look into getting some liability insurance prior to holding the camp. It is not as expensive as you think. There are many insurance companies out there that can provide you with liability insurance, but it is easier just to use companies that specialize in youth sports insurance. Most of these companies can give you a very good deal (but you may find a better deal if you shop around).

 Here are a couple of Youth Sports Insurance providers:

* Frances L. Dean & Associates

* Sadler Sports Insurance

* Bollinger Sports Insurance

 How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp


Second – Start getting organized.

Once you know the age groups / gender its time to start planning the camp activities. Below is a sample “Checklist” that I used to plan and organize a camp (so I wouldn’t forget anything).

 Sample Basketball Camp Checklist – Handout

1. Print out all Camp related Paperwork, phone # list, etc.

2. Bring the Following:

  • Whistles (make sure all your assistants have whistles also)

  • Stopwatch

  • Clipboards

  • Pens / Pencils

  • Pump and Needles for the basketballs

  • Basketballs (its best to allow for 1 basketball per player)

  • Cones

  • Pennies / Practice Jerseys (enough to cover the number of teams)

3. Follow up with the person / persons assisting with the camp, are they ready to go? Do they understand their roles, what time do they need to be there, what to bring, etc.

4. Follow up with the gym coordinator (person who is in charge of the gym):

  • Baskets down (and at the right heights)

  • Score clock ready (and working)

  • Small table for the score clock

  • Area to use for breaks, lunch (if needed) – will campers bring a lunch?

  • Emergency procedures, phone numbers, etc.

  • Are there vending machines available, etc.

5. Follow up with the Recreation Center – Can you get the roster early? Or even a partial Roster? If yes, start logging in the participants names on the camp lists, logs, etc. (try to do this early). Are you familiar with the basketball gym? Do you know how many baskets there are? Where the restrooms are located? It would be very beneficial to visit the gym in advance.

6. Plan first day of camp (see next step below), have some time at the beginning to allow the campers to get comfortable with other campers, the coaches, etc. Use this time to get acquainted with the campers – ask them their names, ask how they are doing – so they don’t feel so intimidated…

7. Drills – Basic skills to work on for beginners.

  • Jumping – teach the proper way to jump.

  • Catching – teach the proper way to catch the ball.

  • Passing – teach the basics of the bounce pass, and chest passes.

  • Footwork – show basic footwork drills.

  • Ball Handling (basic) – I always start the camp off each day with ball handling.

  • Shooting – teach the basics of shooting.

  • Lay Ups – teach the basics of the lay up.

  • Basic defense (moving side to side, keeping their hands up)

This is just a short list of drills to get you started, add or delete drills and skill work as you need to, its your camp, do what you are comfortable doing… Just make sure the drills fit the age group you are having the camp for!

8. Games – Plan on how you will run the games:

  • Girls vs. Boys, Girls vs. Girls, Boys vs. Boys

  • Mix the Girls and Boys

  • How long will the game be played (quarters, half, etc.)

  • Plan player rotation (be fair, allow all players to play).

  • Ages? Some players too young, too old, separate wisely.

9. First Aid Kit – Be ready for some basic care if needed. Have a emergency plan ready (just in case).

10. Awards for competitions – Make sure you get some awards, certificates, t-shirts, etc if you are planning to have individual or team competitions during your camp (the players love to get awards at the end of the camp).

How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp
How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp





Third – Start Planning.

 Now the fun begins. It’s time to start planning the camp activities. Below is a sample “Camp Practice Plan” that I used to plan my camps with.

Sample Youth Basketball Camp Practice Plan – Handout

1. Role Call: Run 2 Laps, Stretching exercises – teach the importance of stretching, and make sure that they do it correctly.

2. Ball Handling: Teach proper stance, techniques first…

  • Basic Ball Handling Drills – Handout

  • Cone Dribbling / Basic - Video Clip

  • Basic Dribble to Half Court and Back - Video Clip

  • 2-Ball Dribbling / Forward - Video Clip

  • King of the Circle Drill - Video Clip

3. Passing Drills: Teach the players to look the ball into their hands when they catch it.

  • Basic Chest Pass - Video Clip

  • Passing Drill (2-players / 1 Ball) - Video Clip

  • Weave Passing Drill / Basic Half Court - Video Clip

4. Shooting Basics / Drills:

  • Basic form (follow through / reach in cookie jar) – no basketball

  • Practice shot using basic form – with basketball

  • Shooting Competition – 2 lines, first team to 10.

  • Free Throws / Basic Examples - Video Clip

  • Basic Right Hand Lay Up - Video Clip

5. Review of Basic Basketball Fundamentals:

  • Traveling, Double Dribble, etc.

  • Triple Threat - Video Clip

  • Jump Stop and Pivot Drill - Video Clip

  • Fouling – How many you get, don’t reach, etc.

6. Defense Basics:

  • Basic Defensive Stance (sitting position, arms up/out, hands up).

  • Basic Step Slide - Video Clip

  • Mirror Drill / Defensive Drill - Video Clip

7. One on One Competitions: (explain the basics, use the skills that they have learned, and keep track of wins / losses) – One on One Competitions – Handout

8. Hot Shot Contest: (how many baskets in a one minute period) Lots of fun for the campers – Hot Shot Contest (How to Info) – Handout and here is the Hot Shot Contest Log Form – Handout.

9. Knock Out: (a fun game to break up the day a little) Knock Out / the Players Favorite - Video Clip

10. Competition / Games: – Make up the teams, player rotation, etc. Have the players come up with their own team names, get them involved.

11. End the day with a “cheer” at mid court: Always end the day praising the campers by saying Great job, way to work hard, etc. Then end with a “Cheer.”

How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp


Fourth – Other Notes, During the Camp, Etc.

 Once the camp gets started, use these suggestions to help make it an awesome experience for all the campers!

1. Be energetic, and show the campers that basketball can be fun!

2. Don’t show favoritism to any one camper, treat all campers the same.

3. Have a plan in place for dealing with any unruly campers, campers that get homesick, or campers that just don’t want to be there.

4. Make sure you have cell phone numbers of all the parents in case of emergencies.

5. Keep up the pace – don’t slow down, keep things flowing and you’ll spend less time babysitting – the last thing you want is for the campers to lose focus.

6. Make sure to plan consistent water breaks, and most importantly bathroom breaks into your daily schedule / routine.

7. Lunch Breaks (if applicable) – If you are holding an all day camp, make sure that the campers bring their lunches with them. And, if you have a lot of younger campers it may be a good idea to show a movie during lunch time to keep them from getting distracted after they are done eating.

8. Take notes at the end of the day – what could you have done differently (or better?), what worked, what didn’t work, what was missing, did you forget something, did I forget to mention something? You get the picture – understanding what went well, and what didn’t go so well can only assist you with making any future camps even more successful than your first one…

How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp

How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp – Running a youth basketball camp can be very rewarding, lots of fun, and make you or your basketball club a good amount of money. The campers are paying for quality instruction, and want to have a fun experience – it’s your job to ensure that this happens. If you organize and plan early enough, you will have a successful youth basketball camp – the word will get around, and the reward will be more campers wanting to participate in future camps. Hopefully the information in this How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp menu page will help you succeed! Good luck!

  how to run a youth basketball camp

How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp

16 Responses to How to Run a Youth Basketball Camp

  1. Dazmen says:

    we need advice on planning a youth basketball camp for our school community service project

  2. Adam says:

    great stuff on this

  3. Jay says:

    I need assistance on having a once a week for one hour intro to basketball session for 8-10 year olds. They are football, aka soccer fanatics.So I’m trying to embrace them with another sport.

  4. GPetrin says:

    My advice here would be to start with ball handling and shooting, but make it fun while they are learning the game. For example if you do ball handling find a game to play while dribbling the basketball, and there are plenty of shooting games out there (many can be found on our site). If they equate basketball and fun together they will stay interested, good luck.

  5. dave says:

    thank you ..i highly appreciate the info on how to conduct a basketball camp.its a big help for the new coaches like me.

  6. dave says:

    thank you ..i highly appreciate the info on how to conduct a basketball camp.its a big help for the new coaches like me.:-}

  7. Baller man says:

    who would like to do a basketball camp with me.

  8. jennifer lamothe says:

    This is great. My 11 year old son,Jonathan is working on a community project “JJ Hoops 4 Haiti”. He collected enough basketballs, uniforms, and $ to have a summer camp in July. Please visit his FB page “JJhoops4hati” and his you tube video “Time to do something”
    Thank you for sharing this helps a lot since this is our first basketball camp in Haiti!

  9. GPetrin says:

    Is there an address where we can send basketball equipment? Also, I am posting this on my Facebook and Twitter accounts also. Good Luck!

  10. Jenzel Nash says:

    what if I have a camp this is two weeks long, Mon-fri from 8am to 3pm. what do you suggest I do as far as repeating the same things every day or doing things differently.

  11. GPetrin says:

    I would repeat the same things but as do more game play and contests the 2nd week. If the participants are really young, repeating drills is a good thing, good luck.

  12. Tamara says:

    You can reach me at601-697-7991 what all i need to run a youth camp……..

  13. Dele says:

    Good day Sir
    Am dele by name am a basketball coach in Africa
    We have academy for tall kids
    Age 10 to 16
    We need assist on ball and Jersey
    Facebook is.dele Simon awonuga

  14. Jason M D Peterkin says:

    Hello sir, my name is Jason Peterkin… I’m looking to run a camp here in neighborhood for my middle School kids & whoever else wants to join. I don’t really have any equipment to start of with besides cones that I borrow from a coach I was assisting during the Middle School season. If you could donate anything, that would be a blessing to the kids and myself. I know the game to be able to teach it, I’m just a little nervous. I want my camp to do well for the kids. Im also not sure if I should charge or not for my first camp. Thanks for you time…
    God bless…

    PS: if your able to donate the address is 1732 nw 3rd Terr
    Florida City, Fl. 33034 apt #205

    Thanks again….

  15. GPetrin says:

    Mr. Peterkin,
    I will check around to see what we have (but we have donated most of what we have at this point). Have you checked at your local rec center? They may be able to sponsor you? If you do charge the kids, charge in advance, use the funds to buy some equipment. Another suggestion is to have the kids bring their own basketballs.

    Good luck!

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