Cardinal Sins of Youth Basketball in New Jersey

Youth Basketball - Cardinal Sins Revealed

What Are The Cardinal Sins of Youth Basketball?

For youth basketball participants in towns like Westfield, Little Silver, Edison, Brunswick and other new Jersey towns THERE ARE NO CARDINAL SINS IN YOUTH BASKETBALL.  Children cannot do wrong in playing a game they like.  PERIOD.  Can they do better and gain more confidence by demonstrating prowess in the below areas?  Of course!

The key to the game is to making it as simple as possible.  The best way to do this is to understand things you should NOT do while playing the game.  By avoiding these common mistakes discussed below during your young basketball career, you will develop fundamental basketball habits that will prove successful to your future relationship with the game.

NEVER Lose Your Dribble On This Part of the Court

Defensive pressure can make the offensive do things they wouldn’t normally do and commit errors they wouldn’t normally commit.  When a team applies full or half-court defensive pressure, their goal is to force the offense to get flustered by the pressure and force them into quick turnovers.  The defense is looking to get a steal by forcing you to pick up your dribble in undesirable areas of the basketball court.  One of these areas is immediately after crossing the half-court line.

After you cross the half-court line with the ball, never pick up your dribble when you see the trap coming.  By doing this you have turned a double-team trap into a triple-team trap seeing as you cannot cross back over the half-court line.  The half-court line now acts as a third defender.  This is also the one of the worst places on the court to turn the ball over because it allows the opposing (defensive) team to steal the ball very close to their basket and usual enables them to score rather easily.

Rather than getting into this tricky situation on the court, find ways to avoid this trap.  This can be done by scanning the court and seeing where the trap is coming from, then determining where you want to go with the ball before you cross.  Also, you can avoid this position of desperation on the court by recognizing when the trap is approaching and dribbling past it.  This turns the numbers in your team’s favor and usually will discourage the opposing team from applying as much pressure.

 Dangerous Jumping

As a young basketball player you always want to give yourself the most opportunities and options for success on the basketball court.  When you jump in the air without knowing exactly what you are going to do with the ball, you are immediately limiting these options.  First off, by jumping with this uncertainty, you are giving yourself an extremely limited amount of time till you hit the floor again to decide what you want to do with the ball.  On the other hand, you continue to stay grounded with your dribble still in effect, you have as much time as you need.  Secondly, when jumping, you limit your options on what you can do with the ball to either passing or shooting.  Rather, by keeping your dribble you can dribble past a defender, shoot, pass, or any other options your talents allow you to accomplish.

There are very few players in the world that have the ability, talent level, and athletic ability to make decisions in the air with the ball.  Most of them are playing collegiate or professional basketball.  Leave this to them.  For a young basketball player like yourself, the game should be about using fundamentals to maximize your opportunities.

 Forcing Shots

More often than not, the best shot on the basketball court to attempt is the one that gives you the least degree of difficulty to complete.  The easiest and most efficient shots are the ones that lend themselves to a higher shooting percentage.  Open layups are the easiest with an extremely high percentage.  Shooting a 3 pointer fading away from the corner with a hand in your face on the other hand will result in a lower percentage of makes.

Be a player that takes and makes open shots.  When a double team is harassing you, or if you have a hand in your face when you are about to release for your shot, give the ball to a teammate and be ready for another opportunity when the ball comes back your way.  Coaches love players that take GOOD shots, meaning that they have the ability to recognize when they should shoot or when they should share the ball.  Ask your basketball shooting coach how to make intuitive reads on these situations.  All in all, let the game come to you.  Be smart and pick your times to be aggressive offensively.  Following this rule of thumb your offensive efficiency will see a dramatic increase.

DON’T Do It! 

  1. Losing your dribble after half-court
  2. Jumping without certainty of your next move
  3. Forcing jump shots

But if you do commit these “cardinal sins of youth basketball,” laugh at yourself, have fun and try to master the skill again.  You are awesome young basketball player!


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